Warden's End

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Warden’s End is a British spanking video produced and directed by George Harrison Marks and released by Janus on VHS and Betamax cassette late in 1981, priced at £40. Made on film with a dubbed sound track, it lasts 9 minutes.

Plot

A black London taxi-cab has halted outside the Janus shop in Old Compton Street, Soho. A young man pays the driver his £2 fare and asked him to wait while he carries some small piles of magazines from the cab into the shop where he works. A female traffic warden, red-headed and pretty in authentic uniform (black skirt, black shoes, and black jacket and hat with yellow facings), advances along Frith Street and turns into Old Compton Street. Seeing the taxi parked on a double yellow line, she insists on giving the driver a penalty notice, despite his vigorous protests, backed up by the shop assistant. Continuing to argue, she follows the assistant into Janus.

‘What is this shop anyway?’ asks the traffic warden, and receives the answer, ‘It’s a sex shop, can’t you see?’ She looks at the covers of the magazines on display and exclaims, ‘But they’re all bums!’ The assistant explains that this is ‘the Mecca of the spanking’. Picking up a copy of New Janus No.3 and flicking through it, she remarks that she doesn’t see anything special in it and the girls don’t look very nice either. He asks her if she thinks she can do better and suggests that she could earn a lot more as a spanking model than as a traffic warden. He could give her an audition here and now. Without hesitation, she removes her skirt to reveal black see-through panties above black stockings. ‘Very nice!’ is the preliminary verdict.

Almost five minutes into the film, the spanking begins. The assistant bends the warden over a high wooden stool, lowers her panties, and applies 116 spanks to her bare buttocks. After 40, she starts to complain, and, when asked what she thought of the experience, she protests, ‘That bloody hurt!’

The assistant then selects a cane from the shop’s display and assures the sceptical warden that she will enjoy it. ‘It’s like being at school,’ she observes as her caning begins and she wonders which she prefers, the hand or the cane. In total, 130 rapid strokes are applied to her bottom, light at first but growing harder as her punisher orders her not to give out any more parking tickets in his street.

When told that she has passed the audition, the warden declares, ‘I don’t care. I’ve had enough of this and I’ve had enough of you. I’d rather be a traffic warden! I’m off!’ She picks up her skirt and heads for the door without even pausing to put it on. The assistant shrugs and looks into the camera: ‘Some you win and some you lose!’

Publicity

A scene from Warden’s End appeared on the cover of New Janus No.6, which devoted 10 of its 64 pages to advertising it. The magazine printed 22 photographs of the story, with four reproduced in colour at full-page size. The latter are not actual stills from the film (which never shows the warden clutching the cane between her buttocks). Another eight smaller pictures showed the director, cast and crew at work in Old Compton Street.

A review by John Donnelly emphasised the technical ambition of the film, described as a great step forward in spanking cinema and a video worthy of the subject matter. Harrison Marks was reported as saying that, for the first time, with the co-operation of the Janus organisation, he was able to make three films of a feature quality standard, purely for the home movie and video market. The other two titles would be Thoughts of Girlhood Chastisement and Night (H)Owls. ‘At last,’ wrote Donnelly, ‘the viewer will be able to purchase a cinema quality cassette to play in their own homes on subjects that although still unacceptable for general showing, are of supreme interest to the connoisseur.’

Purchasers were promised excellent camera work, perfectly clarified dialogue and sound effects, an amusing and completely believable story line, and the handiwork of a master craftsman.

The video continued to be advertised in every issue of Janus along with other titles until 1986.

Commentary

The photographs of the making Warden’s End suggest that attempts were made to record live sound. As released, however, the film has a dubbed sound-track with the smacks much more carefully synchronised than the dialogue. There is an obvious technical flaw when around ten seconds of conversation are repeated during the spanking sequence. Compared with many other films of the era, however, the action is well paced and the camera-work is good, with some highly effective close-ups of the spankee’s wiggling bottom.

Warden’s End remains one of the best known of early British spanking videos, much more widely remembered today than its successors Thoughts of Girlhood Chastisement and Night (H)Owls. There are several reasons for this.

First, the idea of spanking a traffic warden has inherent humorous appeal to motorists. It may not be clear why the warden should pursue the passenger of the offending taxi rather than the driver, but the story is one of the better examples of the light comedy approach that Harrison Marks brought to spanking cinema.

Secondly, the location is significant to British spanking fetishists, for the Janus shop at 40, Old Compton Street was the chief retail outlet for spanking erotica in Britain for over thirty years (1979-2011). The opening shot shows the exterior as it looked prior to refurbishment in the mid-1980s: a white fascia above a large blacked-out window with an illuminated sign next to the door that reads ‘Come inside and enjoy the world’s largest selection of books & magazines, films, videos & tapes to suit your own particular tastes.’ During the first years after its release, the film could be viewed by paying customers in the video booths at the back of the Janus shop, only feet away from the scene of the action.

Thirdly, the film has benefitted from the attractiveness and sustained fame of its star, 23-year-old Linzi Drew, who was prominent in the British erotica industry throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, as a model, actress, editor, and campaigner against censorship. There can be no doubt that she recorded the sound track, as her Bristol accent is distinctive, adding character to the role. In 1984, Ms. Drew recalled Warden’s End in one of her regular ‘Life with Linzi’ columns in Club International while considering the erotic appeal of uniforms:

I once played the part of a traffic warden in a video film. They’d hired a really sexy little outfit for me to wear. The enthralling plot involved my giving a cabbie a ticket for parking on a double yellow line, and he in return gave me a good beating! It was once of these spanking films, you see. When I accepted the job, the director assured me that it was all in fun and I wouldn’t really have to be spanked – lying bugger! I hobbled out clutching my poor, sore botty which was black and blue … never again![1]

She returned to the topic in an interview almost a decade later:

I did a little film with Harrison Marks. I was a traffic warden and a taxi driver spanked me. It was the only time when I’ve been spanked that it went past the pain barrier and it felt quite nice. Something I wouldn’t want to do again though – especially if you’re a model, it’s no use having a red bottom for three days.[2]

In fact, Ms. Drew did work again for Marks in a spanking video, playing the switch role of Margaret Daley in The Cane and Mr Abel, the first film released by Kane around 1983. The male actor in Warden’s End also appears in When the Cat’s Away (Kane, c. 1987).

See also

References

  1. Club International (British edition), vol.13 no.11 (1984) p20.
  2. Jonathon Green, It: Sex since the Sixties (London, Secker & Warburg 1993) p300.