Australia, 1985, 92 minutes, Colour.
Briony Behets, Carmen Duncan, James Smillie, David Reyne, Antoinette Byron, John O'May, Bartholomew John, Kate Fitzpatrick, Maureen O'Shannessy, Jon Finlayson, Jon Ewart, Liz Harris, Gary Day, Betty Lucas, Nicole Kidman, Angelo d'Angelo.
Directed by Chris Langman and Mark Joffe.
Skin Deep is a very glossy telemovie set in the world of fashion and beauty contests. It looks as if it might be Australia's answer to Dallas and Dynasty. It was produced lavishly by Kerry Packer's PBL Productions.
The film has flashbacks to beauty contests and their televising in the '60s and leading into melodramatic situations including rape and the adoption of a child. With the move into the '80s, the film shows the fashion world, modelling and the exploitation of models by unscrupulous business dealers and kinky managers and photographers. There is also the background of television shows.
The film has a very strong cast who do their impersonations with professional aplomb.
1. Barbara: the victim of rape, the winner of the competition, her adopting her child, not having seen her, her success in the fashion world, rivalry with Vanessa, the marriage with Cliff, the discovery of her daughter wanting to be a model, the confrontations, the violence by Roger, the missing of the award.
2. Vanessa and the Australian 'bitch', wealthy, ambitious, running the fashion world, relationship with Grant, liaison with Cliff, the employing of Barbara's daughter, using people.
3. Clifford, the smiling executive, proposal to Barbara, liaison with Vanessa, ambitious and using people.
4. Grant and the up-and-coming model, unscrupulous, using people.
5. Roger and his American background, the rape of Barbara, his reappearance on the scene, his picking up Sheena, the attempted rape, his death, the revelation of the truth?
6. Betty and her concern about her daughter, her going to see the adoptive parents and their concern, the two girls and their eagerness to be models, audition, one girl going on location and finding it boring, the other girl to go to the TV show and awards, the encounter with Roger and the potential danger.
7. Billy and the alcoholic comic, his failures, the devices for drinking, his being looked after by Brad and his tricking him?
8. Sheena as the ingenuous young girl wanting a modelling career, the encounter with Roger, his death?
9. The range of supporting characters, friends, fashion world-people, television world people.
10. A realistic/unrealistic heightened picture of the soap opera world?