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Sunday April 14th 2024

Repulsion | 1965

Repulsion location: Kensington Mansions,Trebovir Road, Earl's Court, London SW5
Repulsion location: Catherine Deneuve’s creepy mansion block: Kensington Mansions,Trebovir Road, Earl’s Court, London SW5

Set in a bleakly grey London, Roman Polanski’s brilliant, cold and terrifying case history sees sexually repressed and mystifyingly psychotic Carole Ledoux (Catherine Deneuve) killing off predatory males, while well-heeled South Kensington has never appeared so unsettling.

The supporting cast contains some of the finest British character actors of the period, now probably best remembered for TV roles. Oily landlord Patrick Wymark shot to fame in boardroom drama The Planemakers, while Ian Hendry starred in the largely forgotten, pre-camp first series of The Avengers – when it began life as a relatively straightforward thriller series.

They both appeared onscreen in cult movies. Wymark went on to play Oliver Cromwell in Michael Reeves' classic Witchfinder General (The Conqueror Worm), while Hendry became the good guy in another British Vincent Price movie, Theatre of Blood, and the bad guy in the classic Get Carter.

Repulsion location: Thurloe's, Thurloe Place, South Kensington, London SW7
Repulsion location: Catherine Deneuve works at ‘Madame Denise’: Thurloe’s, Thurloe Place, South Kensington, London SW7

Repulsion is famously set around London's prestigious South Kensington district, SW7. The pretty vacant, and increasingly distracted, Carole works as a beautician at ‘Madame Denise’s beauty parlour’. Amazingly, over 40 years later, it's still a beauty salon, Thurloe's, 31 Thurloe Place, South Kensington, SW1.

Still thriving, too, a couple of doors away is the Hoop and Toy, 34 Thurloe Place, the pub where wannabe-boyfriend Colin (John Fraser) drinks with his appalling cronies.

Repulsion location: The Hoop and Toy, 34 Thurloe Place, South Kensington, London SW7
Repulsion location: Colin drinks with his ghastly workmates: The Hoop and Toy, 34 Thurloe Place, South Kensington, London SW7

He takes Carole for fish and chips at Dino’s, an Italian restaurant which stood at 1 Pelham Street, alongside South Kensington tube station. After remaining virtually unchanged for nearly 50 years, Dino’s finally succumbed to updating and now lives on as Muriel’s Kitchen.

It’s just opposite the tube station entrance where Carole is hassled by workman Mike Pratt (another TV stalwart, star of the original Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)).

Repulsion location: Dino's, South Kensington, London SW7
Repulsion location: Catherine Deneuve taken for lunch: ‘Dino’s’ – now Muriel’s Kitchen, South Kensington, London SW7

Less well-known, though, is Carole’s gloomy apartment block (though the incredible expanding interior was reproduced in the studio at Twickenham). Despite appearances, it's not in South Kensington at all, but a couple of tube stops west in bedsitland, Earl's Court. It's Kensington Mansions, Trebovir Road, off Warwick Road behind Earls Court tube station, SW5.