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Something Weird Video presents
"This is a film about nudists. They all seem so relaxed."
DVD ReviewDoris Wishman may not have been the most famous female director in the world, but in the realm of sexploitation or the so-called "nudie cutie" genre, she was one of the biggies.
Throughout the 1960s, it was basically considered taboo for a woman to be directing one of these skin-filled adult titles, and Wishman actually helmed a ton of them, becoming one of the more prolific in the genre. But it wasn't her gender that made her such an oddball force, it was her unique directing style, including her trademark penchant for long shots of inanimate objects or strangely extended scenes of people walking, driving, etc. Those little traits made a Wishman title that much more off, that much more visually weird, enough so that even amidst all the stiff acting and gratuitous boobage there was a sense of someone trying to offer up something different.
For this "nudist camp double feature" Something Weird has repackaged a couple of Wishman projects that have already been issued in the past, serving them up in a two-disc set, with the same cache of supplemental materials found on those earlier versions.
Nude on the Moon (1960)
This one has Wishman directing under the name Anthony Brooks, but it's pure Ed Wood-ian Doris all the way. No one will ever confuse this melding of campy sci-fi and skin as hard science by any means, as a pair of scientists build a rocket and head to the moon, only to discover it populated by busty naked women who just happen to be telepathic. If only that were true. The presence of the alluring and topless Moon Queen (Marietta) seems to take in stride the comically colorful Power Ranger-style space suits and generally bumbling Earth man ways as the loose semblance of a plot tries to build up to something akin to a twist ending.
The skimpy premise is as silly as the low-rent props, yet Nude on the Moon retains a kind of high camp appeal that makes this darn entertaining in between the outdoor toplessness. Wishman used Homestead, Florida's Coral Castle tourist attraction rock garden as the locale for her moon setting, and if anyplace could look less moon-like (I love all the trees and greenery) I'm not sure where that could possibly be. Even for it's shortcomings, this is probably one of Wishman's better known titles, and it shows skin without being smutty, and it's funny without even trying all that hard.
Blaze Starr Goes Nudist (1962)
There's a whole lot less plot here than in the previous film, and this one lives and breathes as not much more than an excuse to parade around all sorts of frolicking sun-loving nudity, anchored by the bountiful bosom of Blaze Starr. Sure, there's a stab at an actual storyline, something about Starr needing to find herself and take a break from the rigors of being a stripper only to accidentally discover the clothing-free lifestyle of a local nudist camp. I'm not exactly clear on the differences, but since it involves Blaze Starr au natural, I'm good with it either way. And for surreal weirdness, crooner Ralph Young (of Sandler and Young) wears some funky striped shorts, appearing here under the name Russ Martine.
Wishman fills this one with plenty of her trademark time-filling shots of things like Starr parking her car or walking around, all of which give the film a tilted sort of pacing. It's what Wishman did in nearly all of her features, and it's a pretty distinct visual signature, strange and headscratching as it can be at times. But this is all about the nudity, and once Starr accepts an invite to doff her duds it's time for nude chess, nude archery, nude swimming and of course nude volleyball. And let's not forget the nude accordion serenade, here reprising the film's groovy Going Back To Nature theme song.
Both films have no sex, just plenty of nudity. It's here in topless (and occasional bottomless) abundance, along with some unintentional quirky Doris Wishman-isms.
Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: A-
Image Transfer Review: These two titles have been issued in their original 1.33:1 fullframe, and both are in color. Nude on the Moon is the consistently grainier of the two, but nitpicking a 1960 sexploitation title for long-lasting print quality seems a bit harsh. There aren't any huge splices or nicks, and overall both prints look good, considering. The Blaze Starr feature looks the best of the two, sporting some wildly vibrant colors and warm fleshtones.
Image Transfer Grade: B
Audio Transfer Review: Both films are presented in Dolby Digital mono, and voice clarity is fine, though a bit on the tinny side at times. The occasional bit of crackle or hiss (more prevalent on Nude on the Moon) is not all that surprising given the vintage of these, and in general the quality is suitable without being particularly strong.
Audio Transfer Grade: B-
Disc ExtrasFull Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
2 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Gladiator style 2-pack
Extras Review: Something Weird appears to be branching out from their usual dual-sided discs, with this release issued as a two-disc set (one per film) in a hinged case. Noticeably absent are the mounds of exploitation trailers, and instead what's offered as extras is somewhat less.
Nude on the Moon is cut into 12 chapters, with a couple basic extras, such as the theatrical trailer and with a spiffy Doris Wishman Gallery Of Exploitation Art (02m:27s) that is chock full of nekkid promo materials. A color short entitled Moon Strip (05m:58s)—presented in nonanamorphic widescreen—uses a moon set as the locale for a bizarre little topless dance number, complete with voyeuristic aliens (or their antennae, at least).
Blaze Starr Goes Nudist is divvied into 12 chapters, and also includes the original theatrical trailer and a repeat of the same Doris Wishman Gallery of Exploitation Art (02m:27s) found on the Nude on the Moon disc. There's also a pair of black-and-white nudity-free-but-sexy Blaze Starr striptease shorts from the legendary Irving Klaw, with one running 05m:20s and the other slightly longer at 06m:30s. The one with her undulating wildly on a smoking chaise shows is, well, smoking.
Extras Grade: B-
Final CommentsSomething Weird has already issued both of these titles in the past (in the case of Nude on the Moon, twice), and the extras here don't offer anything new if you already own those earlier incarnations. For those that missed out, however, here's another chance to pick up a pair of wonderfully retro Doris Wishman-directed nudie titles.
Highly recommended if you appreciate the kitschy sex appeal of abundant vintage 1960s nudity.
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