To repeat ourselves: Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, Russ Meyer's baroque 1967 masterpiece, one of only two movies he ever made for a major Hollywood studio (in this case, Fox), is without a doubt one of the Babest movies ever made. While we have yet to review it here at a wasted life (if we did, we would foam at the mouth in raging rave), we have looked at it before: back in 2011, in our R.I.P. Career Review of Charles Napier (12 Apr 1936 – 5 Oct 2011), and again in 2013 in our R.I.P. Career Review for the Great Haji (24 Jan 1946 – 10 Aug 2013) — both appear in the film.
"This is not a sequel. There has never been anything like it!"
In Haji's entry, we were wrote, among other things, the following: "Originally intended as a sequel to the 1967 movie version of Jacqueline Susann's novel Valley of the Dolls (trailer), Meyer and co-screenwriter Roger Ebert instead made a Pop Art exploitation satire of the conventions of the modern Hollywood melodrama, written in sarcasm but played straight, complete with a 'moralistic' ending that owes its inspiration to the Manson-inspired murder of Sharon Tate and her guests on 9 August 1969. Aside from the movie's absolutely insane plot, the cinematography is also noteworthy — as are the figures of the pneumatic babes that populate the entire movie. For legal reasons, the film starts with the following disclaimer: 'The film you are about to see in not a sequel to Valley of the Dolls. It is wholly original and bears no relationship to real persons, living or dead. It does, like Valley of the Dolls, deal with the oft-times nightmare world of show business but in a different time and context.' [...]"
"Any movie that Jacqueline Susann thinks would damage her reputation as a writer cannot be all bad."
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls:
Russ Meyer films are always populated by amazing
breasts sights, but Beyond the Valley of the Dolls literally overflows its cups in an excess of pulchritude that (even if somewhat more demurely covered than in most of his films) lights the fires of any person attracted to women of the curvaceous kind that preceded today's sculptured plasticity. The film is simply Babe Galore.
And so we continue our look at the
flesh film careers of the breasts women of the Babest Film of All Times, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. The size of the women's breasts roles is of lesser importance than the simple fact that they are known to be in the given film(s) somewhere, and so far we have looked at the cleavage known unknowns and mildly knowns in the background and the headlining semi-knowns in the front for exactly fourteen mostly monthly blog entries — with more breasts babes to come. Our entries focus on their nipples careers in film, if in a meandering manner, and we have slightly more than another half-year to go before we're finished drooling with the project.*
set of love pillows Babe we don't look is she who is an American National Treasure: the Great Pam Grier. Though she had her film debut in Beyond the Valley of the Dolls unseen somewhere in the background of the opening party scene, and therefore should be included, we feel that a Wonderment of her caliber deserves an entry all of her own — a Sisyphean task we might one day undertake. That's her below on the set of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, standing next to Cissy Colpotts (see Pt. XI & XII).
So far, we have looked at the
T&A careers of the following:
Part I: The Non-babe of Note — Princess Livingston
Part II: Background Babe of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls — Jacqulin Cole
Part III: Background Babe of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls — Bebe Louie
Part IV: Background Babe of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls — Trina Parks
Part V: Background Babe of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls — Lavelle Roby, Pt. I (1968-76)
Part VI: Background Babe of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls — Lavelle Roby. Pt. II (1979-2021)
Part VII: Killer Babe of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls — Samantha Scott
Part VIII: Background Babe of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls — Karen Smith
Part IX: Background Babes of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls — The Five Mysterians
Part X: Background Babe of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls — Gina Dair
Part XI: Background Babe of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls — Cissi Colpitts, Pt. I (1970-80)
Part XII: Background Babe of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls — Cissi Colpitts, Pt. II (1981-88)
Part XIII: Beyond the Valley of the Dolls — Phyllis Davis, Pt. I (1966-73)
Part XIV: Beyond the Valley of the Dolls — Phyllis Davis, Pt. II (1975-2013)
Part XV: Background Babe of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls — Veronica Ericson
And now, we take a look at Edy Williams, the only woman in Beyond the Valley of the Dolls that can claim to have been married to the movie's director (from 27 June 1970 – 7 Nov 1975). Edwina Beth Williams was born 9 July 1942 in Salt Lake City, Utah, but grew up in Oregon and Southern California. A model and beauty contest winner, she eventually signed a multi-year contract with 20th Century Fox and began appearing regularly in movies and television, if mostly as background filler. Her first true role of note is probably her breathy interpretation of Hatrack in The Naked Kiss (1964). Breathy sexiness became the id that became and remained her trademark, which is perhaps why she remains best known (outside of cult film circles) as the eternal starlet forever displaying her talents at the Cannes Film Festival. During the sixties, her career trajectory slowly worked its way upwards, achieving its highpoint with her double whammy of Meyer's hit Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970) and his subsequent flop The Seven Minutes (1971). Thereafter, her parts got smaller or more obscure or cult-oriented. Since 1990, she has pretty much disappeared from the limelight if not from public. Today, one could well ask "Whatever happened to Edy Williams?"
For Love or Money
(1963, dir. Michael Gordon)
Director Michael Gordon (6 Sep 1909 – 29 Apr 1993) started out as B-film director and specialist of noirs and crime, but by the time he got blacklisted at the start of the '50s he had moved up to A-list projects.
