Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Short Film: Expose of the Nudist Racket (USA, 1938)

"Up until it was removed from the Internet Archives, and thus no longer embedded in our blog, Nightmare at Elm Manor (now accepted as a 1961 release), our Short Film of the Month for April 2014, a wonderfully kitsch, dreamy horror short, was undoubtedly the most breast-heavy short film found on a wasted life. (And what breasts they were, too: those of the all-around beautiful June Palmer [1 Aug 1940 – 6 Jan 2004] at the age of 21.) B&W and vintage and oddly atmospheric, the short film is surprisingly innocent and fun for revealing so much cheesecake. But then, age often takes the "sordid" out of once "seedy" films — see, for example, our innocent Short Film of the Month for June 2012, Unexpected Experience of Two Girl Hitch-Hikers (USA, 1940s, director unknown).
This month's Short Film of the Month, likewise vintage and definitely more ridiculous and odd than sleazy, gives Nightmare at Elm Manor a run for the money when it comes to breastage, despite being over two decades older than the June Palmer nudie-cutie short. Expose of the Nudist Racket is an early sexploitation "documentary" from the road show circuit, and as such an early forerunner of everything from the shockumenatries of the 60s & 70s (see R.I.P.: Gualtiero Jacopetti) to the white-coaters that paved the way for hardcore porn, not to mention the generally more demure (as in: no frontal nudity and men in shorts) feature-length nudist colony films that preceded the days of the feature length nudie-cuties of Russ Meyers and others. (See any given R.I.P. entries to the left on H.G. Lewis, Harry Novak and Harry Reems, as well as the entries on Babe of Yesteryear Gigi Darlene [Part I, II, III ,IV and V].)
While nudism (or naturism) was around earlier in this or that form, modern nudism (or naturism), as an organized movement, "officially" began around 1929 when the German immigrant Kurt Barthel, "the father of the modern United States nudist movement", first founded the American League for Physical Culture (today the American Association for Nude Recreation) and then, in 1932, the first nudist camp of the United States, Sky Farm,* in New Jersey.** The uphill battle of the dedicated made for good press, and nudist documentaries of the less than sincere sort were soon to follow — for example: This Naked Age (1932), Why Nudism (1933), Elysia (Valley of the Nude) (1933 / full film), or the absolutely ridiculous Nude Ranch (1940 / full film).
* Not that it is relevant, but long ago a cousin of ours was co-owner of Berkshire Vista, back when it was still Birch Acres. Beautiful nature, there. 
** Go here for a history of nudism/naturism.
Young Spartans Exercising 
by Edgar Degas (c. 1860)
Needless to say, most if not all such films were of sexploitation nature and made less to help the cause than to show naked people bounce around, and they were very much a staple of the road show circuit. Like this one, Expose of the Nudist Racket (incorrectly billed on the marquee in the picture below originally found at Reprobate Press as Nudist Racket Exposed), a ten-minute short lacking all directorial and writing credits produced and distributed by Hollywood Producers and Distributors. But it you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out who made the film: Hollywood Producers and Distributors was one of the firms founded by the great Dwain Esper (7 Oct 1894 – 18 Oct 1982) and his wife [Mollie] Hildagarde [Stadie] Esper (14 Jul 1895 – 21 Jul 1993), and Expose of the Nudist Racket also displays some obvious stylistic similarities to their exploitation product, most notably the dryly witty "square-up" (admonitory justification) that opens the film and the general tone of the voiceover. Thus, we are not going too far out on the limb to claim the unproven: Hildagarde probably wrote the film, but Dwain, a man (according to David F. Friedman) who had "balls of a life-size bronze stallion", surely directed it.
The Espers have been looked at before here at a wasted life. Their anti-masterpiece Maniac (1934) is a favorite of ours and even made it, after our first viewing, to our Ten Best in 2013 list. (2013 was a good year, film-viewing wise.) Likewise, some three years later, their 1937 short How to Undress in Front of Your Husband was presented as our Short Film of the Month for March 2016. When we stumbled on this short here, Expose of the Nudist Racket, "a vintage documentary look at the nudist lifestyle that is both enthusiastic and salacious [Reprobate Press]", we knew we had to make this fun, historic little piece of cinema trash a Short Film of the Month as well.
Unlike How to Undress, in which the names of those in front of the camera are known, the people seen in Expose of the Nudist Racket are to date (and will probably remain) unknown. What is notable, however, aside from the rare (even for today) flashes of full frontal nudity of both sexes,* is that but for one woman, the females showing their assets are substantially more attractive than those found in most "documentaries" featuring "real" nudists. (It should be noted that the men are surprisingly lithe and fit as well, with hardly a beer belly or saggy ass in sight.) This naturally gives speculation that the "nudists/ naturists" involved were less likely fans of the cause than wanna-be models or thespians, none of whom (as perhaps is to be expected) seem to have ever "made it". The singular exception to generally held contemporary standards of female beauty found in Expose of the Nudist Racket is, of course, the weight-challenged woman,** who is included specifically as the object of derision and laughter. We would tend to agree with Reprobate Press when they say, "[T]his once outrageous reel of film now seems rather charming and innocent — audiences now are more likely to be offended by the narrator's mockery of [the] overweight woman."
* Nudity, like all exploitation film staples, was no longer found in mainstream film at the time, as the Hayes Code had already been in effect since 1934.
** Was the PI wording good enough for you?
In any event, please enjoy our Short Film of the Month for August 2022...
Expose of the Nudist Racket (1938):

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

The Bat (USA, 1959)

(Meandering verbosity & spoilers ahead.) Arguably, Roland West's 1926 silent version of The Bat (full film — with the wrong music) is the [surviving] granddaddy of the old, dark house genre. Based on the eponymous play by Mary Roberts Rinehart* (12 Aug 1876 – 22 Sept 1958) and Avery Hopwood (28 May 1882 – 1 Jul 1928), the tale itself originated in Rinehart's 1908 novel The Circular Staircase but was retooled and substantially changed for the stage, where it was re-titled The Bat. The novel The Circular Staircase was itself made into a movie in 1915, the first feature-film adaptation of any Rinehart novel. Directed by Edward LeSaint (13 Dec 1870 – 10 Sep 1940) — LeSaint plays the judge (uncredited) in Reefer Madness (1936 / trailer / full colorized film) — The Circular Staircase is now considered a lost film. As it beat The Bat to the screens by 11 years, it is perhaps the true (gone and forgotten) granddaddy of the genre.**
* A highly successful novelist in her day, she and her books are mostly ancient history today. See our typically verbose review of her novel The After House at our zombie blogspot Mostly Crappy Books for more about her and her lateral pop-cultural influence. 
** For that, the best surviving early old, dark house movie out there that we know of is Paul Leni's silent version of The Cat and the Canary (1927 / full movie), a film fave of ours. Definitely worth a watch. Leni's early and unexpected death due to blood poisoning truly robbed film of a talented visualist and director.
Trailer to
The Bat:
At one point, prior to being lost, The Circular Staircase was re-released briefly as The Bat, which is why it is often claimed that the play The Bat has been adapted for the cinema four times. The character of the Bat, however, appears only in the official adaptations of the stage play and nowhere in The Circular Staircase. And so, though often touted as the fourth adaptation, Crane Wilbur's 1959 version, The Bat, is truly only the third (and to date last*) cinema adaptation, following the previously mentioned silent version and Roland West's own remake of his first film, The Bat Whispers (1930).
OK, there were a few TV versions, the most "interesting" (in the British English sense of the word) of which is probably the German adaptation from 1978 titled Der Spinnenmörder ("The Spider Killer"), a (very dry) and static movie. Available on DVD (trailer), should you want to bore yourself.
Interestingly enough, or perhaps to be expected in a business as incestuous as film, the director of 1959's The Bat, Crane Wilbur* (17 Nov 1886 – 18 Oct 1973), is "linked" career-wise with Roland West (20 Feb 1885 – 31 Mar 1952), the director of the two first versions. Wilbur wrote the original stage play The Monster, which West converted into a movie in 1925 (full film) starring Lon Chaney. The Monster, with its comic elements, can be viewed as a proto old, dark house movie, but it is actually set in an old, dark sanatorium; it is perhaps more noteworthy as one of the first horror movies to ever feature that old standby, the mad doctor/scientist (if not, also, a very early version of what could be called a non-eating zombie of sorts). 
* Wilbur, a successful actor turned successful playwright and director, was basically an all-around success in Hollywood. One of his earliest directorial projects of note is undoubtedly the once scandalous eugenics-critical message film Tomorrow's Children (1934 / full film); his last film, for which he was not given directorial credit, was the WIP film House of Women (1962 / trailer). Among his scriptwriting credits, aside from diverse WIP films like Women's Prison (1955 / trailer) and crime films like He Walked by Night (1948 / trailer / full film), are the Vincent Price vehicles House of Wax (1953 / trailer) & The Mad Magician (1954 / trailer), and the Turhan Bey vehicle, The Amazing Mr. X (1948 / trailer / full film). 
But to get to Wilbur Crane's The Bat, a film that has long entered the public domain and can easily be found on an untold number of DVD releases if not all over the web. The movie is commonly seen as a Vincent Price vehicle, especially since he gets lead billing, but in all truth his [important] role is a secondary one: the film is actually very much a starring vehicle for the great Agnes Moorehead (6 Dec 1900 – 30 Apr 1974). (She only ever received top billing in one film, her last one, the under-appreciated and cheesy grindhouse "horror hag" Southern Gothic Dear Dead Delilah [1972 / trailer & poster below].) Price plays the murderous Dr. Malcolm Wells, one of the movie's red herrings, while Moorehead plays the successful crime novelist Cornelia Van Gorder, who has rented the old dark house that is the site of The Bat's dastardly shenanigans. And is the film any good? Well, to use a German word, "jein" — which basically translates into "yes/no". 
Trailer to
 Dear Dead Delilah:
The Bat does start off swinging, to say the least, if only in its music. The opening music, by Alvino Rey (1 Jul 1908 – 24 Feb 2004) is some pretty cool music, heavy on guitar, and promptly calls to mind the great, off-the-wall stereophonic compositions that often graced the German krimis of the 60s & 70s, and the Rialto Edgar Wallace films in particular, a series of 39 films that was born in 1959 with The Fellowship of the Frog (trailer). (Aside from our review of The Fellowship of the Frog [1959], see those of The Red Circle [1960], The Forger of London [1961], The Dead Eyes of London [1961], The Devil's Daffodil [1961], The Inn on the River [1962], The Black Abbot [1963], The Indian Scarf [1963], The College Girl Murders [1967] and The Hand of Power [1968].) Indeed, The Bat almost comes across as a semi-template for the wacked-out krimis of Germany, the clawed hand with which the Bat kills his victims itself calling to mind the fun Rialto krimi Die Blaue Hand a.k.a. Creature with the Blue Hand (1967 / German trailer).*
* The occasional shadow of the fedora-wearing, claw-handed killer also makes one think of Freddy Kruger — not that the film ever comes close to being as bloody or suspenseful as the last franchise's films are, or ever delivers as much thrill and scare-factor as the better Freddy films. 
Alvino Ray's title track to
The Bat:
