Early Exploitation

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benwhowell
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Early Exploitation

Post by benwhowell »

I recently picked up a DVD box set from Mill Creek Entertainment called "Cult Classics-"at Big Lots for $6. It includes 20 of Hollywood's salacious curiosities from the '30's/'40's...all public domain, needless to say.
Boy, did I get my money's worth!!
So far, I've spent time with "The Cocaine Fiends" ('36) and an "Escort Girl" ('41)-actually, it was several escort girls and boys!
Today, I discovered the "importance" of "Test Tube Babies" ('48.)
With an hilarious hackneyed script (begging for audience participation) and really, really bad acting-this one should have received all the fame that went to "Reefer Madness."
It's part "stag film" and part "educational-"about a young couple's "confusion" about the happiness of their one year marriage...why they are no longer content with their drunken, promiscuous friends and why they have failed to produce a child.
Enter a chain-smoking gynecologist-with a nurse who seems to have "reefer madness-"who introduces them to the world of artificial insemination.
Who knew?
Other gems in this collection include "Chained For Life" with Daisy and Violet Hilton, "Child Bride," "Terror Of Tiny Town" and G.W. Pabst's "Joyless Street" with Greta Garbo.

Anybody have any favorite "early exploitations" you'd like to share with us?
Handsome Johnny Eck
Mr. Arkadin
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Post by Mr. Arkadin »

Hi Ben, I have that same disc set. Great entertainment for not a lot of dough and the movies don't look too bad.

Kino has recently released Maniac and Narcotic (both 1933) on the same disc. Maniac has to be one of the craziest films ever made. I won't even try to explain it--just look it up!

http://tinyurl.com/37429e

Also, check out Nina's Discount Oldies which has a whole section dedicated to Exploitation style films:

http://www.oldies.com/genre-view/explt.html
benwhowell
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"But when I'm bad, I'm better!"

Post by benwhowell »

Thanks for the info, Mr. Ark. I've read about "Maniac" and I simply must get it for my collection.
Do you have Millcreek's "Drive-In Classics" and "Nightmare Worlds-"both containing 50! movies?

Love the new avatar-of the tempestuous Sean Young.
I'm sure you heard about how she was recently escorted out of some awards function for suggesting that Julian Schnabel hurry up with his acceptance speech...
Why wasn't she at The Oscars! :wink:
Handsome Johnny Eck
Mr. Arkadin
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Post by Mr. Arkadin »

Ben, The Cult Classic set is all I own by them, but for the price, it might be interesting to check out the other sets.

Sean is pretty crazy these days. I read an interview with her where she blamed her inability to get work on everybody and claimed sexual harrassment, blacklisting, and all sorts of things. I get the feeling she's looked at as a loose cannon with a few bricks shy if you know what I mean. :wink:

http://tinyurl.com/2wnjde

Still, her work in Blade Runner (1982) was incredible and showed great promise of things to come. Sadly, it has not been fulfilled.
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ChiO
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Post by ChiO »

I, too, have the Mill Creek Cult Classics collection. Another Mill Creek collection I have is Suspense!, another 20 movies. Most of the prints are far less than pristine and the movies are mostly film noir (e.g., SUDDENLY, HE WALKED BY NIGHT, THE BLACK BOOK), but one of the reasons I bought it was for Ed Wood's JAIL BAIT -- an exploitation film noir if there ever was one.

Along these lines, I have a 50 movie pack from Treeline Films called SciFi Classics. And there are some very special ones in it (though one might not consider them "early"): Ulmer's THE AMAZING TRANSPARENT MAN, Bogdanovich's first movie (really a Russian film redubbed with added scenes) VOYAGE TO THE PLANET OF PREHISTORIC WOMEN, the movie with absolutely the worst music I've ever heard, MESA OF THE LOST WOMEN, and the Arch Hall, Jr. classic, EEGAH!. If only one Arch Hall, Jr. movie is to be owned, however, make it THE SADIST; incredible cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond and Arch really isn't bad.

For sexploitation of the '60's variety, I'm partial to the "avant-gardism"" of Doris Wishman's BAD GIRLS GO TO HELL and Joe Sarno's SIN IN THE SUBURBS (it anticipates -- I'm serious here -- EYES WIDE SHUT).

I second Mr. Ark's suggestion to check out Nina's Discount Oldies, especially the Alpha Video line. Many "fine" titles. Quality will vary, but at 5 for $25 they are worth the plunge.
Everyday people...that's what's wrong with the world. -- Morgan Morgan
I love movies. But don't get me wrong. I hate Hollywood. -- Orson Welles
Movies can only go forward in spite of the motion picture industry. -- Orson Welles
benwhowell
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Yes Sir, Mr. Bones

Post by benwhowell »

Glad to see another fan of Ed Wood's film noir classic, "Jail Bait."
Would love to hear from you on this one, Dewey...
Wood also pays loving homage to many film noir classics-from "Dark Passage" to "Sunset Boulevard" to "The Third Man." At least, that fantastic musical score (lifted from "Mesa Of Lost Women) reminds me of "The Third Man."
Handsome Johnny Eck
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Dewey1960
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Post by Dewey1960 »

Hi Ben -
Wood's JAIL BAIT is a prime example of what seems to be the ultimate in noir delirium. So many people seem to be trapped by conventional concepts of what constitues "good acting" and so-called production values that they lose sight of what brings us to movies in the first place: a willingness to suspend our sense of disbelief and descend into the imaginative depths of our most sacred nightmares. Respectable films rarely take us there. Edward D. Wood (as well as countless other practitioners of poverty row entertainment) never fail to get us there.
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ChiO
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Post by ChiO »

benw said:
Wood also pays loving homage to many film noir classics
Some say "homage", others "imitation", others "stealing". "Idiot savant", or just "idiot"?