Edy Williams makes her uncredited feature-film debut in For Love or Money as one of Gig Young's playthings, remaining almost unnoticeable amidst the attractiveness of Mitzi Gaynor, Julie Newmar and Leslie Parrish (of The Giant Spider Invasion [1975 / trailer] & The Astral Factor [1978 / full movie]), who played the three comely daughters in need of matrimony. Mitzi Gaynor retired from movies after this Hollywood comedy — she just didn't think she was cut out for a Hollywood career.
Frank De Vol's main theme to
Love or Money:
The plot, from My Reviewer: "For Love or Money, [Kirk Douglas] was cast well against type as a Cary Grant-esque character in his only romantic comedy role. Douglas plays DK 'Deke' Gentry, a lawyer who is taken on by rich widow Chloe Brasher (Thelma Ritter) to play matchmaker to her three daughters, with the incentive of $100,000 if they all marry her choices. The three women are all very different and offer unique challenges to Deke, with Bonnie (Newmar) as a ditzy health addict, Jan (Parrish) a bohemian artist and Kate (Gayner) a headstrong socialite. Each is paired with a dull and/or badly matched man, from a tax inspector (William Windom) to a prison rehabilitation expert (Dick Sargent) and a wealthy playboy (Young). Deke uses all his skill and wiles to try and see that Chloe's plans come to fruition but is thwarted by the unpredictable sisters falling for him instead."
"The story is too lightweight for a feature film and although it starts out okay ends up becoming quite stretched and tedious during the second half. The scenarios are more silly and inane than actually funny and the only time it is ever amusing is when Ritter and William Bendix are in front of the camera and otherwise it falls flat. The contrived 'happy ending' merely emphasizes how predictable and formulaic the whole thing is. [Scopophilia]"
William Bendix was in many a better film, including numerous classics... including this masterpiece:
Alfred Hitchcock's Lifeboat (1944):
Man's Favorite Sport?
(1964, dir. Howard Hawks)
Filming for Man's Favorite Sport? began late in 1962, and Edy Williams' presence is even more negligible than in For Love or Money: here, she simply plays an uncredited girl in some scene somewhere.
Written with Cray Grant in mind, Hawks turned to Rock "I'm not gay" Hudson (17 Nov 1925 – 2 Oct 1985)* when Grant decided to do Charade (1963 / trailer) instead. Smart move on Grant's part.
* That's Rock above, on vacation in Pueto Vallarta, Mexico, with his then boyfriend Lee Garlington in 1963.
Man's Favorite Sport?:
The plot to Howard Hawks' late-career attempt to recapture the spirit of the screwball comedy, as found at TV Guide: "[...] Roger Willoughby (Rock Hudson of Pretty Maids All in a Row [1971 / trailer]) is the star fishing-supplies salesman of a large sporting goods store, but he knows nothing about fishing. Publicity agent Abigail Page (Paula Prentiss of I Am the Pretty Thing that Lives in the House ) convinces Hudson's boss, William Cadwalader (John McGiver of Arnold [1973 / trailer]), that Willoughby should enter a fishing contest. With a little luck and assistance from a bear, Willoughby wins. Acknowledging that his win is a fluke, he forfeits the prize and subsequently gets fired. In the end, Willoughby gets his job back and lands Abigail as well. Hawks delivers his usual heavy-handed direction, but the film's premise is too flimsy to spread over two hours. [...]"
Henry Mancini's title track to
Man's Favorite Sport?:
"Based on a magazine story called The Girl That Almost Got Away, written by Pat Frank with a screenplay by John Fenton Murray and Steve McNeil, along with uncredited assistance from Hawks favorite Leigh Brackett. Man's Favorite Sport? is an enjoyable, if unspectacular, comedy thanks mostly to the under-used, and sadly neglected, long-legged Texas beauty Paula Prentiss, who is a pure delight as the brash, outspoken Abigail, the kind of woman Hawks had been known for in most of his films. Abigail comes across as a direct decedent of Susan Vance, Katharine Hepburn's whimsical heiress in Bringing Up Baby (1938 / trailer). [24 Frames]"
Ann-Margret's version of the title track,
Man's Favorite Sport?:
The Brass Bottle
Bernard Green's main theme to
The Brass Bottle:
Harry Keller's (22 Feb 1913 – 19 Jan 1987) greatest claim to fame is probably that he was called in to do reshoots for Orson Welles' Touch of Evil (1958 / trailer). In The Brass Bottle, Edy Williams is one of the uncredited slave girls, the quartet of which can be seen directly below.
The lead female, Sylvia Kenton, is played by Barbara Eden: this film is considered the inspiration behind her later series, I Dream of Jeanie (1965-70 / theme). The movie is actually based on a novel from 1900 of the same name written by "F. Anstey" (otherwise known as Thomas Anstey Guthrie) — which had already been filmed twice in the silent era: in Great Britain in 1914 and the USA in 1923. Both those films are considered lost.
The Brass Bottle:
Plot: "In this goofy comedy, an architect (Tony Randall) discovers that a recently purchased antique bottle is the home of a jovial but vexing genie (Burl Ives) who is more than willing to destroy anyone who would oppose or annoy his new master. This creates problems for the architect as he is more interested in impressing his in-laws-to-be than having his wishes granted. [All Movie]"
An uncredited Peter Lupus, in his first feature-film appearance, and Reg Lewis [of Maciste contro I mostri (1962 / full film)] also show up to play slaves. We mention this as an excuse to show some naked Lupus, circa 1974, (above) and muscular Lewis, circa late '50s (below).
