Sunday, 12 February 2012

Soft Porn Sunday: Raven de la Croix & Monty Bane

"Have you seen Up?"
"The sexploitation film made in 1976 by Russ Meyer? Yes, I've seen that."
"No, I mean the one with the cranky old man and the irritating teenager..."
"Wrong Russ Meyer film. That's Beneath the Valley of the Ultravixens, from 1979..."
"I'm not talking about Russ Meyer! There are some villainous property developers..."
"Ah! Supervixens! 1975!"
"Arrrrrrrrgh!"

Love him or hate him (and I'm referring to his films here - I get the distinct impression that I wouldn't like him as a person), Russ Meyer's films definitely made an impact and filled a niche market that I don't think any other
film-maker ever has. Although some of his films - Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!comes to mind (which, apparently, they are remaking... is nothing sacred?) - have been referenced here and there, a lot of the films he made aren't recognised. They've barely been played on UK TV since Bravo stopped showing them, despite the occasional one popping up on Channel 5, but then again, they are very American. Unlike other things which are American (Tickle My Tush), though, I enjoy these.
Mostly. Your average Meyer flick tries to carry a message along with a healthy dose of skin. Some of these messages are a warning - Vixen! is something of a scaremongering tactic about Communism (and as a leftie myself, this is why I don't think I'd like him), Beneath the Valley... is a satire on small-town American industry (to the point where the film is set in "Small Town USA"), and the aforementioned Faster, Pussycat!... is about female empowerment, and pretty much coined the term "sexploitation".

Up!, my favourite of his films, I like because it parodies even itself. Aware that there's meant to be a moral carried in the film, it even starts with a character who is, down to the moustache, a very obvious pastiche of Adolf Hitler... being brutally murdered by an unidentified assailant (via a piranha in his bath). A message about Nazism? Probably not. He's dead. And thus begins a film in which none of the characters seem to care much that he's dead.
Fortunately, a Greek chorus played by Kitten Navitidad keeps popping up to remind us of the plot, the suspects, and where we are in terms of how the mystery progresses.

Aside from everything else, Up! is more of a comedy than any other genre, and for that, I hold a special place in my heart for it.
Appearance: Up! (1976)
Characters: Margo Winchester & Homer Johnson

With Russ Meyer, the nature of his films means that a complete sex scene is hard to find. You'll get subliminal pictures, sure, and you'll get snaps of sex. You'll even get the same characters - some of them stock - popping up over and over again. In Up!, however, there are some clearly defined scenes which are just a minute or so of fun sex, and that's what I'm meant to be talking about in these reviews.

This one happens about a third of the way through the film. New in town, Margo Winchester (a "doe-eyed fucking
machine") witnesses a murder - not the one of Adolf, another one - and is initially cornered by local lawman Homer Johnson. She explains that she is innocent, but it's very clear they are flirting. After he says the immortal line, "let's talk about that at my place," they go to his place and have sex. That, of course, isn't the only place they have sex - this is a Russ Meyer film, after all. They have sex in the fields, in the river, outside his house on the steps, in his car - we cut between locations regularly (but not too rapidly) before ending up inside Homer's house, where Margo (de la Croix - an odd name, but at least it's not got "St." in it) is merrily, and with gusto, riding Homer (Monty Bane - trips nicely off the tongue, that one). Eventually they get tired and stop, but not before everything's nice and satiated.

I assume.

Let me remind you that this takes place partway through a murder mystery film.

Why do I like this scene, you may ask? Because I do like it. I do. Is it the cinematography? Well, yes and no. It's cut well, and cleverly - quickly between scenes of Margo and Homer in varying positions and varying locations, each one beautiful in their own way (and most of them outside). Even the sex on Homer's bed is very clever, not showing
much but cutting to close-ups of the tattoo on Margo's thigh, a shot of Homer's head or Margo's top half bouncing jauntily up and down. But it's not that.

Is it the sound? Well, yes and no. The music is classic - I know I recognise it from somewhere. Meyer tends to use a lot of familiar stuff in his soundtracks - Borodin's Gliding Dance of the Maidens (or Stranger in Paradise IF YOU REALLY MUST CALL IT THAT) is one. This isn't that. It's a good piece though, nice country-type banjo plucking mixed with swing. I'm sure I must have even played it in some ensemble or another at some point. It's clearly not been written for a sex scene, but it works really well.
Is it the people involved? Again, yes and no. Thematically, de la Croix is very well-endowed in the chest department, but then again, they all are - this film even contains a character called "the Chesty Young Thing". But she's very good-looking in all areas. Bane is your average man, giving hope to average men everywhere - and it's nice to see a softcore scene not focusing on somebody devastatingly handsome with a six-pack. They're giving it their all, too - something I always like to see. The sex is lusty and vigorous, and the sounds they're making are nothing short of comedic (Homer especially - if you see this scene, listen to him - he sounds like he's going to explode!). The actors work well in sync together, and it's a good set-up for the rest of their storyline ("Margo's found equal justice under Homer," as our Greek chorus points out. Er, thanks.).

But what really makes this scene good for me? Really? It's fun. That's all it is. We've already had spanking, murder and dildos in this film. This is just pure, unadulterated fun. And it is! There are some neat little touches - Homer keeps his hat on all the time, for example (apart from in one instance where it's hanging off his car's aerial for no reason other than to keep it on show). And some of the sex positions are clearly ridiculous. But that just adds to all the fun. This is cheerful, random, pointless sex - nothing too intense or serious. And that makes it a brilliant scene. It's fun to watch, it's fun to review, and I imagine it was fun to make as well.

And it makes me laugh. Which is just what you need sometimes.

3 comments:

Catharine said...

I want to fuck in the water like that.

Innocent Loverboy said...

Apparently full sex in water is difficult. I've never had any problem with it. You can't have sex in water if you're using condoms for birth control, though, for obvious reasons.

A fair few films seem to involve sex in water. On occasions like this one where it's in an outside stream, wouldn't that just be really cold? Not sure I could enjoy that too much.

[Word verification: "mantle"]

Catharine said...

You failed at taking my virginity in a hot tub though. :p