Edinburgh born Alastair Reid’s debut feature film was described with a typical piece of 60’s speak as ‘a daringly contemporary film on the conflicts between generations conducted with the weapons of sex’. Today it would, as David Kerekes remarks, be seen as a cavalier depiction of a subject matter that would be considered risqué or taboo. In the case of Baby Love (1968) the taboo nature of the subject would be underage children in the proximity to sex and even sexual danger. In this story Luci, the debut role of 15-year-old Linda Hayden who went on to make sexploitation films including Expose (1975), is not simply exposed to sex but is the actual sexual predator seducing all three members of a wealthy middle class metropolitan family, think Theorem (1968) although the predator in the Pasolini movie is certainly not under the age of consent!
Based on a novel of the same name by Tina Chad Christian, Luci comes home from school to find that her mother, played mainly in flashback by the formidable Diana Dors, has committed suicide and is lying dead in the bathhouse out back and that she is now an orphan! Robert (Keith Barron), a well to-do Doctor and ex lover of her mothers, has agreed to take the young working class Liverpudlian into his large well appointed home on the banks of the Thames in London. One suspects this is more to do with guilt about abandoning her mother than his paternal feelings. Luci is no fool’ gradually working her charms on all three members of the family, including mother Amy and son Nick, who is about the same age as Luci.
|....and son Nicky who is driven to distraction by the new lodger.|
Where in a film article today would you find the description of a 15 year old as ‘prepubescent and provocative’ and the deliberate sexualisation of a schoolgirl when a successful married man brings a young nymphet into the family home where she uses her only strength to bring about the down fall of his family, seducing the mother, playing sexual games with their son and bringing vengeance to the father who she see’s as deliberately abandoning her now deceased mother.
When this film was made it was not illegal to take photographs of naked children or to sell them. The law changed in 1978 when The Protection of Children Act became law and as Kerekes goes on to say in his article, under this act Baby Love could not be made today given the scenes of a naked under age child having simulated sex on screen. As I have said in previous 60’s blogs this time period is interesting mainly because attitudes were completely different than they are today and Reid’s movie is a prime example. But even so there was no reason to interject soft porn music to emphasise the films more erotic moments, I think your spot them for your selves!