A cautionary – albeit low-budget (it cost only £18,000 to make) – tale of Marisa, an innocent Italian girl who moves to London and gets caught up in the sleazy world of modelling for risqué magazines and finally plunged into full-on prostitution.
Her Private Hell was the debut feature of British exploitation director Norman J. Warren (Satan’s Slave) and the UK’s first narrative sex film.
Although there isn’t any sex to speak of. The credits play out over a modish montage of hard-to-figure body parts, Italian actress Lucia Modugno is seen topless at one point, Jeannette Wild later dances topless in a seriously funky party sequence (but only in the American cut of the film), and that’s about it.
In January 1968, however, the mere fact that the characters have sex in the course of the story (albeit not on camera) seems to have been enough to ensure a box-office stampede.
In fact, this film has the dubious honour of putting Britain on the map in the realm of home-grown adult features.
In just a few years British studios would sire their own sex stars (the classy Fiona Richmond and somewhat more down-to-earth Mary Millington) and become clogged with sniggering-schoolboy erotic comedies that were significantly free of eroticism or indeed comedy.
Norman J. Warren