Have you seen THE HAUNTED WORLD OF EDWARD D. WOOD, JR., a documentary made in 1996 or '98? Interviews with Lyle Talbot, Vampira, Dolores Fuller, Bela Lugosi, Jr. and more. Bela, Jr. hates Wood -- calls him a user and abuser of his father's legacy. Everyone else ranges from love to pity. The highlight, however, is, after Vampira stops laughing when the interviewer tells her that Wood wanted to be Orson Welles, she talks about being Welles' lover before and after his marriage to Rita Hayworth and then says, "But don't ask me about the time he gave me the clap."

Our heroes are but mortals.
Everyday people...that's what's wrong with the world. -- Morgan Morgan
I love movies. But don't get me wrong. I hate Hollywood. -- Orson Welles
Movies can only go forward in spite of the motion picture industry. -- Orson Welles
Mr. Arkadin
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Post by Mr. Arkadin »

ChiO wrote: she talks about being Welles' lover before and after his marriage to Rita Hayworth and then says, "But don't ask me about the time he gave me the clap."

Our heroes are but mortals.
That's hilarious! I'll have to look for that doc.

Incidentally, a remastered version of The Flesh Merchant(1956) has recently come out with lots of extras:

http://tinyurl.com/38sg88
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ChiO
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Post by ChiO »

P.S. Regarding the Wood doc, the years were v-e-r-y good to Dolores Fuller -- far more attractive than during her Wood years. Plus, she discusses her impressive songwriting career. Vampira -- the years have not been as kind. Maybe we can blame it on Orson.
Everyday people...that's what's wrong with the world. -- Morgan Morgan
I love movies. But don't get me wrong. I hate Hollywood. -- Orson Welles
Movies can only go forward in spite of the motion picture industry. -- Orson Welles
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Post by SSO Admins »

I think Wood is underrated as a director. Thanks to Michael "Still Completely Wrong About Everything" Medved, his reputation as the worst director of all time is secure. But in fact, although he certainly wasn't good, he wasn't that bad either. I don't what it is that he had, but he did have it.

Try comparing the movies that Wood wrote but didn't direct (The Violent Years, Orgy of the Dead with those that he directed and you can see the difference immediately. The ones he directed aren't great movies, but they are never boring. The others are more often than not -- in fact OotD is the only movie that could have made naked women boring.
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mrsl
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Post by mrsl »

I don't care to see them myself, but curiosity forces me to ask if you guys get special newspapers, or video lists to find these titles? I never heard of most of the movies that Mr. Ark., Dewey, ChiO, Jondaris and BenW are talking about. Are they special horror movies or something? I don't expect to know all movies, but usually when people talk about little known films, I at least know some of the actors, or directors, but in the cases you guys discuss, they are completely unheard of by me. Until you mentioned crazy Sean Young - she should have been checked away a long time ago.

Anne
Anne


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Mr. Arkadin
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Post by Mr. Arkadin »

Anne, these days exploitation has come to mean a little bit of everything, but in the thirties, these films were often never shown in theatres, but roadside tents or other such places because of their tawdry content.

Many of the films used the guise of moralizing to show (or exploit) all kinds of taboos that could never be shown in their time. Seen today, they are hilariously funny (in The Cocaine Fiends on duty cops chasing a drug addict stop their pursuit to have a beer! :lol: ) and have all kinds of crazy situations.

Many of us saw one film that led us to others, but there are several books on the subject. A good primer might be The Incredibly Strange Film Book by Jonathan Ross.
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ChiO
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Post by ChiO »

The book that really opened my eyes was Incredibly Strange Films (Re/Search, Vale, V. & Juno, A., eds., 1986), which I've read, re-read, and always keep handy since buying it 20+ years ago. For sheer joy and hilarity, check out David F. Friedman's bio/memoir/shaggy dog stories, A Youth in Babylon: Confessions of a Trash-Film King. His first- and second-hand anecdotes about the roadshow circuit are a treasure. Growing up in a small rural town in the '50s-'60s, I remember well the summer drive-in pamphlet trade and my parents trying to protect me from exposure to "educational" movies. That probably explains, at least in part, my fascination with them.
Everyday people...that's what's wrong with the world. -- Morgan Morgan
I love movies. But don't get me wrong. I hate Hollywood. -- Orson Welles
Movies can only go forward in spite of the motion picture industry. -- Orson Welles
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Moraldo Rubini
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Post by Moraldo Rubini »

ChiO wrote:Vampira -- the years have not been as kind. Maybe we can blame it on Orson.
Is everyone aware of the recent passing of Vampira? She passed away only last January.
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