Friday, 24 September 2010

Good Morning... and Goodbye! (1967)

Good Morning... and Goodbye! is one of Russ Meyer’s lesser known films, and while it can’t match movies like Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! for style or Beyond the Valley of the Dolls for camp excessiveness it does have its own charms.

The prologue tells us that this is a movie about losers. Of course you could say that about most of Meyer’s films. Especially about the male characters.

The central characters here are Burt Boland (Stuart Lancaster) and his wife Angel (Alaina Capri). As in so many Meyer movies we have a central male character who is impotent and his wife’s unsatisfied sexual needs drive what there is of a plot. Burt has a daughter named Lana by a previous marriage, a troublesome teenager just discovering her sexuality. Angel finds sexual satisfaction in the arms of a macho quarry worker named Stone, and in the arms of any other man who happens to catch her eye. Meanwhile Lana is trying to lose her virginity to Ray, a young man who spouts a good deal of pretentious but amusing dialogue but seem more interested in talk than sex.

Poor Burt drives off into the woods alone to ponder his future and meets a mysterious woman, played by the wonderful Haji. Is she some kind of wood nymph? A witch? Whatever she is she traps Burt and ravishes him and in the process she restores his manhood. Burt can’t wait to get home and try out his new-found sexual prowess on Angel.

Burt and Angel are in the middle of sampling some marital sexual bliss when Lana arrives home and announces that Stone has had his wicked way with her. Now Burt must prove his manhood in another way, by confronting Stone and taking his revenge on him for seducing his daughter and for his sexual dalliances with Burt’s wife.

In a Meyer film you always expect a sudden explosion of violence, and this movie certainly provides one. The violence is all male-on-male violence and follows the usual Meyer pattern where violence is always a marker of sexual inadequacy. While Stone might be a stud in the bedroom he fails to satisfy Angel emotionally so he still qualifies as a loser.

Meyer’s heroines are usually strong characters but in this case Angel is also rather sympathetic. She’s driven to other men’s beds by her need for sex but she’d prefer to have her husband satisfy those needs. She actually does love him. He might be twice her age but he ends up proving himself to be more of a man than Stone.

This is in its own way one of Meyer’s most good-natured movies. All of Meyer’s movies are pro-sex, but this is one of his most pro-love movies.

Stuart Lancaster is always fun in Meyer movies but in this one he gets to do some actual acting. And he acquits himself quite well. Alaina Capri is a joy as Angel. Haji is of course perfectly cast as a kind of forest spirit of sexuality and brings to the role exactly the right combination of weirdness, exotica and sex.

The movie is visually rather restrained by the standards of Meyer movies but the dialogue is deliciously outrageous.

It’s all great fun and while it’s not one of his great movies it’s most definitely worth seeing.

The Arrow all-region PAL DVD is not very impressive but their editions are the only available editions of most of Russ Meyer’s movies.

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