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Soho Stories

Long linked to flesh and pleasure, London’s infamous district merits a closer look. Here you’ll find jazz clubs, garrets, lewdness and lidos.

Together they created a place of tolerence during a puritan age. The world descended. The city changed.

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Soho Stories
View The Small World of Sammy Lee
The Small World of Sammy Lee
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The Small World of Sammy Lee 1962 12

Seedy Soho strip-club compere Sammy (Anthony Newley) races to escape the heavies who hunt him in this gritty, engrossing 1960s London thriller.

107 mins United Kingdom Director. Ken Hughes

View Design for Loving
Design for Loving
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Design for Loving 1962

A grubby Soho beatnik becomes a fuzz-faced fashionista for a leading London fashion house in this 1960s rom com.

68 mins United Kingdom Director. Godfrey Grayson

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The Green Cockatoo
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The Green Cockatoo 1940

From an original scenario by Graham Greene, this is a neat crime thriller about a girl (René Ray) who witnesses a murder, becomes a suspect herself, and gets mixed up with a sleazy Soho gangster (John Mills).

65 mins United Kingdom Director. William Cameron Menzies

View Burlesque Queen
Burlesque Queen
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Burlesque Queen 1961 Not Rated

Tassel-spinning showgirl Tina stars in this rare 60s British burlesque stage show reel.

5 mins United Kingdom

View Vampire
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Vampire 1964 Not Rated

Soho 'glamour' filmmaker George Harrison Marks plays girl-hungry vampire Count Dracula III in this strange striptease short

8 mins United Kingdom

View Xcitement!
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Xcitement! 1960 Not Rated

Glamour goddess Pamela Green reveals all in a key ‘60s striptease collaboration with George Harrison Marks.

6 mins United Kingdom Director. George Harrison Marks

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All Night Long
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All Night Long 1962 15

Othello is transposed to the 1960s Soho jazz scene as a malevolent drummer sows mistrust between husband-and-wife jazz luminaries.

95 mins United Kingdom Director. Basil Dearden

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Piccadilly 1929 PG

The glitter of Jazz Age clubland meets the Far East (of London) in this stunningly restored silent classic, starring Anna May Wong.

92 mins United Kingdom Director. E.A. Dupont

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Sunshine in Soho
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Sunshine in Soho 1956

1950s Soho beats with far more energy than its 21st century counterpart in this vivid time capsule.

33 mins United Kingdom Director. Burt Hyams

View Love is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon
Love is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon
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Love is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon 1998 18

Derek Jacobi and Daniel Craig star as artist Francis Bacon and his muse George Dyer in John Maybury’s darkly exquisite biopic.

86 mins United Kingdom Director. John Maybury

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Where Has Poor Mickey Gone
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Where Has Poor Mickey Gone 1964

A fairground showman (Warren Mitchell) exacts a terrible revenge upon the hooligans who terrorise him in this haunting tale of mystery and magic

56 mins Director. Gerry Levy

View Nice Time
Nice Time
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Nice Time 1957 U

The swirling neon frenzy of Piccadilly Circus is perfectly captured in this innovative short; a bewildering collage of image and sound.

16 mins United Kingdom Director. Claude Goretta, Alain Tanner

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Primitive London
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Primitive London 1965 15

Arnold Louis Miller's follow-up to London in the Raw lifts the lid on society’s decay with its sideshow spectacle of 60s London depravity.

76 mins United Kingdom Director. Arnold Louis Miller

View Strip

Strip 1966 15

Documentary about the lives of the women who work at a striptease club called The Phoenix on Old Compton Street, in the heart of Soho in the swinging sixties.

25 mins United Kingdom Director. Don Defina, Peter Davis, Staffan Lamm

View Carousella

Carousella 1965 15

A controversial, well-made documentary that follows the lives of three young striptease artistes working in Soho.

28 mins United Kingdom Director. John Irvin

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London in the Raw
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London in the Raw 1964 15

Low-budget movie mogul Arnold Louis Miller concocted this exploitation-style documentary which peers behind the grimy net curtains of British life.

47 mins United Kingdom Director. Arnold Louis Miller

View Soho Striptease Clubs
Soho Striptease Clubs
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Soho Striptease Clubs 1958

Intrepid investigative journalist Daniel Farson ventures deep into the heart of Soho to explore the hidden world of afternoon Striptease Clubs.

7 mins United Kingdom Director. John Rhodes

View Soho
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Soho 1981

A feminist view of how small businesses in London's Soho exploit working women.

20 mins United Kingdom

View Frenzy
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Frenzy 1972 18

Hitchcock returned to London for was his penultimate film, a brutal serial killer drama that proved the veteran still had the edge.

116 mins United Kingdom Director. Alfred Hitchcock

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Deep End

Deep End 1970 15

A darkly comic and compelling coming of age story set during a time of social change.

88 mins Federal Republic of Germany Director. Jerzy Skolimowski

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Anton & Minty
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Anton & Minty 1995

Minty’s hobbies include drinking tea, smoking roll-ups and falling into a coma, while Anton dreams of clinically depressed sheep breaking into the house.

18 mins United Kingdom Director. Alnoor Dewshi

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Peeping Tom

Peeping Tom 1960 15

Michael Powell’s dark, disturbing, once controversial tale of a shy camera technician who films women as he kills them is now rightly deemed a classic

101 mins United Kingdom Director. Michael Powell

View G.G. Passion
G.G. Passion
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G.G. Passion 1966

In this ultra-rare short directed by David Bailey, an ageing pop singer is hounded by mysterious assassins.

24 mins United Kingdom Director. David Bailey

View London's Contrasts
London's Contrasts
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London's Contrasts 1924

Part of Wonderful London, the BFI National Archive’s programme of restored London travelogues, filmed in the capital in the 1920s.

11 mins United Kingdom

View Cosmopolitan London
Cosmopolitan London
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Cosmopolitan London 1924

An extraordinary tour of Soho's French cafés, Clerkenwell's Little Italy and the lesser-trodden streets of Limehouse in the 1920s.

9 mins United Kingdom Director. Frank Miller, Harry B. Parkinson

View Cocaine
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Cocaine 1922

A decadent, controversial tale of London's seedy underbelly, where an elegant Chinese club host enslaves the weak with white powder.

80 mins United Kingdom Director. Graham Cutts

View Central London Traffic
Central London Traffic
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Central London Traffic 1956

Traffic chaos and parking pandemonium in London is nothing new - as we see from this colourful 1950s research film shot around the capital.

11 mins United Kingdom

View Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever
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Yellow Fever 1998

A gay British-Chinese man refuses to date Chinese men. But then Jai Ming moves in next door.

25 mins United Kingdom Director. Raymond Yeung

View Soursweet
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Soursweet 1988 15

Hong Kong newlyweds seek a fresh start in 60s Britain, but fall foul of the Triad underworld in this adaptation of Timothy Mo’s blackly comic novel.

110 mins United Kingdom Director. Mike Newell

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Ping Pong
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Ping Pong 1986

A young lawyer has to execute the will of a Chinese man found dead in a phone box in a witty comic thriller - the first British-Chinese feature film.

100 mins United Kingdom Director. Leong Po-chih

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