Thursday 25 July 2019

Tailspin Tommy in the Great Air Mystery (1935)

Tailspin Tommy in the Great Air Mystery is a 1935 aviation adventure serial from Universal (it was a follow-up to their 1934 Tailspin Tommy serial). And it’s a very fine example of the breed with superb aerial sequences, an exciting story and very decent acting.

It's highly recommended to serials fans and to fans of aviation advernture.

My full review of this serial can be found here on my Classic Movie Ramblings blog.

Saturday 6 July 2019

Dandy (1970)

Dandy is a 1970 American sexploitation movie and it’s fairly typical of the genre although it features less of the outrageousness that fans of these films tend to like.

Dandy (Cynthia Denny) is eighteen and she’s left home because she doesn’t like her stepfather and because her mother is more interested in the stepfather than in Dandy. She has a boyfriend and she thinks that everything is going to be just great. She’ll move in with the boyfriend and she’ll get a job.

Unfortunately the boyfriend is not exactly a one-woman man so Dandy dumps him. Dandy doesn’t do many sensible things but this was probably a sound move. The only job he can find is as a nude model. She’s not thrilled by the idea but she assumes it will be sort of like the stuff in girlie magazines - basically fairly tasteful. She discovers that the photos she’s asked to pose for are rather less tasteful than she’d expected.

Dandy is not exactly dumb but she’s very naïve, but then she is only eighteen. She’s particularly naïve where men are concerned. If a man is nice to her her immediate inclination is to drop her panties for him. After all if he wants to have sex with her he’s probably in love with her isn’t he?

She’s also a bit naïve where women are concerned. If a woman offers her a back rub she seems to
think it’s quite normal to be asked to remove all her clothes. The idea that the other woman might have something more than a back rub in mind doesn’t occur to her until it’s too late and one thing has led to another.

It also doesn’t occur to her that the modelling agency guy who claims to be managing her career might actually be a rather dangerous customer and she contrives to get herself into all kinds of difficulties as a result, with a couple of pretty nasty heavies after her.

She does meet a nice man, a photographer who actually wants to take photos of her with her clothes on, but he’s very much a straight arrow and he doesn’t approve of Dandy’s nude modelling or her excessively casual attitude towards sex. A smart girl would have grabbed this guy right away - he’s the one man she’s met who isn’t a thug or a sleaze, but Dandy isn’t renowned for making bad decisions.

Her next move is to hook up with a couple of very creepy swingers and the movie takes a mildly psychedelic turn when the swingers throw an orgy in their house.

Maybe Cynthia Denny isn’t a great actress but she handles the rôle pretty adequately. She’s a convincing mixture of innocence and wantonness, and foolishness combined with occasional flashes of common sense. And she’s likeable. It also has to be said that she has a truly stunning body and we get to see a great deal of it. She’s nude for for a very large part of the movie’s 82 minute running time. In fact there’s an immense amount of female nudity in this picture, and by 1970 producers of such features were confident enough to have no qualms about showing lots of female frontal nudity.

The most interesting thing about the plot is that it avoids excessive obviousness and (very surprisingly) it avoids excessive sensationalism. There’s very little violence. Dandy comes into contact with druggies but surprisingly she manages to avoid any actual drug use herself. It’s an exploitation movie that doesn’t go overboard with the exploitation angles. Mostly it just relies on the fact that Cynthia Denny looks great naked.

This is not one of those really sleazy sexploitation films that leaves you feeling a bit uncomfortable. It’s not exactly a feelgood movie but it’s not a roughie. It has more in common with later 70s softcore movies aimed at women like Emmanuelle and Felicity (especially Felicity) than with the grungy sexploitation of the 60s. And (like Felicity) it has an unexpected old-fashioned ending.

A really big surprise is that the Films Around the World DVD release offers a very very handsome anamorphic transfer (the film was shot widescreen and in colour).

Is it worth seeing? Dandy has little to offer apart from its star but she is charming and pretty and did I mention that she takes her clothes off a lot? If that’s enough for you give it a spin.