Speaking of the German krimis, one thing many of them have in common that The Bat sorely lacks is excellent B&W cinematography, deep in contrast and shadow, very much steeped in the style of German Expressionist silent film, in turn a cinematographic style that heavily influenced the horror movie in general. The Bat is brightly lit, if not overexposed, with even the scenes involving shadows too blandly bright, which substantially eradicates any sense of "horror" that this "horror thriller" might have had. Indeed, although considered a horror film, The Bat is pretty much anything but that: the chills are none existent, the overall effect being more of a creaky but enjoyable who-done-it/who-is-it mystery film, the mystery of which is somewhat diluted by a script that has the Bat commit a murder at a time that basically flat out indicates that the movie's biggest red herring, Dr. Wells (Price), definitely is not the killer — thus reducing the number of possible male suspects down to two, despite Dr. Ward's inexplicable but highlighted obsession with bats.
In that sense, Wilbur's script of the movie is about as slapdash as his direction. In his desire to shoehorn Dr. Wells into the movie, for example, Wilbur resorts to an absolutely ridiculous plot device in which the larcenous bank manager John Fleming (Harvey Stephens [21 Aug 1901 – 22 Dec 1986] of Diary of a Madman [1963 / trailer], The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing [1955, w/Farley Granger] and Cell 2455, Death Row [1955, w/William Campbell]) tells Dr. Ward about what he has done and then attempts to force Ward at gun point and with the threat of death to become an accomplice — his less-than-ingenious plan, however, is undone by a fortuitous forest fire and Dr. Ward's sudden criminal proclivities. (If the embezzled amount of one million dollars seems too low to make a man of the Hippocratic Oath suddenly turn murderous — we all know how honest and morally pure those in the medical profession are — keep in mind that that would be the equivalent of almost ten million dollars today.) And while most old, dark house stories usually transpire quickly within one, dark night, in The Bat the tale stretches over days if not months at the cost of substantial suspense and speed — all that dialogue that is needed to keep viewers up to date is rather deadening.
For those and other flaws of the script, what Wilbur did right was how he made the main female character of the movie, Cornelia Van Gorder (Moorehead) into a proto Jessica Fletcher (as in the character Angela Lansbury played forever in the TV series Murder, She Wrote — a series perhaps slightly inspired by this movie). Van Gorder never lets fear sway her as she uses the events that transpire as the basis of a new novel even as she herself tries to solve the mystery of the Bat and what it is he wants in her rented house. True, she also hardly bats an eye when an important witness for the upcoming court case, the young bank secretary Judy (Darla Hood*), is killed by the Bat, but she is enjoyable as a self-reliant, resourceful and intelligent female character (a rarity in movies even today). Here, Moorehead delivers a typically enjoyable performance, her arch but dry delivery of even the most humorous dialogue working well as a counterpoint to the almost stereotypical comic-character delivery of Lenita Lane**, who plays her trusty and true assistant Lizzie. 
* Darla Hood (8 Nov 1931 – 13 Jun 1979), left in the still above, might be familiar to many from her early days as a wee child, when she played the regular and beloved character named Darla in original Little Rascals / Our Gang series. (Darla, the singing 5-year-old.) The Bat is her last appearance on the silver screen before she entered her phase as a successful singer, initially with a few albums and then on TV and as a jingle singer. 
** The Bat is likewise the last film appearance of character actress Lenita Lane (16 Dec 1901 – 15 Mar 1995), the wife of Wilbur Crane, who is found in the background of movies such as Murder by the Clock (1931 / full film), Girls on Probation (1938 / full film) and I Was a Communist for the F.B.I. (1951 / trailer). 
Darla Hood singing
No Secret Now:
It must be said, however, that the dialogue of the dialogue-heavy movie in itself is as uneven as it is excessive; while the wry wittisms and irony are served up well by both Price and Moorehead, there are way too many scenes in which all people do is talk, which is not all that helpful in an already visually static movie like this one. But then, when a screenplay has as much disparate stuff tossed into it as Crane tosses into his, it is probably hard not to resort to excess expository.
A nice touch to the nighttime scenes, and particularly to the illogical one that sees the Bat breaking into the house and literally knocking a hole in the wall with a hammer while four different women are staying the night there, is all the wandering about the house in flowing nightgowns. True, the typically stupid "let's separate" bit, which results in Judy's demise, is too ridiculous to accept without a groan, but the image of most of the gals — and in particular the visually pleasant Dale (Elaine Edwards* [4 Feb 1928 – 26 Apr 2004]) — wandering the night in those long, flowing nightgowns is oddly reminiscent of all the wonderful Italo Gothic horrors that were still to come in the 60s. Too bad that in The Bat even the nighttime nightgown scenes are all so terribly over-lit and flatly filmed. 
* Elaine Edwards, quiet attractive in The Bat, never had much of a film career. Those raised on Creature Feature shows might remember her in the fun non-classic Curse of the Faceless Man (1958 / trailer), while fans of early grindhouse softcore sleaze will perhaps remember her face (and her boobs, which remain unseen in The Bat) from the possibly lost William L. Rose movie Pamela, Pamela, You Are... (1968) and The Curious Female (1970 / opening titles).
All in all, The Bat cannot be called a good movie; more so, it could be said that there is a semi-good movie struggling to get out, but it ultimately fails to do so because of the script and direction. (Put the blame on Crane, so to speak.) For that, however, The Bat is a mildly enjoyable movie which, if you are catching it for the very first time, will ignite a slightly "comfort-film" response: it is very much similar to any number of 50s "horror" movies that many of us US Americans caught on TV after school in our youth, a warmer, safer time when we were not faced with all the trials and tribulations and troubles of adulthood. Thus, much like comfort food picks you up when you are feeling down, The Bat makes for a warm 1.5 hours. As such, it becomes relatively easy to consciously overlook the movie's [obvious] flaws and to just go with the flow.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

