Up! (Russ Meyer / U.S., 1976):

A panoramic view of Kitten Natividad’s scarlet curlies and an old-fashioned mailbox (complete with red flag) next to a Bavarian castle are some of the sights in Russ Meyer’s opening flurry, which yields to what could be a behind-the-scenes reel from Hogan’s Heroes. One "Adolph Schwartz" (Edward Schaaf) thoroughly enjoys his buggering in a dungeon, then gets vanquished by a piranha dropped into his bathtub by the black-gloved killer. Sunny California lies outside. Raven De La Croix jogs into town and is readily violated, she kills her rapist but is cleared by the local lawman (Monty Bane) in exchange for vigorous sexual favors; Janet Wood and Robert McLane run the diner which is to become the linchpin for the gory spilling of the community’s rampant desires. Natividad’s single-nymph Greek Chorus sprays the air with dubbed Shakespeareisms and extravagant Meyerisms ("Do cries of ecstasy mingle with mammaries of destruction?") to make sense of the plot, kind of, not really. This excoriating satire fairly drips with contempt for the hardcore porn industry: Furious editing comes up with sex position after sex position and the dick-o-cam makes an appearance as Bane’s fly is ostentatiously unzipped, yet the auteur’s most graphic romps here are also his most unpleasant ones. No less acidic is Meyer’s demolition of Yankee folklore, where a Pilgrim is a shame-faced blue boy, Pocahontas makes for a gross punchline ("It’s all red. Looks like you’ve been fucking an Indian"), and Paul Bunyan (Bob Schott) becomes a deranged hard-on quelled by a chainsaw. There’s an elucidation of the shoe gag from Artists and Models, a "Rosebud" tattoo placed strategically by somebody who knows his Citizen Kane trivia, and above all De La Croix’s expressiveness as she slips in and out of a Westian drawl. If memory serves me right, in the Seul le Cinéma episode of Histoire(s) du Cinéma Godard juxtaposed a shot of her with a Renaissance painting, though Dali’s Tuna Fishing seems much closer to the mark. With Candy Samples, Elaine Collins, Linda Sue Ragsdale, Marianne Marks, and Su Ling.

--- Fernando F. Croce

Back to Reviews
Back Home