An obscure singer and dancer, Lulu Porter (a.k.a. Marianne Wolford), also appears in the movie as a belly dancer (you see her in the trailer, where she is even credited as an "Internationally Famous Dancing Sensation"). She sang a great song inspired by the film, which oddly enough doesn't seem to be used in the movie itself.
Lulu Porter sings
"The Brass Bottle is the definition of light sixties entertainment. It's fun, but not laugh-out-loud funny, sexy but not so tawdry that families can't appreciate it together. [...] The fact that The Brass Bottle so frequently feels like a classic sitcom is likely not a coincidence, with this particular brand of magical farce resonating throughout the culture of the time. [...] The film is a genuine delight and is the kind of movie that the term 'eye candy' was made for. Fans of a genie called Jeannie, mid-sixties kitsch, and retro culture won't want to miss this one. [Cereal at Midnight]"
The Naked Kiss
(1964, writ. & dir. Sam Fuller)
"We call it a naked kiss; the sign of a pervert!"
Kelly (Constance Towers)
The second of two infamous but successful B&W films Samuel Michael Fuller (12 Aug 1912 – 30 Oct 1997) made for Allied Artists, both of which, even today, still divide critics and public. Preceded by Shock Corridor (1963 / trailer), which was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 1996 for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant", The Naked Kiss is listed among "The 100 Most Amusingly Bad Movies Ever Made" list put together by the writers of The Official Razzie Movie Guide. A credited Edy Williams appears as Hatrack (photo and scene below).
Edy Williams as Hatrack:
The plot: "Prostitute Kelly (Constance Towers) is trying to turn herself around and start a new life in the small town of Grantville. Immediately, her profession is recognized by the crooked police chief Griff (Anthony Eisley) who threatens to run Kelly out of town. However, Kelly has other dreams and sets herself up at a local charity hospital where she catches the eye of the town benefactor J.L. Grant (Michael Dante). As Kelly finds herself caught up in a whirlwind romance, could her past come back to haunt her or is there a darker danger in Grantville that could threaten her life... [Basement Rejects]"
The Naked Kiss:
"The Naked Kiss finds Sam Fuller's tabloid sensibilities boiling to the surface, as it dwells on the uncomfortable and taboo subjects of deviancy, prostitution, and small-town sanctimony. In typical Fuller style, it's a hard look at a nightmarish world, lurid and absorbing enough to demand that the viewer watch. It's part melodrama, part sensationalism, and part surreal, but above all it's absolutely, positively 100% Sam Fuller, with all the nuance and subtlety of a swift kick in the butt. [Film Vault]"
"The plot is also something of a slow-burn, but its intricacies are many. There are a lot of stories with the 'small town isn't what it seems to be on the surface' story, but this is easily one of the best. [...] Fuller has great films in every era of his career [...] but The Naked Kiss might just be his best film, all things considered. It feels like a master fully in control of his craft. The film is both straightforward and abstract, blending reality and fantasy, hopes and dreams, desires and deceits [...]. [Silver Emulsion]
"The film's ensemble cast is amazing as it features some noteworthy performances from Patsy Kelly as the head nurse, Karen Conrad as the young nurse Dusty, and Marie Devereux as the young woman Buff who is struggling to find work. Virginia Grey ([22 Mar 1917 – 31 Jul 2004] of Target Earth [1954 / trailer], Black Zoo [1963 / trailer, with Michael Gough] and House of Horrors [1946 / trailer]) is superb as the devious Candy who tries to make money by exploiting woman while doing whatever she can to bring down Kelly. Michael Dante (of Thirty Dangerous Seconds [1973 / full film] and Beyond Evil [1980 / trailer]) is wonderful as the charming Grant who falls for Kelly and wants to give her a good life only to be revealed as someone who isn't what he seems to be. Anthony Eisley (of The Wasp Woman  and Dracula vs. Frankenstein ) is terrific as the no-nonsense Sheriff Griff who deals with Kelly's presence in town as he wonders if she's really being honorable as he's forced to face some truths about himself and the town. Finally, there's Constance Towers in a radiant performance as Kelly where she's a woman seeking to get a fresh start in life while dealing with her dark past. Towers also brings an intensity to her role where she would prove to be a very tough woman who doesn't take shit from anyone. It's truly Towers at her finest as she definitely creates a performance for the ages. [Surrender to the Void]"
It should be noted that while The Naked Kiss is Edy Williams' first credited film role, it is the last credited (or uncredited) film appearance of the former English nude model Marie Devereux (27 Nov 1940 – 30 Dec 2019), a beautiful brunette of Russ Meyer proportions. (That's her below from her modeling days.) She is fondly remembered less for her lengthy appearances in The Naked Kiss and Shock Corridor than for her appearances in some lesser Hammer movies: The Stranglers of Bombay (1959 / trailer), the flawed Brides of Dracula (1960 / trailer — with Kate O'Mara), and The Pirates of Blood River (1962 / trailer). She left the film biz for a fate worse than death: housewifedom and kids in Meridian, Ohio.
