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Image Entertainment presents
The First Nudie Musical (1975)

"People don't need to go to the movies to see hardcore. They want something different."
- Harry Schechter (Stephen Nathan)

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: August 01, 2002

Stars: Stephen Nathan, Cindy Williams, Bruce Kimmel, Alexandra Morgan, Diana Canova
Other Stars: Leslie Ackerman, Alan Abelew, Ron Howard
Director: Mark Haggard, Bruce Kimmel

Manufacturer: Ritek Digital Video
MPAA Rating: R for (nudity, language, sexuality)
Run Time: 01h:34m:31s
Release Date: June 25, 2002
UPC: 014381141627
Genre: musical

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

While the nudie cutie had a long history already in 1975, not even exploitationmeister David P. Friedman had conceived of doing one as a musical. Luckily for him, Bruce Kimmel came along with The First Nudie Musical. With flair, panache, copious nudity, not to mention a dollop of charm, the brash musical manages to pull it off in spite of itself.

Harry Schechter (Stephen Nathan) is the head of his father's failing Schechter Studio, which is stuck making porn films and losing money. As the investors start closing in, Schechter hits on the idea of making a nudie musical, Come....Come, Now. But he has only two weeks to make it, and he's saddled with John Smithee (Bruce Kimmel), the incompetent nephew of one of the investors. But Schechter forges ahead with the aid of his faithful secretary Rosie (Cindy Williams).

The comedy is at times rather broad, particularly early on. The cast isn't above mugging or being ridiculous. Cerebral comedy this isn't. This effectively sets a tone, however, that amiably echoes the similarly goofy musicals of days gone by. In essence, it really helps one get into theproper mindset, despite the constant nudity and raunchiness that permeates the picture.

Aided by endless replays on 1980s cable, the film has a high cult reputation, which is well deserved. The songs, also by Kimmel, are mostly feeble efforts at humor, but they have a verve that nods to the 1940s musical. The three principal stars really make the film, with comic performances that are delightful. They are clearly enjoying themselves immensely. Cindy Williams (a few months before Laverne and Shirley hit the airwaves) has a great charm and subtlety to her humor that is supremely winning. Kimmel as the hapless Smithee who fancies himself as a reincarnation of Eisenstein gets many of the biggest laughs.

The picture moves along briskly after a bit overextended exposition at the beginning, and the songs manage not to get in the way as is so often the case in a musical. The humor, not surprisingly, is blue in nature, but it's all goodhearted even as it's steeped in raunchiness. Throw in tons of gratuitous nudity (no, Cindy Williams keeps her clothes on throughout) and the end result is a lot of fun.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The anamorphic widescreen picture looks good for the most part; the most problematic point is that the source prints are less than pristine. Frames are missing and jumps are frequent early on, and damage, scratches and spots plague nearly half of the picture. However, there's extensive color correction that helps make the film look better than it's looked on video or even in theatrical presentations. Detail is reasonably good for a very low budget film and the color is nice. Shadow detail is sometimes lacking but one wonders if it was ever present on the celluloid.

Image Transfer Grade: C


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: The 2.0 English mono has some significant hiss and noise, a further betrayal of the low-budget origins of the picture. The songs in particular suffer from distortion and clipping on the big notes. Dialogue is generally clear, but subtitles would definitely have been a useful addition.

Audio Transfer Grade: C-


Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Music/Song Access with 9 cues and remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
2 Deleted Scenes
1 Documentaries
2 Feature/Episode commentaries by actors Stephen Nathan, Cindy Williams, Bruce Kimmel
Packaging: Gladiator style 2-pack
Picture Disc
2 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL
Layers Switch: 01h:01m:12s

Extra Extras:
  1. Original soundtrack CD
  2. Stills and photo gallery
  3. Radio spot
  4. Deleted song
Extras Review: Where this release really shines is in the quantity of the extras. A 54m:30s documentary gets all of the primary players together again and provides their recollections of the making of the film and its torpedoing by Paramount Pictures lest it tarnish the enormous hit program that starred Williams. There are a number of jabs at Ron Howard (who is in a brief cameo in the film) and his nonappearance in the documentary. The closing gag will definitely be appreciated by devotees of DVD Special Editions. A pair of deleted scenes (including a musical number) show two segments wisely clipped since they would have really dragged the film down.

A pair of commentaries support the film. The first features Kimmel, Williams and Nathan in a fun-filled reminiscence that has a ton of laughter. The second commentary, played straight by Kimmel, really just covers the same information as in the first one, without being quite as entertaining. That's not where we stop with commentaries, though, since there are optional commentaries to the deleted scenes and a very funny sendup of DVD extras contained in of all things, a commentary to the documentary!

An anamorphic widescreen trailer in terrific condition is included, as is a still and promo gallery. This also incorporates a number of reviews and clippings. A pair of easter eggs features a radio spot and another deleted song (lacking video). As an additional bonus, the complete soundtrack is included on CD, for those particularly enamored of the songs. This CD rendition suffers from none of the hiss, distortion or clipping that detract from the songs on the film. Each of the songs is presented in the original version from the picture and in an instrumental (and sometimesextended version). Total running time on the CD is 56m:32s.

Extras Grade: A


Final Comments

A raunchy but fun little musical with more extras than one could imagine stuffed into one little disc. The source materials are sometimes dodgy, but it's better than it's ever looked.


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