B.o.Y. – The Women of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, Part III: Bebe Louie

To more or less repeat what we've already said at Part I (June 2022), The Non-babe of Note: Princess Livingston and Part II (July 2022), Background Babe of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls: Jacqulin Cole...
Fifty-two years and two months ago, on 17 June 1970, Russ Meyer's baroque masterpiece Beyond the Valley of the Dolls hit the screens in the US of Anal. One of only two movies Meyer ever made for a major Hollywood studio (in this case, Fox), Beyond the Valley of the Dolls is without a doubt one of the Babest movies ever made.

"Using unknowns you avoid highly exaggerated salaries and prima donnas."
Russ Meyer

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!"
Advertisement tagline

At R.I.P. Career Review of Haji, we 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 August 9, 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."
Vincent Canby

Russ Meyer films are always populated by amazing females 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, for the year to come, we are looking at the film careers of the women of the Babest Film of All Times, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. The size of the breasts roles is of lesser importance than the simple fact that the women are known to be in the movie somewhere, so we will look at the known unknowns in the background and the headlining semi-knowns in the front. We will, however, be making one notable exception: the National Treasure that is the Great Pam Grier. Though she had her film debut in Beyond the Valley of the Dolls somewhere in the background, 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 take on...
Two months ago, we took a look at Beyond the Valley of the Dolls's singular non-babe of note, Princess Livingston. As of last month, with the un-credited background babe Jacqulin Cole (22 Jun 1947 – 2 Feb 2004), it is babeness all the way: for however long it takes, we will look deep into the
cleavage eyes of the various wonder women known to be in the movie, though one or two barely register. They were all date material (barring, perhaps, the ethereal-looking one, now dead, that ended up murdering her husband). Going alphabetically (last name) for now, let us now take a look at another babe whose limited career has been forgotten in the passage of time: Bebe Louie.

The Babes of Yesteryear
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls:
R.I.P. Career Review of Haji
Part I (June 2022), The non-babe of note: Princess Livingston
Part II (July 2022), Background Babe: Jacqulin Cole

Part III, Background Babe of
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls:
Bebe Louie
An extensive search online reveals little about the former model and actress known as Bebe Louie (and sometimes as Janet Bebe Louie), seen above. She's normally mentioned in passing, at best, and while there are vague details about where she came from, there are none about where she ultimately went. A typical online reference would be of the kind found in the rather pointless, name-dropping book from 2010 by Rocco Karega*, What It Was Like — Performing in and out of Hollywood on Stage, Film, Radio & Television (Meeting over 5o Famous People), in which he regularly slaughters grammar: "[...] Co-worker ROGER NIKAIDO is famous as well but doesn't consider it 'fame.' I first met him at The Hollywood Comedy Store. Roger was born and raised in the Japanese-American Internment Camp at Manzanar until their initial release. His girlfriend at the time we met was Actress JANET 'BEBE' LOUIE [...]. Bebe played a role in a Super-8 sound film demo I produced with Roger."
* If you know his name, then perhaps you've seen his directorial masterpiece, Demon Cop (1990 / trailer below).
Intro to Rocco Karega's
Demon Cop:

Filmfeed claims, like most other websites, that she was born 2 February 1951 in Toyshan City, China — they probably mean Taishan, China — which raises the question: How did she ever get to the US? ("An estimated half a million Chinese Americans are of Taishanese descent." [Wikipedia])
The earliest reference we discovered is the cover photo below of Fabulous Las Vegas magazine (above) from 1965. She seems to have made her acting debut in Yen Ku Horowitz, a Chinatown-set episode of the forgotten TV series Valentine's Day (1964-65), starring Anthony Franciosa (25 Oct 1928 – 19 Jan 2006, of Tenebre [1982 / trailer], Web of the Spider [1971 / German trailer], Death House [1988 / trailer] and Across 110th Street [1972 / trailer]), seen below from a time when men didn't shave their body hair.
After her television debut, Bebe Louie continued to appear irregularly on TV shows and in movies, her parts slowly getting longer until they once again began getting shorter, her last known acting job being that of a background policewoman (photo below) on a 1992 episode of Columbo entitled A Bird in the Hand. In Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, she plays an attractive "hippie" Asian lass, one of two that (noticeably) graced the film.
While one can only conjecture how Bebe Louie came to be in Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, over at the Eerie Midnight Detective Agency, the great Erica Gavin mentions the following: "I first met Peter Carpenter long before Vixen. [He plays the Mountie in that film.] He was living with this girl, 'Babydoll.' She was working with me, Haji, Tura [Satana], and Bebe [Louie] at The Losers. [...]" Okay, therewith Bebe is linked with three of Russ Meyer's iconic stars, so a conjuncture can be made regarding the path leading to Bebe's appearance in Beyond the Valley of the Dolls...
Lt. Robin Crusoe, U.S.N.
(1966, dir. Byron Paul)
Apparently the only feature film product that Byron Socrates Paul (20 April 1920 – 24 Sept 2004) ever directed. They don't make films like this one anymore, thank goddess. The only movie for which Walt Disney (as "Retlaw Yensid") ever received a writing credit, this was the second of three films — between Mary Poppins (1964 / trailer) and Never a Dull Moment (1968 / trailer) — that Dick van Dyke made for Disney Studios.
Inspired by Defoe's novel Robinson Crusoe, as is obvious by the title, the movie was critically savaged, raked in the bucks, and has long since sunk into obscurity. Bebe Louie is one of the bevy of exotic beauties on the island ("Bebe Louie as Native Girl 4" [Wikipedia]) — try to find her in the crowd.
Trailer to
Lt. Robin Crusoe, U.S.N.:
The plot, as found at Silver Scenes: "Dick Van Dyke stars as Lt. Robin Crusoe, a Navy fighter pilot, who bails out from his plane when it catches on fire. After days of drifting at sea, he is washed upon a beautiful deserted island where he eventually makes his home, building a hut, a post office system, and even a private golf course. One day, exploring the inner part of the island, he meets Wednesday (Nancy Kwan of Wonder Women [1973 — see: Babe of Yesteryear Marilyn Joi]) a girl from the neighboring island who was abandoned there by her father (Akim Tamiroff, 29 Oct 1899 – 17 Sep 1972), a vengeful chief, for punishment. Together with a band of native girls — her friends — they fight this chief and his tribe when they invade their island."
White savior and brownface time — until, at the very end, His Whiteness must flee the island for civilization when he refuses to commit miscegenation by marrying Wednesday.
Hah Hah Hah:
It might not be too far-fetched to say that Lt. Robin Crusoe, U.S.N. was "inspired" as much by Daniel Defoe's original novel, Robinson Crusoe, as it was by an older, far more entertaining (if equally dated) comedy take on the novel, the mostly forgotten DouglasFairbanks Sr. film from 1932, Mr Robinson Crusoe.
The full film —
Mr Robinson Crusoe:

Sol Madrid
(1968, dir. Brian G. Hutton)
Bebe Louie appears somewhere in this movie, uncredited and probably only for a few seconds, as a "specialty dancer".
Director Brian G Hutton (20 May 1929 – 19 Aug 2014) went to make better films, like everyone's favorite, Where Eagles Dare (1968 / trailer), and almost everyone's favorite, Kelly's Heroes (1970 / trailer). Based on Robert Wilder's novel Fruit of the Poppy, from 1965, cover above. Wilder (25 Jan 1901 – 2 Aug 1974) is perhaps best known for a little novel titled Flamingo Road.
Trailer to
Sol Madrid:
The AFI Catalog  has a complete, spoiler-heavy synopsis: "Harry Mitchell (Pat Hingle [19 Jul 1924 – 3 Jan 2009] of Maximum Overdrive [1986]) has absconded with $500,000 of Mafia leader Riccione's (Paul Lukas [26 May 1895 – 16 Aug 1971] of The Secret of the Blue Room [1933 / full film] and The Monster and the Girl [1941 / full film]) money, and Dano Villanova (Rip Torn [6 Feb 1931 – 9 Jul 2019] of Dolly Dearest [1991 / trailer] and Slaughter [1972 / trailer]) is assigned to kill him before he reveals any organization secrets to the police. At the same time, Sol Madrid (David McCallum), an undercover narcotics agent, begins a search for Mitchell, hoping to persuade him to testify against the Mafia. Madrid finds Villanova's former mistress, Stacey Woodward (Stella Stevens, seen below not from the film, of Arnold [1973 / trailer] and The Terror Within II [1991]), who has half the stolen money, and learns from her that Mitchell is in Acapulco. Threatening to inform Villanova of her whereabouts, Madrid forces Stacey to accompany him to Mexico and there she introduces him to both Mitchell and Emil Dietrich (Telly Savalas [21 Jan 1922 – 22 Jan 1994], of Horror Express [1972]), a leading supplier of heroin who has also recently broken with the Mafia. Posing as a border runner, Madrid works his way into Dietrich's confidence despite Mitchell's skeptical objections. With the assistance of Mexican agent Jalisco (Ricardo Montalban [25 Nov 1920 – 14 Jan 2009]), Madrid spirits Stacey away in a yacht while he baits the final trap for the narcotics smugglers. But, before he can execute his final plan, she is kidnapped by Villanova and forcibly turned into a dope addict. Then, after Mitchell has been murdered, Madrid enlists local police assistance and learns that Jalisco is a Mafia payoff man. After shooting Dietrich, Madrid corners Jalisco, forces him to reveal Villanova's hiding place, and then kills him. Finally, Madrid tracks down Villanova in a dense jungle and disposes of him also; and in a hospital bed Stacey slowly recovers from her addiction."
"Despite some tense moments and some terse dialogue, the movie ends up feeling tremendously incomplete. Not only does one get the impression that some of the movie's most important sequences may have been edited out, but one can't help but wonder whether most of the actors in the film were simply there for their paycheck. In more ways than one, that is a real shame, for Sol Madrid really had the potential to be something far more than just another rather forgettable late 1960s studio production, albeit one with just enough punch to it to make you want to watch to the very end. [Mystery File]"
Lalo Schfrin — Main theme to
Sol Madrid:

(1968, dir. Andrew V. McLaglen)
Andrew V. McLaglen (28 Jul 1920 – 30 Aug 2014), a director who gets no respect if anyone ever even thinks of him; his numerous films include Man in the Vault (1956), with William Campbell. Bebe Louie isn't mentioned in the film's opening credits, but she makes it in the closing credits as the inconsequential character Gumdrop.
Trailer to
Dan Pavlides at All Movie has the plot: "Chance Buckman (John Wayne) heads a team of international trouble shooters who travel around the world to put out oil fires. The dangerous profession has taken a toll on the marriage between Chance and Madelyn (Vera Miles of BrainWaves [1982]), who leaves when she can no longer endure the stress of saying goodbye and fearing she will never see him again. With his faithful assistant Greg (Jim Hutton [31 May 1934 – 2 Jun 1979]), the team is ready at a moment's notice to race anywhere to extinguish the flames of oil fires raging out of control. Greg eventually falls for Chance's daughter, Tish (Katherine Ross of A Climate for Killing [1991]), who shares her mother's concern over the dangers the men endure. [...]"
"If this were a documentary on the real Red Adair, which is who the Chance Buckman character is modeled after, this would have been an exciting and fascinating film. Unfortunately the drama in-between the fire scenes is lame and hooky. The characters and situations are generic and boring and the 2-hour runtime becomes almost interminable to have to sit through. [Scopophilia]"
Katherine Ross once described the movie as "the biggest piece of crap I've ever done". Almost every website we visited that wrote about this film seems to agree with her. As it is a John Wayne film, a genre in itself that we tend to avoid, we will probably never know for sure ourselves.
The German poster above is by Hans Braun (1925 – 8 Sept 2011), one of the most popular German poster artists of the 50s & 60s.
I Sailed to Tahiti with an All Girl Crew
(1968, dir. Richard L. Bare)

"She may not be an old salt but she sure does have a fancy shaker."