Other trivia of interest: Patsy Kelly (12 Jan 1910 – 24 Sep 1981), possibly to the detriment of her film career, was one of Hollywood's earliest open lesbians. She had fun with Wilma Cox (8 May 1911 – 2 Feb 1988) and Tallulah Bankhead (31 Jan 1902 – 12 Dec 1968)... one assumes, amongst others.
Opening scene of
The Naked Kiss:
A House Is Not a Home
Edy Williams is on the credits! As is Raquel Welch, in her first feature-film appearance, playing the same thing that Edy Williams plays: a house prostitute. Both are on the publicity image found below.
The movie, of course, is a loose and sanitized adaptation of the book A House Is Not a Home, the 1953 autobiography of Pearl "Polly" Adler (16 Apr 1900 – 9 Jun 1962) that sold roughly two million copies during its print run. The movie, like the book and even Polly Adler, is mostly forgotten today, the fame of all three eclipsed by the movie's eponymous theme song written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, which has long become a standard.
Brook Benton sings
A House Is Not A Home:
"A House is Not a Home, and in this case it isn't much of a movie either. Supposed to be frank and shocking this is mostly tired and trite, unless you are deeply shocked by someone shouting the word 'whore' on screen, or by the fact men pay for sex, there is nothing much in this that wouldn't be perfectly at home with the board of censors. [...] No attempt is made to use period costume or clothes, and the sets are few and far between. It might as well be 1964 in most scenes, and this television instead of a movie. [Mystery File]"
The plot: "As a young girl Polly Adler (Shelley Winters [18 Aug 1920 – 14 Jan 2006] of Cleopatra Jones ) is seduced and raped by the foreman of the sweatshop where she works. Her uncle, with whom she lives, refuses to believe that it wasn't her fault and throws her out of the house. She moves into an apartment owned by racketeer Frank Costigan (Frank Taylor [5 Aug 1911 – 8 Jun 1969] of The Night Walker [1964 / trailer]), who gets Adler started on her career when he pays her to bring some of her girl friends to a party for some of his gangster chums. She sees that the money is good and starts to work up her own clientele. As she gets more business, she moves to more fashionable locations. Her house becomes a meeting place for corrupt politicians, racketeers, and businessmen. Adler enters into a love affair with young songwriter Casey Booth (Ralph Taeger), whose career she helps boost. She keeps her career a secret and finally breaks up with him to keep him from being ruined by her reputation. [TV Guide]"
While it lasts —
the full film:
(1965, dir. Gordon Douglas)
Starlet Edy Williams has an uncredited walk-on part as the girl in the mail room — don't blink!
Former child actor Gordon Douglas (15 Dec 1907 – 29 Sep 1993) made many a better film than this one, including one of our favorite regularly rotated bad films from the Golden Age of local Creature Feature shows, Them! (1954 / trailer) and the classic Guilty Pleasure, Zombies on Broadway (1945).
Zombies on Broadway (1945):
1965 saw two Harlow biopics get released, first Alex Segal's Harlow (trailer), starring Carol Lynley (13 Feb 1942 – 3 Sep 2019) in the title role, and then this one with a slightly overage Carroll Baker playing the bleached-blonde icon. (In real life, screen "Mama" Angela Lansbury was only six years older than screen daughter Jean [Carroll Baker].) This Harlow flopped, though it did launch a hit song, the "last great male chauvinistic song written in the '60s"...
Julie London covering
The plot, as found at Wikipedia: "The film opens with Harlow (Baker) as a struggling extra and bit actress supporting a greedy stepfather Marino (Raf Vallone) and a loving but oblivious mother 'Mama Jean' (Angela Lansbury). With the help of agent Arthur Landau (Red Buttons), she secures a contract at the studio of the Howard Hughes-inspired Richard Manley (Leslie Nielsen). The reception to her first film is disappointing, and at Manley's studio her career is stalled. When Manley attempts to add her to his list of seduced starlets, Harlow fights him off and tells him what she thinks of him. This scene turns out to be a ruse devised by her agent so that the now-furious Manley terminates her contract. Landau successfully pitches Harlow to Majestic Studios, and her career blossoms. Despite studio encouragement to marry another contract star, Harlow marries the apparently gentle and cultured Paul Bern (Peter Lawford), who is revealed to be impotent. Soon after, Bern commits suicide. His death, combined with the stress of her career, leads Harlow on an odyssey of failed relationships and alcoholism, culminating in her death of kidney failure at the age of 26."
Opening sequence with credits:
Strangely enough, although a biopic, all Harlow's film projects in the movie are fictitious, as are many of the names of the people involved. As Combustible Celluloid points out, "Back in the old days, they used to make 'quickie biopics,' that thrived on both star power and on lurid details, not Oscar buzz. Facts were not in the least important. [...] The only thing this movie gets right are Jean's name and the name of her second husband, Paul Bern. Even there, the movie cheats a little. Jean claims that 'Jean Harlow' is her real name, which it was not, and the movie claims that Bern was Harlow's first husband; he was her second of three. [...] In the movie Harlow dies, unloved, of pneumonia, but her real-life affliction was quite a bit more horrible. [...] Either way, the lack of details in Harlow — and the reliance on old showbiz clichés — eventually brings down the movie."
