I won't reveal too much before Brian's interview is published, but one of the most illuminating moments came when Peary discussed the way some of his pieces, particularly from the Cult Movies books, have followed him all these years later. Take Jerzy Skolimowksi's Deep End, for instance, a film I first learned of when I read its entry in the inaugural Cult Movies volume. The film has never been available on home video in the U.S. and tv screenings are rare. I finally saw it for the first time about a month ago when Brian sent me a bootleg. It turns out that quite a few other people were introduced to Deep End by Peary's article as well. When TCM aired the movie for the first time ever a couple weeks ago, Peary's e-mailbox and Facebook account were filled with messages from readers excited about the TCM broadcast of the film and crediting him with alerting them to the film.
The good news about Deep End doesn't end there. While TCM's print was very ragged, Bavaria, has restored the film and it will be coming to DVD from a variety of labels, including BFI and, hopefully, Criterion. In addition, Paramount, acting on the demand of several repertory programmers, struck a new print of the film in 2008, which is still making the rounds. Bavaria promises extra, previously unseen vault materials--I hope this means the alternate ending mentioned in a 1992 Scarlet Street interview with star John Moulder-Brown. I can't wait to see Skolimowski and d.p Charly Steinberger's vivid use of colors, particularly red, in HD (unless that new 35 print shows up in my neighborhood first).
Skolimowski's tale of a young bathhouse worker (Moulder-Brown) in London who becomes obsessed with his slightly older, beautiful colleague (Jane Asher) lived up to the expectations I had built up over the years, based on reviews like Peary's and how much I enjoyed the other Skolimowski films I had seen (The Shout, Moonlighting). This one begins as a coming-of-age story, but it becomes a lot more disturbing as it goes along and ultimately resists many of the conventions of the genre.
It goes without saying that Cat Stevens' "But I Might Die Tonight," used as Deep End's theme, will stay lodged in your head for days afterward in the same way that the Cat Stevens soundtrack from another famous 1971 Paramount film does and, if you're at all like me (read: possessing a weakness for stylish beauties, particularly French or British, of the mid-late '60s), you will have Jane Asher on the brain while you hum that tune.
And, just for the record, in my scorebook, Deep End continues the winning streak of films utilizing the music of Can or members of Can. Can keyboardist Irmin Schmidt contributed one of my favorite electronic scores to one of my favorite New German Cinema films, Knife in the Head. Can, inexplicably credited as "The Can" in Deep End's credits (similar to Goblin's "The Goblins" credit in Dawn of the Dead), contributes the spacey, guitar-dominated 14+ minute "Mother Sky" to one of the film's most memorable sequences.