Thursday, June 15, 2017

"Everybody... everybody get naked"

(line borrowed from an interview I did while in college)

I just finished watching a 1961 "sexploitation" video called Diary of a Nudist. Amazon is currently pairing it with a title called The Naked Venus. I haven't seen the latter movie as I found the former on one of the cinema apps I've got downloaded on my Roku.

The whole premise of Diary is a young lady, working at a newspaper, is given the task of exposing a local nudist colony. Her boss had wandered onto the property one day whilst hunting, and found himself other areas of game to play with. He sets up the woman to interview at the colony and she's able to spend time there, getting to know the residents. Lo and behold, it's not what she expected and she actually likes being there. How does her article fare? Well, I suggest trying to find the video.

But in the meantime, I've got some areas to pick at. It definitely shows it's age - 1960's (possible 16mm) movie film. It's surprisingly nicely squared out on a flat screen TV.

My first problem is the simple fact the color is deeply faded in various scenes. Yes, it's a color film, and no, it wasn't added digitally later on. Not all the cameras seemed to be white balanced together... meaning... in the same 10 minute scene, there can be three camera changes (three different views). None of the views are the same contrast and color. One can be too hot (the person's body looks like it's drenched in a white spot light. Yes, I'm sure it's not the sunlight, so don't ask that question. There's a difference between sunlight washout and studio lights washout) while another looks like it's drenched in some kind of contrasting low light (too dark in some places but trying hard to over compensate for it). I feel like no one tried to "color correct" this when they attempted to re-release it to the digital masses.

I think I wouldn't have so much of problem if I didn't work at a couple photo studios and transfer old movie film as my job for four years - I'd not be such a stickler for better quality.

Don't get me wrong, I'm fine with the random mold spots and dust flying through the picture, however, this being a 70 something minute movie, half of it is bad coloring.

On top of that, my second problem is that the production company re-dubbed the actors, so it was like watching a badly dubbed Asian movie. Sorry for the comparison, but I'm sure you know what I mean. For an American made film, they didn't use the voices of the American actors. If they did, it wasn't recorded with the film, it was recorded separately and added after the fact. The silent era ended 30 years prior to this movie; I'm sure the current state of celebrity had better speaking voices than those trying hard to transition into talkies.

The third and final thing is the simple contorting everyone had to do. According to research, nudie films were illegal and prohibited across the country at this time, so if you were going to make something, it had to attempt to be tasteful and not overly pornographic. Production companies got away with showing a lot of "T&A" by way of what is now referred to as "sexploitation" "cult" films. Women and men were placed in very specific positions, as not to give away the entire farm - the women were able to bare their breasts, men had their torsos exposed, but anything further south of the belly button got a nice little cover up. The person either held a sun hat, a newspaper, or a beach towel (or whatever was needed to further a scene). In some scenes, it was how they were laying on the lounge chairs or how they stood behind shrubbery to watch beach volleyball (which was shorts vs butts. Guess why!). Outside of that, we got to see everyone's (un-suntanned) white tushies in all their (in some cases flabby) glory, but peens and vajayjays were off limits.

For a movie based on "sun worship", some of the residents needed to work on their tans. There were a few who had nice, evenly bronzed skin; while others had their white markings of prior clothes usage.

Will I watch this film again? Quite possibly, only to make sure some of my film buff friends are able to see it, and we can discuss it further. It's camp enough that you do have to give it an eye roll in places, slow enough where you may want to fast forward in places, but over all, it's a decent try and I can see why it's put into different cult genres.

*** I did find a single version of the movie here on Amazon.

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