Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Louisiana Hussey (1959)

Louisiana Hussey is a 1959 exploitation movie set in the bayou country. In other words it’s a hicksploitation movie.

Pierre (Robert Richards) and Jacques (Peter Coe) Guillot are brothers but the problem is that they both love Lili (Betty Lynn). Lili has chosen Pierre and they’re getting married and Jacques is very very unhappy. Then Callie, an old gris-gris woman, tells Jacques that she’s found a sick child in the swamp. Only this is no child. Minette Lanier (for that is her name), is a very attractive and very well-developed young woman. Very well-developed indeed.

Minette is very reluctant to reveal anything about herself or where she comes from. Her clothes are expensive so it is assumed that she must be rich but she claims to have no home.

It is decided that Minette will stay with Pierre and Lili for a while.

The first thing Minette does is to seduce Pierre. But that doesn’t seem to interest her as a long-term proposition. The houses in this backwater village are tiny and the presence of Pierre’s wife in the house as well is going to cramp her style. So then she seduces Jacques.

Pierre and Jacques (and in fact all the inhabitants of this village known as The Pit) are decent honest people but they know nothing of the dangers of women like Minette. Seducing the brothers is child’s play to her. The way she wiggles that bottom of hers poor Jacques doesn't stand a chance.

Of course things are going to get rather tense between Pierre and Jacques, especially as Minette has convinced Jacques that Pierre tried to seduce her.

The big question is what on earth a woman like Minette Lanier is doing in such a backwater. She is obviously not the type. Not the type at all. Pierre, having decided that whatever else Minette might be she’s a bad woman (and a woman no man including himself could resist), decides to find out her secret before she can lead Jacques to his doom.

Director Lee Sholem worked mostly in television but made a few features as well. He was renowned for never ever going over schedule making him an ideal choice for low-budget material like this.

The acting isn’t great but the performances are mostly fun. Nan Peterson’s performance  as Minette is particularly enjoyable. She oozes sex. She is certainly a convincing hussey.

By the standards of the time this film was probably considered to be rather racy but in 1959 the exploitation movie business was about to be revolutionised by the release of Russ Meyer’s The Immoral Mr Teas, the first of the genre that became known as nudie-cuties. The nudie-cuties would make movies like Louisiana Hussey seem very tame indeed. It’s fascinating to compare Louisiana Hussey with Meyer’s Lorna, released just three years later. The subject matter and settings of the two films are fairly similar. Lorna has a fair bit of nudity and a great deal of fairly explicit violence. It’s a whole different cinematic world. Of course being a Russ Meyer movie Lorna also has a lot more style and energy.

But Louisiana Hussey has its own charms and it manages to generate a considerable amount of sexual heat. Minette is like an alley cat on heat, but she’s also a ruthless schemer. She uses her sexual power (which she has in abundance) without any scruples at all. She has no difficulty convincing us that she can wrap any man around her finger. Minette is a whole lot of woman.

There is a brief nude swimming scene in Louisiana Hussey but it’s nudity 1959-style - trying to convince the audience they’re seeing something while making sure that mostly they don’t.

The Louisiana bayou setting is one of the film’s big pluses wth some pretty nice location shooting. And in movies the bayous seem to be an ideal setting for sex and sin and madness.

One interesting feature is that the movie doesn’t adopt a mocking tone towards the people of The Pit. They may be a bit out of their depth dealing with a woman like Minette but they’re not stupid and they’re not inbred.

I don’t get to say this very often but the Alpha Video DVD offers a very good transfer indeed. The black-and-white image quality is nice and sharp, contrast is excellent and it looks pleasingly bright without being the slightest bit washed-out. This is definitely one of the company’s better efforts.

And, amazingly, this is an Alpha Video DVD with extras. Yes, extras. There’s a very brief snippet of an interview with Samuel Z. Arkoff plus 15 minutes of nudie shorts (judging by the girls’ hairstyles they date from the 40s to the 60s).

This movie is pure trash but it’s good thoroughly enjoyable trash. If you love bad girl movies (and I’m assuming that everybody does) then Minette is a pretty memorable bad girl and Louisiana Hussey can be highly recommended. And given that it’s a fun movie and the transfer is good and the disc contains some actual extras Alpha Video’s DVD can be unhesitatingly recommended.

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