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Scum is a 1979 British film directed by Alan Clarke, originally based off of a 1977 BBC teleplay. In 2010, the film was remade by Kim Chapiron, under the title Dog Pound. The following page covers tropes appearing in all three versions.
The film is very noteable for several reasons:
1. The BBC Teleplay and film both starred Ray Winstone, and essentially launched his career.
2. Though not an actual "Video Nasty", Mary Whitehouse was successful in her private prosecution in the High Court case against Channel 4 for showing the film. (Channel 4 later won an appeal, however) Because of this, "Scum" frequently shows up under video nasty lists, despite not actually being one. Part of the reason for all the controversy was because of how extraordinarily violent the film was, as well as its brutal depictions of racism and harsh language, particularly for Thatcher-era Britain.
3. Though without the violence and general extremity of its remake, The original 1977 teleplay did have one thing that many modern audiences will find particularly surprising given the time period it was made in: a homosexual relationship between Carlin and another inmate. Granted, the relationship wasn't exactly positive, but still.
That being said, the main gist of the film(s) is something like this:
Three thugs; Carlin (Butch in Dog Pound), Davis, and Angel, are all taken into custody and brought to a good ol' British Borstal (an American Juvenile Correctional Facility in Dog Pound). What they proceed to discover is that where they have been sent is in fact a Wretched Hive of Racism and Violence, and corrupt wardens/officers. And that's just the beginning. From then on, it gets worse. Much, MUCH worse.
When listing the tropes, everything appears in all three versions, unless otherwise noted.
Tropes appearing in Scum/Dog Pound:
- Blatant Lies: Davis's sex stories in Dog Pound are this. At least, we hope.
- Dawson Casting: Played straight with Ray Winstone (both Theatrical and BBC teleplay versions of Scum), David Threlfall (BBC Teleplay), Mick Ford (Theatrical version), Adam Butcher, and Shane Kippel (both Dog Pound); all were 20 or over during filming of their respective versions. One aversion occurred with Julian Firth in the 1979 theatrical version; he actually was a teenager.
- Depraved Bisexual: Carlin is this in the original BBC Teleplay.
- Driven to Suicide: Davis.
- Fake American: Most of the cast of Dog Pound is Canadian. They do a good job of hiding it, though.
- Gorn: For the era, the theatrical 1979 version of Scum was this. Even now, the blood is still rather.... copious.
- Fan Service: For some viewers, Dog Pound was definitely this. You get to see Spinner, almost completely naked!
- Grey and Gray Morality: Definitely in Dog Pound.
- Hand or Object Underwear: During the beginning of Dog Pound, the viewers are treated to all three male leads essentially naked, save for them cupping their privates with their hands. Justified, however: they are being checked into a Juvenile Correctional Facility, and would need to be strip-searched.
- Handsome Lech: Max and (probably/hopefully) Davis in Dog Pound, Archer in Scum to a lesser extent.
- Heroic Sociopath: Carlin/Butch.
- Hot for Teacher: In Dog Pound, most of the students seem to find Miss Biggs quite attractive. Despite Davis's story, however, the feeling is NOT mutual.
- Hot Mom: Davis's mom in Dog Pound, especially during his story sequence with her large breasts and sexy back.
- Hellhole Prison: Well, duh.
- Implausible Deniability: "I slipped"
- Intoxication Ensues: In Dog Pound, Davis takes some crack (?) believing it to be cocaine. While intoxication does ensue, unlike most versions of this trope, hilarity most definitely does NOT ensue.
- Karma Houdini: Davis' rapist(s) in both versions of Scum. Not so in Dog Pound, though.
- My God, What Have I Done?: in Dog Pound, this is Goodyear's reaction to accidentally killing Angel.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Mess with Carlin/Butch, and you're in for a world of hurt.
- Parental Incest: In Dog Pound, one of Davis's stories this. It's most likely bull, especially given his actual interactions with his mother.
- Prison Rape | Rape as Drama: Davis.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: In Dog Pound, Goodyear... eventually.
- You Rebel Scum: For the first two versions. It's right there in the title.
- Violent Glaswegian: Averted, due to casting. Originally, Carlin was intended to be from Glasgow, but the director was so impressed with Ray Winstone's audition, that he dropped that and cast him.
- Working on the Chain Gang: Sort of. Nobody is actually chained together, but they do do manual labor while huddled close.
- Wretched Hive: The facility the boys are sent to.