The theme of the movie —
Bobby Vinton's Lonely Girl:
"In lieu of accuracy, director Gordon Douglas and screenwriter John Michael Hayes want to focus on Jean Harlow's quest for sex! It's a tired trope established in the various Monroe biopics: Actress couldn't find sexual satisfaction, which she equates to love, and thus her life is doomed from the start. The problem is, by the end of the story Jean is so sex-obsessed she openly propositions her stepfather! Keep in mind, prior to this she accused him of wanting to molest her [...]. [Ticklish Business]"
News of yesteryear about
the actress pictured directly above:
(1966, dir. Russell Rouse)
An uncredited Edy Williams walks by in a bikini. Fellow BVD Babe of Yesteryear Phyllis Davis also appears uncredited in this movie — which is why we looked at The Oscar before:
Plot: "A snotty Hollywood actor (Stephen Boyd [4 Jul 1931 – 2 Jun 1977]) becomes even more full of himself after he's nominated for Best Actor at the Academy Awards. [Mubi]"
For further reading, may we suggest chapter 19 of Michael Sauter's The Worst Movies of All Time (1995)?
Opening sequence of
The Oscar, like The White Buffalo (1977), is based on the novel by the "American screenwriter, pulp writer, and film director" Richard Sale (17 Dec 1911 – 4 Mar 1993).
The movie was brought to the screen by director Russell Rouse (20 Nov 1913 – 2 Oct 1987), the scriptwriter of that classic noir, D.O.A. (1949 / full film); co-scripter Harlan Ellison (27 May 1934 – 28 Jun 2018) helped write the screenplay. So, whose fault is it that The Oscar is such a turkey?
Deep within Poseidon's Underworld, it is said: "The type of movie (think Showgirls [1995 / trailer] or Battlefield Earth [2000 / trailer]) that was a camp classic practically upon release and which becomes more and more so with each year that separates it from the time in which it first appeared, it is manna from heaven to those who enjoy that period in the mid-60s when studio films still clung to that clean, sharp, sleek visual style while the subject matter was beginning to turn more sordid than in previous decades. Then, of course, there is the female hair of that period, when it was de rigueur to tease it as high and full as possible and, often, to augment it with skyscraping appendages, anything to achieve that Nouveau-Grecian look."
Stephen Boyd (above), however, was as manly looking as ever. Yum, yum, yum... Speaking of eating, one of his later appearances is as Count Dracula in the wonderfully terrible German movie, Lady Dracula (1977), featuring Evelyn Kraft ([22 Sept 1951 – 13 Jan 2009] of The Mighty Peking Man ) and hunkadelic Brad Harris ([16 Jul 1933 – 7 Nov 2017] of The Mutations ).
Paradise, Hawaiian Style
(1966, dir. Michael D. Moore)
"Last one out of the water is a papaya picker!"
Rick Richards (Elvis Presley)
Edy Williams appears somewhere, uncredited, as a dancer. That's her to the right in the publicity photo below.
The directorial debut of former child actor turned perennial second-unit director Michael D. Moore (14 Oct 1914 – 4 Mar 2013), Paradise, Hawaiian Style was both the last Hawaii-set Presley film and one of three Presley films released in 1966, the other two being Frankie & Johnnie (trailer) and Spinout (trailer / see Phyllis Davis). Paradise, Hawaiian Style didn't make a lot of money (it cost $2,000,000 to make and took in only $2,500,000 in the US) and its formulaic narrative was pretty much met by a critical yawn, but the combined power of all three movies made the King one of the biggest box office draws that year.
Paradise, Hawaiian Style:
Moore's very limited list of solo directorial projects includes better movies, like the forgotten western An Eye for an Eye (1966 / full film), the cheesily fun Kill A Dragon (1967 / trailer), and the psychotronically terrible Blaxploitation disaster that is Mr Deathman (1977 / full film below), the VHS cover of which promises more than the film delivers. (Pam Grier, anyone?)
But to return to Paradise, Hawaiian Style. The plot? Well: "Having been sacked as a pilot from the major airlines for his women-chasing antics, Rick Richards (Elvis Presley) returns to Hawaii and hooks up with his old friend Danny Kohana (James Shigeta [17 Jun 1929 – 28 Jul 2014]), a helicopter pilot who charters flights across the islands. Having talked Danny into allowing him to join the business, Rick sets about flying around each of the resorts hooking up with old girlfriends whilst trying to drum up business. But after nearly crashing a helicopter whilst transporting dogs and then becoming stranded on a beach with Danny's daughter Jan (Donna Butterworth) it seems that Rick's career as a charter pilot will be short lived." Suzanna Leigh [26 Jul 1974 – 11 Dec 2017]). Suzanne Leigh made more-interesting films, like The Deadly Bees (1966 / trailer), Deadlier than Male (1967 / trailer), Jimmy Sangster's Lust for a Vampire (1971 / trailer), and the ridiculous WTF known as Son of Dracula (1973 / full film), while James Shigeta can be found in the cheesy but fun Space Marines (1996).
"With a minimal plot and second-rate songs, director Michael D Moore's 1965 musical is one of the King's all-time worst efforts. The lust for life of his earlier features is simply no longer there, and this dull and inconsequential trifle is best avoided except by die-hard Presley fans. [Derek Winnert]"
Bare-booby trivia: seen in the movie but uncredited and never naked, Playboy's first centerfold of Asian descent China Lee (Aug 1964 issue). That's her below; her real name is Margaret, but according to Playboy her "name" should be pronounced "Chee-na" (like Tina). Lee Also uncredited and never naked in the movie is Ann Morrell, who shows boobage and dies in the great disasterpiece, Dracula vs Frankenstein (1971).
Oh, yes — lest we forget: the music. "The soundtrack LP only ran 22 minutes in total and [...] no soundtrack song was considered worthy of being a single [...]. Elvis' faithful fans still bought this (dog of an) album getting the Paradise, Hawaiian Style soundtrack LP to #15. [...] At the time Elvis said that he was ill and did not turn up for the planned soundtrack sessions. [...] Since Elvis doesn't make the recording session, time is saved by getting Elvis to record vocal overdubs later. This means that there can be no band interaction nor any interesting musical development on the outtakes since Elvis just sang over prerecorded backing tapes. [Elvis Information Network]"
Queenis Wahine's Papaya:
The Last of the Secret Agents?
(1966, dir. Norman Abbott)
Edy Williams appears in this comedy playing "Edy". Phyllis Davis also appears in the movie somewhere as uncredited background filler, credited at the imdb as "Beautiful Girl", which is why looked at it a few months ago. You see both Edy and Phyllis in the "Gad-Zooks" panel of the lobby card below. You also see them both, if but for a few seconds each, in the trailer below. (Of the two, Edy has more trailer time, as she is seen twice, but Phyllis shows more skin.)
The Last of the Secret Agents?:
Back when we looked at it because of Phyllis, we more or less wrote: The Last of the Secret Agents?, the only feature film ever directed by TV comedy "specialist" Norman Abbott (11 Jul 1922 – 9 Jul 2016), was meant to bang-start the film career of its two lead actors, Marty Allen (23 Mar 1922 – 12 Feb 2018) and Steve Rossi ([25 May 1932 – 22 Jun 2014] of The Man from O.R.G.Y. [1970 / full film at a NSFW website]).
And who were Allen & Rossi? Well: "Allen & Rossi were a popular comedy team in their nightclub and television appearances, notably on The Ed Sullivan Show. Paramount Pictures had highly successful comedy teams of Bob Hope and Bing Crosby in the 1940s and Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis in the 1950s and no doubt wished to recreate their success with the duo's screen debut in the film. (This proved not to be the case, and no sequels were produced for the film, although the duo did appear in the 1974 film Allen and Rossi Meet Dracula and Frankenstein.*) [Wikipedia @ 20.07.23]"
* The vagaries of internet "facts": while the movie was discussed as a project, Allen and Rossi Meet Dracula and Frankenstein was never made, never released — and never existed.
The trailer looks stupid enough to make the film seem watchable, as does the presence of a then small-fry daughter of a famous singer, Nancy Sinatra. She had not yet had her career-making classic hit song, These Boots Are Made for Walking — it hit the airwaves while the film was in post-production. Lee Hazlewood (9 Jul 1929 – 4 Aug 2007) wrote a not-too-shabby James Bond-like song for The Last of the Secret Agents?, which ended up being reused in 1997 for the Bill Murray vehicle, The Man Who Knew Too Little (trailer).
The Man Who Knew Too Little:
"The plot involves Marty Allen and Steve Rossi as two American ex-pats looking for work in Europe. They soon discover that they've been unwillingly used as couriers for art thieves who are part of an evil organization known as THEM. They get recruited by the GGI (Good Guys Inc.) and help concoct a plan to put an end to the criminal activities of THEM. Naturally lots of chase scenes and fights take place in the process. Like any good spy film there are plenty of beautiful women that help and hinder the two stars. Last of the Secret Agents? also contains a musical number performed by Steve Rossi and it ends with an appearance of Allen & Rossi on The Ed Sullivan Show. [Cinebeats]"
The NY Times doesn't notice Nancy in their review, which claims "The film's only bright note is the burlesque performance by Theo Marcuse as the head of the gang. He owns the arms of the Venus de Milo and, in a climactic caper, aims to obtain the rest of her. Neither the script, the director nor Mr. Allen and Mr. Rossi display the kind of mad comic invention, which can sometimes run smoothly. Not even the kids will get a ride out of this one. [NY Times]"
"The movie is stolen by Harvey Korman, who, in one scene, displays the focus and timing that the rest of the movie lacks. Outside of his scene, the best moments involve a film being shown to the two new agents showing their probable fate if they don't join the agency (good use of stock footage here), and a scene in a topless dance club where, through the magic of careful camera placement, you manage to avoid seeing anything. [Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings]"
The poster above to the German release of the movie is by the great German poster by Lutz Peltzer (1925-2003), who made well over 800 film posters during his life.
Steve McQueen (24 Mar 1930 – 7 Nov 1980), above not from the film, the star of The Blob (1958), 36 years old in real life in 1966, plays a character that should, technically speaking, be about 16 years old. (Gene Evens, the guy [briefly] playing his father in the film, was only eight years older than Steve.) McQueen's character is also supposed to be half-Indian — his obviously much-too-young-to-be-his-mother Native American mommy is played by an uncredited Isabel Boniface (below from the film). Well, at least he didn't do brown face.
Speaking of brown, that's a brown-haired Loni Anderson in an uncredited one-line part as a dance hall girl, which is one line more than Edy Williams had, who appears uncredited somewhere in the background of some saloon scene and says nothing.
Nevada Smith is a prequel to the 1964 movie The Carpetbaggers (trailer below), which was based on the Harold Robbins novel of the same name; other than two characters from the original film, Nevada Smith (Alan Ladd in 1964, Steve McQueen in 1966) and Jonas Cord (George Peppard in 1964, Brian Keith in 1966), the films had little to do with each other.
Nevada and Jonas surfaced again in 1975, now played by Cliff Potts and Lorne Greene, respectively, in a TV movie likewise entitled Nevada Smith. One of the last directorial projects of Gordon Douglas (15 Dec 1907 – 29 Sept 1993), it was meant to kick off a TV series that never kicked off.
The plot to Nevada Smith, from the AFI Catalog: "Max Sand (McQueen) is a young halfbreed living in the mountain and desert West of the 1890s. One day three gunslingers torture and kill his parents. Swearing an oath of vengeance, Max makes a funeral pyre out of the family shack and sets out to track down the killers. He is befriended by Jonas Cord (Brian Keith), a traveling gunsmith and ammunition maker, who tries to dissuade him from his mission but, failing that, teaches him how to defend himself with a gun. Searching town after town, Max eventually finds one of his parents' murderers, Jesse Coe (Martin Landau), and kills him in a brutal knife fight. After his own wounds have been cared for by Neesa (Janet Margolin), a Kiowa girl, Max heads for Louisiana, where a second killer is serving a prison sentence. Max stages a fake holdup, is thrown into jail, feigns friendship with the man, Bill Bowdre (Arthur Kennedy [17 Feb 1914 – 5 Jan 1990] of Let Sleeping Corpses Lie a.k.a. The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue [1974 / trailer], The Antichrist [1974 / trailer], Umberto Lenzi's The Tough Ones [1976 / trailer] & more), and joins him in an escape. Aided by an amorous Cajun girl (Suzanne Pleshette), the two men make their way through the swamps. As they reach freedom, Max reveals his true identity and guns down Bowdre; the girl also dies from a snakebite. Five years have passed since Max began his vendetta, and he has changed from a naive cowhand into a hardened criminal. Finally, Max finds the last man, Tom Fitch (Karl Malden [22 Mar 192 – 1 Jul 2009] of Phantom of the Rue Morgue [1954 / trailer] and Ken Russell's Billion Dollar Brain [1967 / trailer]. In the showdown, Max shoots his opponent in both legs but is unable to kill him. He throws away his guns and rides off to ask Jonas Cord for a job; calling himself Nevada Smith, he hopes to make a new life for himself."
The Pad (and How to Use It)
(1966, dir. Brian G. Hutton)
We already took a quick look at this movie back in 2012, in R.I.P. James Farentino, where scribbled:
"[...] James Farentino is one of the three headlining [then] unknowns in this (for the most part) comedy based on the one-act play of the same name by Peter Shaffer (15 May 1926 – 6 June 2016). A young and totally hot Edy Williams also has a small part [as "Latavia"] in this film, the second of director Brian G. Hutton, who went on to do a variety of way more interesting films, including the classics Where Eagles Dare (1968 / trailer) and Kelly's Heroes (1970 / trailer), and the less well known X, Y and Zee (1972 / trailer).
Farentino is Ted, the Casanova of two guys who share a walk-up. His roommate, Bob (Brian Bedford), a lonely and socially inept classical music fan who meets the girl of his dreams, Doreen (Julie Sommars) at a classical concert. The two have less in common than he would like to believe, and Ted woos her away because, basically, he can."
Farentino & Edy Williams at the Whiskey in
The Pad (and How to Use It):
To the above, we might add the following trivia: "Peter Shaffer's one-act play The Private Ear, on which The Pad is based, opened onstage with The Public Eye, another one-act play by Shaffer, which was served as the basis for the 1972 film The Public Eye / Follow Me (trailer). [AFI]"
The title track to The Pad (and How to Use It) was supplied by The Knickerbockers, a forgotten "'60s garage rock group from Bergenfield, New Jersey, that formed in 1962. The original line-up was: vocalist/sax player Bobby Randell, drummer Jimmy Walker, guitarist/vocalist Beau Charles and bassist/vocalist John Charles [...]. They scored their only smash hit with the punchy and exciting Lies, which peaked at #20 on the Billboard pop charts in early 1966. [...] They popped up as themselves in the silly teen spy spoof beach comedy romp Out of Sight (1966 / trailer). [...] Unfortunately, the band suffered from inept handling by their label and underwent several personnel changes before breaking up in 1970. [imdb]"
The Pad (and How to Use It):
Derek Winnert, btw, says: "The performances [in The Pad (and How to Use It)] are game but the farcical tone is quite wrong for a study of loneliness, and the LA setting and additional scenes to drag it out from a short playlet to movie length are drawbacks."
(1967, dir. William Friedkin)
We watched Good Times way back in 2008, and we were not impressed: "This is a stinker from the past, but starring Sonny and Cher, what else could be expected? The first film of William Friedkin, Good Times makes it hard to believe that he went on to direct The Boys from the Band (1970 / trailer) or The Exorcist (1973 / trailer). The film features one of George Sanders' last performances, and though he manages to shine as an actor in this piece of celluloid dubiousity, the film must be an embarrassment to everyone who took part in it.
