Thursday, 4 February 2010

Kiss Me Quick! (1964)

Kiss Me Quick! was the first film to be produced by Harry Novak, one of the legendary figures in the history of the American sexploitation film. And a strange, crazy but still oddly entertaining little film it is (assuming you have a taste for this weird and wacky movie genre).

This is a mixture of monster movie, science fiction and sexploitation, but in fact it’s your basic nudie-cutie formula as perfected by Russ Meyer back in 1959 with The Immoral Mr Teas - combine lots of completely non-sexualised footage of naked women with as many laughs as possible, with the humour being silly, fairly juvenile but good-natured. In this case the monster element has been thrown in because monsters in a comedic role were big at the time - both The Addams Family and The Munsters had premiered on US TV earlier the same year.

This type of movie is by today’s standards ridiculously tame, and it has a kind of charming innocence to it. Its main appeal is its camp value, which is exceptionally high.

The plot is ludicrously silly, which is as it should be. Sterilox (who appears to be trying very hard to do a Stan Laurel impersonation with somewhat mixed success) is an alien from the Buttless Galaxy, sent to Earth to investigate reports that the human inhabitants come in two sexes, whereas the Buttless Galaxy only boasts one sex. And if possible he is to bring back as perfect a specimen as possible of this hitherto unknown sex known as women. His quest brings him to the laboratory of Dr Breedlove (wearing very bad Frankenstein-like make-up), whose scientific work centres on creating the perfect woman.

What the movie lacks in plot coherence it more than makes up for in go-go dancing. I’ve always maintained that you can’t make a truly bad movie if you include large quantities of go-go dancing. In this case we not only get lots of this important and sadly neglected art form, we get lots of topless go-go dancing. We also get naked romps in a rather small swimming pool, something that has no relevance whatsoever to the plot, but it provides an excuse for plenty of additional nudity.

This movie’s one real claim to distinction is that the cinematography was done by László Kovács, who went on to a very distinguished career in mainstream Hollywood movies. So you’d expect it to be fairly well photographed, and it is. So you get topless go-go dancing photographed very professionally and reasonably imaginatively.

The jokes are lame, but in a likeable enough kind of way, and combined with its camp value it’s amusing enough in a goofy and harmlessly silly way.

The Something Weird DVD includes a commentary track, on which Something Weird’s Mike Vraney is joined by Harry Novak himself. As you expect from Something Weird, the picture quality is a lot better than you’d expect from a movie that would have been produced on a shoestring budget in the first place.

It doesn’t have the edge of true weirdness that characterises the best examples of 1960s US sexploitation but it’s fun in its own way, and a reminder of a more innocent but considerably less jaded age.

No comments: