Finders Keepers, Lovers Weepers! (Russ Meyer / U.S., 1968):

The conjugal field laid bare by flickering go-go lights, Russ Meyer’s Faces if you will, his cruelest parable perhaps. The opening jackrabbits from the fervid jazz of the topless saloon to the Mascagni of the cultured brothel, where the owner (Paul Lockwood), a "pretty nice guy with hang-ups," savors a ceremonial chest shave from a Mennonite blonde fluent in the Kama Sutra. (Elgar’s box-kite from Ken Russell’s film turns up to state a bucolic memory in the midst of an orgasm.) At home, the frustrated wife (Anne Chapman) is tired of him rolling into bed after "humping every hooker in town as soon as she comes of age." At work, two gangsters (Duncan McLeod, Robert Rudelson) wait in the wings for the right time to crack the safe. Bridging the two extremes is the wife, who impulsively replaces a stripper at the nightclub and, suspended between abandon and shame, allows herself to be seduced by the bartender (Gordon Wescourt). The intercutting between bodies furiously grinding in a hot tub and stock cars slamming at a demolition derby is just one of the wacky juxtapositions in Meyer’s crotch-angled stroll in nocturnal Los Angeles: the elegantly duplicitous madam (Lavelle Roby) climaxes to Beethoven-scored visions of ejaculatory fountains, the tavern’s impregnable money box is equated to the conflicted heroine's "treasure chest" (cf. Losey’s The Prowler), and, most evocatively, a bloody robbery turns into a grueling session of marriage therapy. Ever the self-policing lecher, Meyer orchestrates a swinish exhibition only to freeze on the uneasy smile of Chapman, a Vargas pin-up with sad Keane eyes. With Jan Sinclair, Joey Duprez, Pamela Collins, and Nick Wolcuff.

--- Fernando F. Croce

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