‘Skip the Warts’: Personal Branding and Pornification in The Look of Love (2013).

Journal article


Robinson, M. 2023. ‘Skip the Warts’: Personal Branding and Pornification in The Look of Love (2013). Journal of British Cinema and Television. 20 (2), p. 177–199. https://doi.org/10.3366/jbctv.2023.0667
AuthorsRobinson, M.
Abstract

As the owner of the notorious Raymond Revuebar in Soho, and as publisher of pornographic magazines, British businessman and property magnate Paul Raymond had a lasting impact on British culture. The Look of Love seeks to assess that impact in its dramatisation of his life. This biopic locates Raymond as an early exponent of ‘personal branding’ via scenes which depict his flair for public relations and his crafting of a public image emphasising wealth and luxury. The biopic also critiques this process, suggesting that his commitment to personal branding leads him to commodify those closest to him, among them his former wife, girlfriend and daughter. Where typically the juxtaposition between the ‘public’ and ‘private’ self has been utilised in biopics to convey a figure’s personality, The Look of Love exploits actor Steve Coogan’s associations with impersonation to rework this convention: the film suggests that even in supposedly ‘private’ moments, Raymond was always seeking to impress an audience via his recreations of iconic film characters.
But just as Raymond is represented as committed to this branding project, exploiting those around him to consolidate it, the film itself commits to this version of his life at the expense of others: namely, how Raymond’s ventures and activities were critical in the developing pornification of British society. It is telling that the film includes a sequence in which Raymond instructs a prospective female model to ‘skip the warts’ when recounting her life story: there are warts which the film itself leaves unexamined.

KeywordsBiopic; Pornography; Pornification; Paul Raymond; Personal Branding; The Look of Love
Year2023
JournalJournal of British Cinema and Television
Journal citation20 (2), p. 177–199
PublisherEdinburgh University Press
ISSN 1755-1714
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.3366/jbctv.2023.0667
Web address (URL)https://www.euppublishing.com/doi/abs/10.3366/jbctv.2023.0667
Accepted author manuscript
File Access Level
Open
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
OnlineApr 2023
Publication process dates
Deposited29 Jun 2023
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