Paul Raymond became the wealthiest man in the UK when he opened the country's first strip club, the Raymond Revue bar, after starting out his nightlife career as a mind-reader cabaret performer. When the bar became highly successful among gentlemen everywhere, his risqué empire only grew into various men's magazines including 'Men's Only', 'Razzle' and 'Mayfair' not to mention spawning various new clubs across the entertainment district of London, Soho, earning him the nickname 'King of Soho'. Though, while loved and admired by thousands, he was also scorned in other circles and even his family began to suffer from the effects of his billion pound industry. His marriage to one of his strippers, Jean, did not meet an amicable end as he embarked on a whirlwind affair with a younger star, and his previously close bond with his daughter Debbie whom he loved more than anything in the world, was broken after her sudden death at the tender age of 36. This is the story of the triumphs and turmoil of Britain's richest man.
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What made the film's Cannes premiere and early 2005 release in England such scandal fodder, of course, is not the film's story or structure, but how Winterbottom went about the scenes with Matt and Lisa. That is, he filmed the actors actually engaging in intercourse, no fakery involved, and presents it in a straightforward manner, without the cutaways, montages, effortless orgasms, gymnastic posing and musical backdrops that comprise the average film's sexual content. If the film were more salacious and leering in approach, one could just call it pornography and be done with it. And given how little attempt Winterbottom's script (if one can call these few wisps of dialogue and few sentences of narration a script) makes to cast some meaning around Matt and Lisa's relationship, it would be pretty easy to say that this is just a porn in arthouse trimmings, with the concerts there for hipster cred, in the manner of magazines that mix punk pin-up girl pics with musician interviews as a way of updating the Playboy formula.
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