The Crimson Petal and the WhiteDVD - 2012
From the critics
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This programme contains scenes of a sexual nature. London, 1874. Keep your wits about you. This city is vast, and intricate, and you do not know your way around. You imagine, from other stories you've read, that you know it well. But those stories flattered you. You are an alien from another
time and place altogether. You don't even know what hour it is, do you? Nor do most where you're going. Here people go to sleep as soon as the gin takes effect. You've allowed yourself to be led astray and there's no hope
of finding your way back.
My hand is yours for a shillin', sir, and any other part for two.
-Please, cover yourself up. Your body parts are not yours to sell. They belong together, and the whole belongs to God.
My 'ole belongs to anyone that's got two shillings, sir.
You know, of course, of Mrs Fox's efforts in the, erm... in the darkest recesses of the city?
I'm going to hunt them down and kill them.
No-one'll know I ever lived.
First conversation between William and Suger P1 of 2:
Good evening, Mr...
-Hunt. With an aitch. Er, George Hunt.
And you are...?
Sugar is all there is to my name, Mr Hunt.
I do hope you haven't been waiting too long with the Three Witches for company.
-The Three Witc... That's Macbeth.
You must forgive my appearance. This foul weather plays havoc with my hair.
-Oh, mine too! I had it cut. It was supposed to look like Matthew Arnold.
It doesn't. Be thankful. I think he's rather overrated, but I'm sure you know much better than I.
-No! I agree. Absolutely. Give me Ruskin, any day!
If it is Mr Ruskin's prose you're referring to, then I quite concur.
First conversation between William and Suger P2 of 2:
Spare me his poetry. In verse he's a major minor. Tennyson's latest work, pure whimsy.
-It's whimsy, it's whi...whimsical.
It's... There is a poet, James Thompson.
Yes, James Thompson, who in his latest work is truly...breaking new ground.
-The City of Dreadful Night?
You know it?
-The world rolls round for ever like a mill. It grinds out life and death and good and ill. It has no purpose, heart, nor mind, nor will.
These are dark notions for a beautiful young woman to take to heart.
-My life can be dark sometimes.
Kindred spirits, like yourself, are difficult to find. Your lips are like feathers.
-He died for our sins.
Evidently unsuccessfully, since we're all still paying.
Watch your dress. You don't want to spoil it.
-A lot of trouble you go to for clothes that only stay on five minutes.
ladies. I would be honoured to preserve your image for all time!
-For all time? No, thank you. Go on.
-I'd rather not spend an indefinite future being passed from hand to hand by strangers.
I begin to wonder if she even exists.
-The most intriguing reputation.
They say she never disappoints.
Committed! ..would cause you personal pain and social embarrassment.
-But I have seen other men wrestle with the same decision and, believe me, once they have made it, they are relieved beyond words.
'The most intriguing reputation. They say she never disappoints. SUGAR: The jewel in Castaway's crown. Sugar. Pay for cotton, but lie in silk. Beg, borrow or steal to buy my services. Seek me out at the Fireside Inn.'
After all these years. Lord knows I tried hard enough to be rid of you once. No brew so toxic I didn't inflict it upon myself, no bath so scalding I didn't immerse myself in it. Hah! You were indestructible!
-Let's hope I remain so.
Only a madwoman would willingly let her health decline...
-I am not a madwoman!
Which is why I ask permission, rather than obliging you as I would an asylum inmate.
Who understands better than I the connection between commerce and art?
On which subject, I've been thinking about this Rackham's catalogue. "Lavender foot balm." "Are malodorous feet your Achilles' heel?"
A couple of my friends produced it, it's called The Efficacy of Prayer. "Bodley and Ashwell."
Your men work on the Sabbath? As do I! Not enough hours in the day, Henry. Did you know that there's an octave in perfume as there is in music?
..what will you pay Sugar?
- I will pay her whatever makes her happy.
We are so easily seduced.
Just last week, I was on my way home from visiting a particularly wretched family. I was tired, discouraged, and I didn't want to walk. And before I knew what I was doing, I was in the underground railway, speeding through the earth, mindless of anything except my own pleasure. And all at the cost of a sixpence.
I enjoyed it so much, I missed my stop. This is how the world will end, Henry. The Antichrist is our own desires.
-I am already a martyr to headaches! As we speak, I'm prey to a terrible throbbing.
But there is no need for you to suffer as you do. Here, look... On bad days, I take a couple of these... with a dose of Godfrey's Cordial. Ask your pharmacist. Your doctor would give you a lecture on them... but trust me - you will hardly know yourself.
Do you miss him?
-I don't miss HIM. I miss the world that comes with him.
I sit here tormented knowing each day that passes one more woman sinks into a life of unbridled vice.
We who have uninterrupted health must be thankful for our good fortune.
How do you feel now, dear?
-Like a lost bonnet floating along a dark river.
Not everyone can wear white.
-No, indeed, Mrs Rackham. You have to be very thin.
-- Do you think she ever eats?
No harm in getting soft, Sugar. We all would, given half a chance.
She knows better than most the, the cruelty of petty social stigma.
-Don't underestimate your own allure, William.
She is a modern aristocrat, not afraid to associate herself with those who have dealings with people in trade. I admire her for that.
Agnes lost a child?
-No, we have a child.
-Yes. A daughter, unfortunately.
He dresses it up as spiritual poppycock, of course, but the fact is that Henry's on heat and too priggish to admit it.
-So how did you advise him?
I simply told him that the feelings he had for Mrs Fox bared all the hallmarks of infatuation and they would simply run their course. What enthrals us today may simply have no hold tomorrow.
Oh, er, when, if you don't mind, Caroline, did you lose your virtue?
-Age 16. To my husband.
To your husband? Ah, well then you did not lose your virtue. So you must have left him, then, or been cast out?
- He died, sir. Then my little boy followed close behind.
I am deeply sorry. So, that is when you fell into this way of being?
-I didn't fall, I was pushed. Owed the doctor for the child's medicine. He arranged my start in the profession.
There is no marriage in heaven, Henry. Mark 12:25.
(Context: When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.)
I'm sick of being judged by fools who have no idea how the world works, who have the luxury of a clear conscience because I pay for it on a dirty, daily basis!
It is as if... As if she wants something more from me.
-It's not surprising.
I ask myself over and over and over what is it she thinks I can give her?
-Are you serious?
I have prayed for guidance, night and day!
-For pity's sake, Henry! She wants you to give her a good seeing to! She wants you to give her a good fxcking, Henry!
You don't believe in angels, do you?
-No, I don't.
You don't believe in anything except William Rackham.
Mrs Fox, I am not worthy.
-Oh, but you are...
No! My feelings for you leave me in no doubt I am not cut out to be a clergyman.
Partially quoted in E3:
The Owl and the Pussy-Cat
By Edward Lear
The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
"O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
What a beautiful Pussy you are!"
Pussy said to the Owl, "You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?"
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-Tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.
"Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling