Monday, April 27, 2009

Farewell, Marilyn Chambers

The Ivory Snow girl passed away last week, so I felt obligated to give her a fine send off, with two of her better known movies.

First up was Angel of H.E.A.T (1983, directed by Myrl A. Schreibman), one of her "straight" pictures, in which she plays a secret agent up against a plot to send an army of androids against the world. Yeah. It's pretty bad, but there is copious nudity, as you might have expected. The real surprise was the copious amount of skin the film shows on co-star Mary Woronov, who I love to pieces, so no matter how much the movie sucks, we'll always have that. And it DOES suck. It's incompetent on so many levels it's hard to know where to begin.

It almost seems strange that the Mitchell Brothers notorious Behind the Green Door (1972) is a step up, given that it's one of the cornerstones of hardcore cinema, but there it is. Where many exploitation films intend to shock, it's a rare one that actually manages the feat. 1972 is pretty early in the history of pornographic movies, and it's a period when the makers of such films still made an effort to make films rather than pointing the camera at the awful thing in motion. The Mitchells might have had the talent to make it in the mainstream if they so chose, but that wasn't their particular muse, so we get a disjointed film in which the gynecological close-up is a frequent intruder in the flow of the film. Pity. As for Marilyn Chambers herself? She's achingly beautiful in this, and so young. Watching the film defile her is disturbing, an effect amplified by the fact that she doesn't have a single line of dialogue.


Having finished up the first season of Rome last month, my partner and I are taking on the first season of Six Feet Under this month. By pure coincidence, the fifth episode, which we watched this week, concerns a porn star who has been electrocuted in her tub. The porn star was played by Veronica Hart, a porn star from the golden age of porn. She appears to have been a pretty credible actress, though the episode itself is not particularly concerned with her place in the universe. As is the formula for the series, the corpse acts as a counterpoint to the various relationships in the Fisher family. The highlight of this episode was the visit Claire and Ruth pay to their Stepford Wife-y cousins, but the developments between Nate and Brenda give the episode (and, for that matter, the show as a whole) that uncomfortable sense of intruding on intimate moments. HBO might just be the savior of television.


I also watched Apache (1954) to start off my Robert Aldrich project. It's an awkward, ungainly movie that almost works, even if it does show that the director didn't yet have any kind of mastery of his craft. The development between this and the next year's Vera Cruz is dramatic. I'll have more to say about this in a day or two.

1 comment:

DeAnna said...

Ooooh, so you've started on Six Feet Under... I really enjoyed that show when it was on. We actually lost our access to HBO a couple of seasons before the show actually ended and we just checked out those last seasons from the library. And I was happy overall with the whole show.

Mostly I was super excited to see you delving into Six Feet Under to find out whether you too, end up totally crushing on Russell, but then I remembered that Russell probably isn't on the show until probably the third season. So you don't get to meet him yet.

These days, what I find amazing about Six Feet Under is David. He always gave me the creeps and I never felt like his character should make me uneasy, but now that Michael C Hall has gone on to Dexter, I LOVE him. He's so amazing as Dexter, but still creeps me out as David.

So I'll have to check back in with you when you get to season three!