Cult Epics presents
American Nudes: Volume I (1940-1950)
"There are thousands of people today who wear no clothes."- narrator of They Wear No Clothes!Director: various
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nudity)
Run Time: 01h:01m:04s
Release Date: 2008-06-24
DVD ReviewAmerican Nudes: Volume I is the start of what I can only hope is a popular speciality series for Cult Epics and head honcho Nico B., in which a ragtag collection of vintage 16mm nudie shorts from the bygone days is gathered up for our historical perusal. This first release allegedly focuses on the years 1940-1950, and I say allegedly only because only a couple of shorts actually have any proper credits (brief as they are). But old they are, and that's what adds to the enjoyment.
Volume I runs just over an hour, features 17 short films, many of which showcase the same models, or in some cases models that look a lot like other models. For example, the very unique-looking busty torpedo-breasted woman with the Lyle Lovett hair and the odd walk is an easy one to pick out as a repeat offender, whereas some of the other top heavy gals may just look alike. It's really kind of hard to say. Some of the individual films were clearly shot as one longer sequence, and then cut up into three or four minute chunks, so that the woman who does a bit a gardening in Rosy Dream is also the same one who takes an uncomfortable looking bath in a tiny washtub in the very same garden (Naturally Your's—and yes, the title card is spelled that way).
The focus here is nudity, not sex, so it's the old school joy of looking at women simply cavorting unclothed that's the appeal here. Just the way grandpa liked it. A short like Sweet Surrender sports one of the most awkward bubble baths I've ever witnessed, with the model appearing confused, who proceeds to apply a bubbly yet mechanical deep cleaning to her bosom that is more functional than it is erotic. Let 'Er Rip also operates on the voyeur angle, peeking in on a couple of chesty gals who hike down into a ravine, where one of them immediately becomes nude and struggles to regain her full-clothesedness.
There are a couple of moments of implied art—such as the underwater choreography of the appropriately titledSpectacle Underwater—or a stab at an actual plot of sorts (witness the fisherman and mermaid of Mermaid Catches A Man), yet most simply feature nude women wandering around, smiling occasionally and jutting their breasts outward. These films are from the era of full-figured women, and in this day of twig-thin models it was kind of an interesting change to look back at a time when women with natural shapes were in demand.
Take it off, and keep it off.
The titles of the films featured are:
They Wear No Clothes!
Mermaid Catches A Man
A Model Must Please
Let 'Er Rip
The Snug Fit
Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B
|Aspect Ratio||1.33:1 - Full Frame|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: All seventeen 16mm black-and-white shorts are presented in their original fullframe aspect ratio, and I'll wager these didn't look much better when your grandpa was watching them. The fact that these nudies survived at all after all this time is interesting enough. Quality varies greatly across the disc, with expected elements such as nicks, scratches and splices being commonplace. Some shorts do look marginally better than others, and overall the level of detail tends to be on the soft side.
Hardly a showcase, but given the source material it's to be expected.
Image Transfer Grade: B-
Audio Transfer Review: Audio is presented in 2.0 stereo, courtesy of what is billed as an enhanced "big band, swing jazz soundtrack". The first couple of shorts on the disc are the only ones that use the original audio—complete with comically stiff narration—which have an understandably heavy amount of hiss and crackle, as well as sounding rather tinny. The "new" soundtrack comes off much better for the duration, with a noticeably deeper and fuller sound.
Audio Transfer Grade: B-
Disc ExtrasStatic menu with music
Scene Access with 17 cues and remote access
Packaging: unmarked keepcase
Extras Review: There are no extras to be found here in any way, shape or form. The disc, however, is cut into 17 chapters, 1 per short.
Extras Grade: F
Final CommentsCertainly a specialty title if there ever was one, this debut volume of nudie shorts from Cult Epics will fall right in the wheelhouse for fans of vintage erotica.
And you know who you are.
Rich Rosell 2008-07-29