Perhaps the only feature-film poster to ever feature Bebe Louie's name. By the time Richard L. Bare (12 Aug 1913 – 28 Mar 2015), the director of Flaxy Martin (1949), made this late-career, rare excursion into feature films, he was a full-time professional director of TV shows; after I Sailed to Tahiti with an All Girl Crew, he didn't make another feature film until his rather odd love-it-or-hate-it guilty pleasure, Wicked, Wicked (1973 / trailer).
I Sailed to Tahiti with an All Girl Crew
was successful enough that a sequel was considered, but by then hunkadelic lead actor Gardner McKay (10 Jun 1932 – 21 Nov 2001), above not from the film, had already decided to give up acting for writing.
Scene from
I Sailed to Tahiti with an All Girl Crew:
Over at Great Old Movies, they have a full plot description: "When he's drunk, Terry O'Brien (Gardner McKay) makes a bet that he can sail to Tahiti with an all-girl crew and arrive before his opponent, Josh (Fred Clark [19 Mar 1914 – 5 Dec 1968] of The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb [1964 / trailer]). If he loses, he has to give Josh his boat, the Samaran. His international crew consists of Liz (Diane McBain of The Mini-Skirt Mob [1968 / trailer] & The Deathhead Virgin [1974 / full film]); sexy ex-stripper Marilyn (Edy Williams); Monique (Jeanne Rainer of The Touch of Flesh [1960 / full film]); the cook and aspiring dancer Tamaya (Bebe Louie); and Janet (Arlene Charles). One of these women has viciously stabbed a man and is on the run, and there's a stowaway named Jimsy (Mary O'Brien), a tomboy who wants to join the crew and has a crush on Terry. If the movie weren't bad enough, we also have irritating Pat Buttram as a lawman on the hunt for the aforementioned stabber. [...] The gals are pretty; glib if charming McKay is as handsome as ever; there are some nice yachts and pretty blue water; and one clever bit, when Tamaya keeps eggs from rolling off the counter by putting them in her bra cups. There's maybe one other laugh in what seems like a not-very-expensive home movie. [...]."
I Sailed to Tahiti with an All Girl Crew was the last feature film project of the great Evelyn Ankers' beefcakey husband Richard Denning (27 Mar 1914 – 11 Oct 1998), who in his day packed a wicked bulge in films like Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954 / trailer). In his prime (see the photo above), he never said no taking of his shirt in a movie.
The photo above shows the whole crew of the boat, with a smiling Bebe at the front middle. Behind her to your right is Edy Williams, who, like Bebe is also found in:
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
(1970, dir. Russ Meyer)
Bebe Louie plays a "Hippie Girl".
The plot, as found at AFI: "Tired of playing to high school audiences, Kelly (Dolly Read), Casey (Cynthia Myers), and Pet (Marcia McBroom), members of a rock trio, travel to Hollywood, California, accompanied by Harris Allsworth (David Gurian), the band's manager and Kelly's lover. There, they are befriended by Kelly's Aunt Susan (Phyllis Davis), an advertising executive, who, despite the misgivings of her lawyer, Porter Hall (Duncan McLeod), decides to share with Kelly the family fortune. At an orgy the band is discovered by the effeminate entrepreneur host, Ronnie "Z-Man" Barzell (John La Zar), who rechristens them 'The Carrie Nations.' Among lovers quickly acquired at Ronnie's party are Lance (Michael Blodgett), a boorish gigolo, who enters into a liaison with Kelly; Emerson (Harrison Page), a law student who wins Pet's love; and Roxanne (Erica Gavin), a lesbian designer who captures Casey's heart. As the celebrated trio perform on national television, Harris, distraught by Kelly's infidelity and Casey's impregnation by him, hurls himself from the catwalk. He is rushed to the hospital, where Dr. Scholl (Dan White) informs Kelly that Harris can look forward to life as a paraplegic. Realizing that Harris is her true love, Kelly devotes herself to his care. Touched by Casey's plight, Roxanne arranges an abortion. Ronnie invites Lance, Roxanne, and Casey to a private party, at which costumes are distributed. Dressed as Superwoman, Ronnie attempts to seduce Lance, who is attired in a loin cloth. Rejected, Ronnie binds the gigolo. After revealing that he is, in fact, a woman, Ronnie bears her breasts, brandishes a sword, and chops off Lance's head. She then plunges a gun into the sleeping Roxanne's mouth and fires. Terrified, Casey phones her friends, who rush to her rescue but arrive too late. As Emerson and Kelly attempt to subdue Ronnie, the gun discharges, killing the transvestite. During the fray, however, the crippled Harris is miraculously cured. In a triple wedding ceremony, Kelly and Harris, Pet and Emerson, and Aunt Susan and an old love are united."
From the soundtrack of BYD,
The Carrie Nations sing
Come with the Gentle People (1st Version):