Sonny & Cher sing in
Although some people nowadays seem to think that Good Times manages to cross over into the realm of 'Guilt Pleasures', I for one find this untrue. Good Times is little more than a feature-length presentation of everything horrible that Sonny & Cher were in their later television variety show and lacks any and all of the self-referential insight that might have raised the film to a higher level. Thus, even the occasional creative idea or rare visual surprise gets suffocated by the pervading middleclass attitude. All in all, Good Times remains agonizingly embarrassing from beginning to end. (Rather unlike another pop music film of that time, the Monkees' fab film Head (1968 / trailer below), which is less a 'Guilty Pleasure' than an actual pop masterpiece.)
Sonny and Cher play themselves as two successful middleclass hippie musicians who spend their time happily shopping, singing and dancing when they aren't busy looking deeply into each other's eyes or exchanging unfunny bon mots. The young Cher, pre-plastic surgery and without tattoos, does wear some absolutely fantastic outfits, but Sonny looks likes a chubby fool no matter what he wears. The negligible plot involves the sleazily well-played bigwig producer Mr. Mordicus (Sanders) talking Sonny into signing on to make a film, a would-be turkey about hillbilly singers in love with their shack. After a few daydreams revolving around Sonny's own ideas on what the film could instead be about, Sonny slowly but surely realizes that he's too inept to make a film and, despite Mr. Mordicus's threats to destroy the singing duo with lawsuits, Sonny bows out. Upon which, of course, Mr. Mordicus, a man who forecloses loans on kingdoms and likes to watch people get the shit beaten out of them, decides to do nothing and Sonny and Cher go dancing off into the sunset to live happily ever after. Gag me.
Sonny & Cher sing in
It's a shame that Sonny hadn't also realized in real life that he shouldn't make a film.
Sonny's daydreams — featuring take-offs of High Noon (1952 / trailer), Tarzan films* and detective films — are used as starting points for the two singers to break into a variety of really bad songs, as are the various scenes of the two singers day-to-day life. In fact, everything is used as an excuse for them to start singing. It is this lack of any real story and the haphazard manner in which everything is pasted together that continually makes one feel [as if] one is watching a rerun of their variety show from the 1970s instead of a real film. Though the sets, often rather good examples of 1960s Pop, might be a bit better than those of the television show, the jokes are staler and the acting just bad.
* But not this one: Joe D'Amato's Tarzan X (1995 / x-rated scene), starring Rocco Siffredi's tool as Tarzan and his tool and his wife, Rosa Caracciolo as the tool-loving Jane.
Good Times is a film best left forgotten. It does feature a three-second appearance of Russ Meyer's ex-wife Edy Williams [as Mordicus's sexpot], but, regrettably, she keeps her clothing on."
While it lasts —
the whole film:
The Money Jungle
(1967, dir. Francis D. Lyon)
Not a comedy, supposedly, and unbelievably enough made as a feature film (it feels very much like bad TV) — not the only directorial project from Francis D. Lyon about which that can be said.
While it lasts —
the full movie:
The plot, from the AFI Catalog: "Five major U. S. oil companies have joined forces to bid on offshore fields offered for lease by the state of California. Five days before the date for submitting bids, four of the companies' head geologists meet 'accidental' deaths. Harvey Sheppard (Charles Drake), president of Far West Oil, calls in troubleshooter Blake Heller (John Ericson [25 Sept 1926 – 3 May 2020], Playgirl centerfold for January 1974 [below], of The House of the Dead [1978 / trailer] and Hustler Squad [1975/ trailer]) to investigate.
"Heller destroys a bomb planted at his beach house, and he meets and becomes romantically involved with his new neighbor, young widow Treva Saint (Leslie Parrish, below, from L'il Abner [1959 / trailer]).
"With the help of police lieutenant Dow Reeves (Nehemiah Persoff of Psychic Killer [1975 / trailer]) and stock market expert Harry Darkwater (Don Rickles), Heller learns that stocks from two of the oil companies have recently changed hands: one of the owners is Treva; the other is Peggy Lido (Lola Albright of The Monolith Monsters [1957 / trailer]), a nightclub singer. Despite attempts on his life and the murder of a geologist from the fifth oil company, Heller continues his assignment and eventually discovers that the person behind the killings is Peggy Lido, revealed to be the ex-wife of the oil company president who sold Treva her stock. Peggy, with the help of her fiancé, Paul Kimmel (Kent Smith of Cat People [1942 / trailer] and The Curse of the Cat People [1944 / trailer]), is determined to prevent both her ex-husband and Treva, the woman Peggy thinks he loves, from enjoying their new-found wealth. Realizing what has occurred, Heller races to Treva's home in time to save her from being killed by Peggy."
Lola Albright was a pretty good singer and does a few numbers in the movie, including a cover version of Help a Good Girl Go Bad. We couldn't find her version online, but here's an earlier version from the great Ruth Brown.
Ruth Brown sings
Help a Good Girl Go Bad:
Edy Williams shows up in a small speaking part as Sabra McKinley. As previously inferred — and as you can see for yourself if you watch the movie embedded further above — The Money Jungle is not a particularly good film. Director Francis D. Lyon (2 Jul 1905 – 8 Oct 1996) made better, funnier bad films — for example: Destination Inner Space (1966 / full film), Castle of Evil (1966 / trailer) and that bad-film fave Cult of the Cobra (1955 / trailer)
Coming next month:
Edy Williams, Part II (1968-82)