The Jesus Trip
(1971, dir. Russ Mayberry)
One of only two feature film the TV journeyman Russ Mayberry (22 Dec 1925 – 27 Jul 2012) ever directed; eight years later he followed this with the forgettable G-rated Disney flick Unidentified Flying Oddball a.k.a. The Spaceman and King Arthur (1979 / trailer). Bebe shows up somewhere in The Jesus Trap, a.k.a. The Ravaged and Under Hot Leather, with screen credit (but not on the poster), playing a character named Wahoo. (She ain't in the trailer.)
Trailer to
The Jesus Trip:
Over at All Movie, Clarke Fountain gives a synopsis: "Pursued by police and rival gangs, a motorcycle gang, headed by Waco (Robert Porter [14 May 1940 – 18 Mar 2014] of Trip with the Teacher [1975 / trailer, with Zalman King] & The Klansman [1974 / trailer]), takes refuge in a convent located in a remote region of the Arizona desert. They smuggle heroin in their motorcycles. They capture one policeman (Billy "Green" Bush of Critters (1986 / trailer], Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993 / trailer] and The Hitcher (1986]) who was following them, taunt him and let him go. This treatment inspires a brutal relentlessness on the cop's part, which serves them poorly. When they are forced to leave the convent, they take a novice nun (Elizabeth "Tippy" Walker) with them as a hostage. By the end of the film, she has fallen in love with Waco, and chooses secular life over monastic life. This film features numerous picturesque sequences of desert motorcycle riding."
Credit sequence and theme song:
"There is a quiet goodness to the protagonists, juxtaposed against double-crossing authority figures, who are addicted and corrupted by their power, just as the outlaws are liberated by their addiction to freedom. [Nostalgia Central]"
"[...] The picture gets points for being slow, moody, and understated, since most movies about scooter trash opt for noisy collisions of raucous music and unsavory behavior. Secondly, the film has an unusual look, even by the standards of other low-budget '70s flicks, because to my eyes, it seems as if virtually no artificial lighting was used. Nearly the entire story takes place outside, often during dawn or dusk, and the few interior scenes involve practical lights, such as candles and overheads. Combined with some imaginative camera angles, this visual approach gives The Jesus Trip an appealingly handmade quality. [...] The downside to all this praise is that, ultimately, The Jesus Trip is just another biker flick. The title refers to the fact that a biker gang hides out in a church and kidnaps a nun. Otherwise, from the long montages of guys driving their hogs down open highways to the subplot about a humiliated cop stalking bikers so he can exact revenge, the beats of the storyline are as ordinary as the look is unusual. [...] The Jesus Trip also gets darker and darker as it goes along, portraying bikers as victims and cops as savages, so it gains a certain crude toughness by the time the grim ending arrives. [Every 70s Movie]"
At Letterboxd, Iain Maclver gives it four stars: "This is a hugely likeable and offbeat biker movie about a gang of riders [...]. Although this is a distinctly low budget effort [...] it is still quite an affecting, if simplistic, piece of counter-cultural cinema. [...] Mayberry tells the story in a low key and haunting manner, with the relationship between Waco and Anna nicely realized against beautiful sunsets and vast open desert vistas. Some of the imagery is nicely inventive — the closing shots just ahead of the credits are stunningly framed in blazing reds. [...] The cinematography by Flemming Olsen is very good with some excellent sequences of bikes out on the open road. The neat, minimalist score is by Berardo Segall, with the film bookended by a nice ballad by Lee Dresser. The Jesus Trip is a hugely enjoyable and arty film; off-beat, touching, with a wide streak of poignant sentimentality and all tinged with a bitter flavoring of doomed youth."
Smashed Block has some tangential info of interest: "The film is famous for the line about 'The Jesus & Mary Chain', inspiring the Glasgow band to use the name. The Jesus & Mary Chain also went on to use a still from the film as the image for the 'April Skies' single cover.
The Jesus and Mary Chain —
April Skies:


Every Little Crook and Nanny 
(1972, dir. Cy Howard)
The second of a grand total of three Hollywood films Cy Howard nee Seymour Horowitz (27 Sept 1915 – 29 Apr 1993) directed. Based on the novel of the same name by Evan Hunter, otherwise known as Ed McBain. For star Victor Mature (29 Jan 1913 – 4 Aug 1999), of I Wake Up Screaming (1941), it was his first lead role since After the Fox (1966 / trailer), and first film appearance since the eternally underappreciated Monkees vehicle, Head (1968).
Trailer to
Bebe Louie plays a woman named Sarah, who is never mentioned in any of the synopses we found online.
Cinema Retro has the plot: "Lynn Redgrave (8 Mar 1943 – 2 May 2010) [is] top-lined as Miss Poole, a comically stereotypical prim and proper young British woman of good manners who operates an etiquette school for boys and girls. When she is evicted so that the school can be utilized as a site for nefarious doings by crime kingpin Carmine Ganucci (Victor Mature), Miss Poole is facing destitution and the loss of her livelihood. When she goes to Ganucci to explain her plight, she is mistaken for one of many young women who are applying to be the crime lord's family nanny. He is instantly smitten by her good manners and eloquent speech and hires her on the spot. Miss Poole devises a plan to take advantage of the situation. She accepts the position and is soon regarded as an indispensable employee of Ganucci and his wife Stella (Margaret Blye [24 Oct 1939 – 24 Mar 2016 of The Gingerdead Man [2005 / trailer]). It seems Miss Poole is the only one who can control the couple's independent-minded, pre-pubescent son Lewis (Phillip Graves.). [...] When Carmine and Stella leave for a romantic vacation in Italy, Miss Poole enacts an audacious plot to stage a phony kidnapping of Lewis in the hopes that she can extort just enough money from Carmine ($50,000) to reopen her etiquette school in another location. [...]."
Steven Puchalski, publisher of that indispensable magazine Shock Cinema, did not like this movie: "This laugh-barren Mafia-comedy has little going for it, except for loads of floundering starpower. [...] [...] One lame mix-up piles onto another, and the result is less amusing than monotonous. [...] Hunter's original novel was supposed to be a Damon Runyonesque comic-caper with much more wit and a struggling book reviewer named Luther as the main character, so obviously some major elements were lost in translation. Along with its flat direction and frantic performances, the screwball humor is belabored, [...] and the ending was more heartwarming than I could physically stomach."
Trailer to
Every Little Crook and Nanny:

(1973, writ. & dir. Jack Hill)
Perhaps one of the best Blaxploitation films of all time, starring the great — the icon — Pam Grier. Bebe Louis plays Helen, one of King George's stable of gals, seen in the photo below sitting next to an un-credited Marilyn Joi. We don't remember her as saying all that much, though we do remember her looking good as the token Asian.
We looked at the Coffy years ago right here with one of our typically overly verbose reviews — read at your own peril.
For those who don' have the time for our verbosity, here's something shorter: "Coffy (Pam Grier of Black Mama White Mama [1973] and Bones [2001] and so much more) is a nurse whose young sister got hooked on drugs (heroin, I think) and is now mostly comatose. Coffy handles the situation the best she can; she pretends to be a junkie willing to exchange sex for drugs and shoots her sister's dealer in the face with a shotgun. All's well that ends well, right? Actually, the movie keeps going for another eighty minutes because Coffy keeps finding new bad guys to kill. To track down the baddies, Coffy does the most sensible thing she can do: she poses as a high class Jamaican prostitute, just to get time alone with the men she holds responsible for the local drug trade. That doesn't always work well; she spends almost a third of the movie in captivity after she fails to kill a white kingpin. Overall, though, her strategy works pretty well. [Brian vs Movies]"
From the soundtrack –
Coffy Is the Color:
Paragraph Film Reviews might add: "This is the ultimate Blaxploitation flick — to the point of parody, with characters like King George (Robert DoQui [20 Apr 1934 – 9 Feb 2008]), 'white devil' speeches and very bad Jamaican accents. Coffy just wouldn't work without a strong and sexy character like Pam Grier, (who may well be the hottest woman ever captured on film!?) dominating every scene in the film. Even today, it's refreshing to watch an empowered heroine run around kicking ass. Despite this, every woman in the film — including Coffy — is also there for her legs, chest, ass, or all three. The film starts as it means to continue, with a potent mix of violence and nudity, epitomized by the campy but gritty chick-fight where all the ladies' tops mysteriously get ripped off — fantastic! [...]"
Unofficially both times, Coffy has been remade at least twice: once in Hong Kong as Du hou mi shi (1976 / trailer below) and then again as a white-girl flick, Lovely But Deadly (1981 / full film).
Trailer to
Sexy Killer a.k.a. Du hou mi shi (1976):

(1981, dir. E.W. Swackhamer)
After Coffy, Bebe Louie disappeared for six years before resurfacing on television for the mini-series Here to Eternity (1979) and an episode of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (specifically: Twiki Is Missing [1980]). A year later, credited as Janet Bebe Louie, she had a small part (as May-Wah) in this fifth-rate project here, one of the few feature films directed by TV director/producer Egbert Warnderink Swackhamer Jr. (17 Jan 1927 – 5 Dec 1994). (We wouldn't bet our boogers on it, but we believe the only other feature film he ever directed was the Bill "Drink this and spread them legs!" Cosby's serious western, Man and Boy [1971 / trailer].)
How minor is this Longshot? It's a frigging Leif Garrett vehicle — about foosball! Who was Leif Garrett, you ask? Well: "Leif Garrett is a former singer and child star who achieved tremendous success as a teenager before turning to drugs and becoming a pathetic excuse for a human being. [Washed Up Celebrities]" That said, he did star in one truly good movie: Devil Times Five (1974 / trailer).
Trailer to
In his book Idol Truth (2019), "Leif Garret claims [...] that Michael Jackson asked him to teach him how to masturbate. When the incident happened, Leif was 17 years old and Michael was 20. Leif was the bigger star at the time, he was an actor and singer and was popular for his songs Surfin' USA, Runaround Sue and I Was Made for Dancin'. Michael's first famous album as a solo singer, Off the Wall, was not released yet. The two of them met while they were both on tour and became close friends. The incident between them happened in February 1979 in a hotel bar in Switzerland. According to Leif, Michael approached him one night, asking 'Can you tell me how to masturbate?' Leif chose not to teach Michael and gave him a key to his room instead, where he directed him to his stash of 'naughty' magazines for inspiration. [MJ & Boys]"
Terrible theme song:
The plot of this "funny, touching story of adventure and friendship, young love and growing up"? Over at Letterbox, Curtis saw the movie and wrote: "Longshot follows Leif Garrett and his self-destructive friend (Ralf Seymour of The Relic [1997 / trailer], Killer Party [1986 / trailer] and Just before Dawn [1981 / trailer]) as they try to reach the foosball world championships in Lake Tahoe. Garrett recruits a wunderkind foosball goalie in 14-year-old Max Gripp (Linda Manz [20 Aug 1961 – 14 Aug 2020]), as well a new French love interest/deus ex Europa (Zoé Chauveau). The friend continues to repeatedly, and pointlessly, fuck up, getting angry when he's called out for it. Perhaps the worst crime here is how boring most of the actual foosball scenes are. [...]"
Keys to Freedom
(1988, dir. Steve Feke)
Another forgettable Jane Seymour TV movie, and every online source shares the same plot description: "The keys to freedom for citizens of Hong Kong are U.S. passports, as their city quakes with the imminent transition to Chinese Communist rule. A deadly black market for passports is thriving, controlled by Hong Kong's warlords." Bebe Louie shows up somewhere as Madame Chan...
Director Steve Feke's only other known directorial project is the equally lame Papa Was a Preacher (1985 / full film), but for that he helped script the popular horror flick When a Stranger Calls (1979 / trailer) and a legendary golden turkey, the torturous cult disasterpiece that is Mac and Me (1988).
Trailer to
Mac and Me:

Side Out
(1990, dir. Peter Israelson)
Bebe Louie's last known appearance in a feature film is her playing a maid (as in: the women who clean rooms in hotels) in this C. Thomas Howell movie; one would doubt she earned enough to pay for her SAG membership. Dreams die hard. The movie was not a hit, and music video director Peter Israelson has yet to make another feature film.
Through a Shattered Lens has the plot: "Monroe (C. Thomas Howell of The Hitcher [1986]) is a young lawyer who moves to California and gets a job working for his Uncle Max (Terry Kiser).  Max wants Monroe to concentrate on evicting beach bums.  Monroe wants to play beach volleyball.  Together, they solve crimes.  No, actually, Max orders Monroe to evict Zack (Peter Horton of Children of the Corn [1984 / trailer] and Fade to Black [1980 / trailer]), a former volleyball champion who was once 'king of the beach'.  Zack agrees to coach Monroe and his goofball friend, Wiley (Christopher Rydell) in a volleyball tournament.  But when Zack misses a match because he is having underlit, PG-13 sex with his ex-wife (Harley Jane Kozak of House on Sorority Row [1982 / trailer]), uncoached Monroe accidentally breaks Wiley's arm.  Now, Zack has to step in as Monroe's partner and reclaim his status as king of the beach!"
Trailer to
Side Out:

 Now go to:
Background Babe of
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls