FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: August 23, 1999
Contact: Margot Gerber
Tel.: 323/461-2020 ext. 115
INSATIABLE 60s SUPER VIXENS, WORKED OVER STUDS, MOTORPSYCHOS, BUXOM BABES
& LUSTY LESBIANS DESCEND ON THE AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE FOR SEVEN NIGHTS OF
LEGENDARY "FASTER PUSSYCAT" DIRECTOR RUSS MEYER IN-PERSON!
Russ Meyer in person, along with special guests, Tura Satana and Susan
Bernard (FASTER; PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL!); Kitten Natividad (BENEATH THE
VALLEY OF THE ULTRA-VIXENS); Cynthia Meyers and John LaZar (BEYOND THE
VALLEY OF THE DOLLS); and Erica Gaven (VIXEN)!
September 16 - 25, 1999
HOLLYWOOD Legendary, cult, skin flick director, Russ Meyer will appear
in-person at the American Cinematheques retrospective, FASTER PUSSYCAT! THE
SEX-CRAZED CINEMA OF RUSS MEYER (September 16-25, 1999), a seven night
exhibition of the films of the auteur who made the first authentic American
nudie film in 1959 with THE IMMORAL MR. TEAS (shot for $24,000 in four days
in his dentists office). In the 1960s, Meyer went on to make a name for
himself with a crop of (mostly) independently produced, written, directed,
shot, edited and distributed successful erotic (and often violent) thrillers
featuring a bevy of super-stacked vixens with insatiable libidos and quite
frequently, ethnic characters. The sixties pop-cinema, cult phenomenon
FASTER, PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL! (1966) and VIXEN (1968), which ran a
record-breaking 54 weeks in a Chicago Theater, came out of this period.
Meyers films, often incorrectly categorized as hardcore pornography, caught
on with female audiences, and charmed college students and art house
frequenting film buffs internationally (The Cinematheque Franais regularly
screens his work and the National Film Theatre in London held a recent
retrospective). Highlights of the festival include screenings of: an
ultra-rare 35 mm print of the horny hillbilly sex-fest MUDHONEY (1965); the
psycho-sexual hits, MOTORPSYCHO (1965) and CHERRY, HARRY & RAQUEL (1969);
along with the rarely-screened THE SEVEN MINUTES (1971) (based on an Irving
Wallace novel about censorship and Meyers follow-up to his 1970 Roger
Ebert-scripted pop-culture romp, BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS; and
his first film THE IMMORAL MR. TEAS (1959). Meyer will be appearing in
person along with Kitten Natividad (BENEATH THE VALLEY OF THE ULTRA-VIXENS);
Tura Satana and Susan Bernard (FASTER, PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL!); Edy Williams (THE SEVEN
MINUTES); Cynthia Myers and "Z-Man" John LaZar (BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE
DOLLS); Erica Gavin (VIXEN); and Charles Napier (CHERRY, HARRY AND RAQUEL)
and others. All screenings are at the newly renovated Lloyd E. Rigler
Theatre at the historic Egyptian (6712 Hollywood Boulevard between Highland
and Las Palmas) in Hollywood.
In a 1979 Variety interview, Meyer said, "The way I make films, I never had
the patience to wait for the men with moneybags in Hollywood to come around.
I want to make films when the inspiration hits me, and I want to put my
fantasies and ideas up there on the screen the way I want to."
A combat newsreel photographer during WWII (he landed on Normandy beach on
D-Day and some of the Signal Corps footage of Patton in the movie PATTON is
his), Meyer failed to find work in Hollywood as a union cinematographer.
Instead, he moved to San Francisco and worked on industrials and gained a
reputation in the 50s as a leading pin-up photographer for the fledgling
Playboy Magazine. Although he shot a mid-fifties burlesque with Tempest
Storm, the first Russ Meyer film was THE IMMORAL MR. TEAS, which was
bankrolled by a San Francisco burlesque theater owner (who wanted Meyer to
emulate the popular European nudist camp imports) and was largely
improvised. Meyer cast an army buddy named Teas as the harried city man who
has the ability to undress women with his eyes. With this film, many
mainstream movie-goers were seeing a naked woman on screen for the first
time. Sex in the context of a story was part of the Meyer formula. In TEAS,
his trademark voiceover was born to make up for the lack of sync-sound.
Meyer claims to write his prologues and epilogues that contain the
socially-redeeming messages in his films, right after breakfast in about
half an hour. In a 1972 profile in FILM COMMENT, Roger Ebert describes these
narrations as one of Meyers "chief delights designed to sound portentous
and universally significant while, in fact, having little logical meaning at
all." While critics have pondered whether or not Mr. Meyers films are made
with a sense of humor, Ebert has no doubt that they are. Meyer brings a
surefire directness and ferocious sense of humor to his films, from the
stark, savage FASTER, PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL! and MOTORPSYCHO, to the day-glo
weirdness of BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS and SUPERVIXENS. Cinematheque
Programming Head Dennis Bartok says, "Watching the films of Russ Meyer
brings to mind what might have happened if the likes of Sam Fuller, Frank
Tashlin, Erskine Caldwell, R. Crumb and Henry Miller had put their libidos
(and brains) together to create a parallel universe."
Thursday, September 16, 1999
The Thursday, September 16th program begins at 8:00 PM with FASTER,
PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL! (1966, RM Films, 83 min.), a true masterpiece of
Sixties pop cinema. A trio of hard-drinking, car-racing strippers led by
the robustly exotic lesbian Tura Satana, terrorize everyone in sight -
including poor waif Susan Bernard and twisted rich cripple Stuart Lancaster.
The voluptuous villainesses are finally consumed by greed, lust and hate in
an orgy of self-destruction. Achingly funny and exhilarating from
start-to-slambang finish, with an amazing score by unsung greats Paul
Sawtell and Bert Shefter. A cult favorite that caught on with revisionist
feminists in the 1970s who lauded the picture for its portrayal of strong
female heroins. Discussion following the screening with director Russ Meyer
and actresses Tura Satana and Susan Bernard.
Friday, September 17, 1999
The Friday, September 17th program begins at 7:00 PM with a screening of an
ultra-Rare 35 mm print of MUDHONEY (1965, RM Films, 92 min.). Meyer turns
to Erskine Caldwell territory as horny hillbillies and ornery old cusses try
to lay their greasy hands on gorgeous country cousin Lorna Maitland. A
bawdy, barnyard classic that would turn Lil' Abner creator Al Capp pink with
envy! Following at 9:00 PM, is a Psycho-Sexual double-header beginning with
the screening of RUSS MEYER'S VIXEN, (1968, RM Films, 70 min.), Meyer's
first monster sex-hit, in which randy lumberjacks, faithful Canadian
Mounties and Cuban revolutionaries are just some of the fish skewered by
Vixen Erica Gavin (who in a strangely erotic scene does a dance for her
husband before a camp fire and slithers a freshly caught fish down the front
of her dress). The plot turns on a black Vietnam draft-evader (one of Vixen
s trysts) who is forced by a Scottish Communist visitor to fly him to Cuba.
A confrontation between The White Establishment and the Communist
Establishment ensues with talk of Cuban Marxism and airplane hijacking.
Roger Ebert called it "Meyer's best...a merciless put-on..." Next on the
same bill, is MOTORPSYCHO, (1965, RM Films, 74 min.), the fast-moving,
ultra-violent companion-piece to FASTER PUSSYCAT! Rural veterinarian Alex
Rocco goes up against three dirtbike-riding nutcases led by gonzo Stephen
Oliver, a short-fuse Nam vet bent on kidnapping Rocco's busty wife.
(Meyer's only regret was that he didn't have enough cash to use Harley
Davidson motorcycles for the film. Consequently, his MOTORPYSCHOS had to
ride scooters!) Discussion between films with actress Erica Gavin (VIXEN).
Saturday, September 18, 1999
The Saturday, September 18th program begins at 6:00 PM, with BEYOND THE
VALLEY OF THE DOLLS (1970, 20th Century Fox, 109 min.), which ads stated was
"not a sequel youve never seen ANYTHING like it." A lawsuit between the
studio and Valley of the Dolls author Jacqueline Susann gave Meyer and Ebert
creative license in turning this movie into something entirely of their own
creation. John Waters has called it his favorite movie and critics have
deemed it "trashy." In this over-the-top melodrama that milks every clich
of the genre, Dolly Reed, Marcia McBroom and the incredibly foxy Cynthia
Myers journey from Hicksville to Hollywood, hoping to make it with their
rock trio The Carrie Nations. They fall prey to drugs, booze and sex in the
wicked the music industry, as well as their own inflated ambitions, in what
is arguably Meyer's most purely entertaining, pop-culture sex-fest
(co-written by film critic Roger Ebert.) With additional tunes by The
Strawberry Alarm Clock. Discussion following the screening with director
Russ Meyer, actresses Edy Williams and Cynthia Myers, and actor John LaZar.
Following at 8:45 PM is Bad-Gal Double-Bill, starting with LORNA (1964, RM
Films, 79 min.), a movie billed as "shocking" and therefore "suitable for a
sophisticated adult audience upon its original release. It opens with a
hellfire-and-brimstone preacher warning us about driving down the Road to
Sin and evolves into a sensual picture about voluptuous, unfulfilled
housewife Lorna Maitland, who's lusted-after by her well-meaning boyfriend
and a pair of violent redneck deviants, climaxing in a two-fisted brawl to
end all brawls, Russ Meyer-style. Next on the same bill, is CHERRY, HARRY
AND RAQUEL, (1969, RM Films, 71 min.). Rock-jawed deputy Charles Napier is
in thrall to rich, bedridden misanthrope Franklin Bolger (the Lionel
Barrymore of the Meyer universe) who wants Apache, their turncoat
marijuana-dealing partner erased, pronto! Getting in the way of the
shoot-outs, beatings and car-crashes are sly whore Larissa Ely and Napier's
oversexed Brit galpal, Linda Ashton. Featuring the simply astounding Uschi
Digard (aka Astrid Lillimoor) as the German-speaking Native American ghost,
Soul! Must be seen to be believed. Actor Charles Napier ( CHERRY, HARRY &
RAQUEL) is scheduled to introduce the screenings.
Sunday, September 19, 1999
The Sunday, September 19th program begins at 4:00 PM with a repeat screening
of FASTER, PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL!, (1966, RM Films, 83 min.) See Thursday,
September 16th at 8:00 PM for details. Following at 6:00 PM, is the Sin &
Salvation double-header beginning with THE IMMORAL MR. TEAS, (1959, RM
Films, 63 min). This truly groundbreaking nudie-cutie from pioneer Meyer,
pokes fun at all skin-flicks that came before and dares to have fun with sex
at the end of the puritanical 50's. Mischievous, bicycle-riding, false
teeth delivery boy Bill Teas savors an erotic smorgasabord of naughty
delights and capacious sweethearts as he makes his way through town one
sunny afternoon. Next on the same bill, is a screening of GOOD MORNING...
AND GOODBYE (1967, RM Films, 80 min.), with writer Jack Moran once again
helping supply Meyer with the sidesplitting dialogue and narration.
Over-the-hill fat cat Stuart Lancaster can't hold onto his horny,
dying-for-it wife Alaina Capri in this hilarious and pneumatic tale of lost
love in California's Inland Empire. Featuring Haji as a free-spirited
wood-nymph/sorceress and Don Johnson as a sportscar-driving stud.
Wednesday, September 22, 1999
The Wednesday, September 22ND program begins at 8:00 PM with an ultra-rare
screening of THE SEVEN MINUTES (1971, 20th Century Fox, 106 min.), Meyer's
more-timely-than-ever expose of censorship and hypocrisy. Attorney Wayne
Maunder takes time out from balling girlfriend Edy Williams to defend studly
publisher Tom Selleck against obscenity charges. Irving Wallace's
supermarket bestseller receives BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS-treatment in
this devastating parody of everything from TV movies to overwrought
courtroom dramas. An incredible cast that also features the likes of John
Carradine, Yvonne DeCarlo and Charles Napier. Discussion following the
screening with actress Edy Williams and Actor Charles Napier (CHERRY, HARRY
Friday, September 24, 1999
The Friday, September 24th program begins at 7:00 PM with SUPERVIXENS,
(1975, RM Films, 106 min.), one of Meyer's certified over-the-top
masterworks, where Chuck Jones meets Dario Argento in the great arid
Southwest in a pared-to-the-bone, tongue-in-cheek sex thriller. Well-hung
but impotent psycho-cop Charles Napier murders super-bitchy Shari Eubanks in
literally the most electrifying death scene in Seventies cinema. She is
reincarnated as the kinder, gentler Super Angel and manages to cross paths
with her former boyfriend Charles Pitts and murderer Napier in an explosive
Loony-Tunes-inspired climax. Co-starrng Uschi Digard, Sharon Kelly and John
LaZar. Discussion following with director Russ Meyer. Following at 9:30 PM
is a repeat screening of BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS (1970, 20th Century
Fox, 109 min.). See Saturday, September 18th at 6:00 PM for details.
Saturday, September 25, 1999
The Saturday, September 25th program begins at 6:00 PM with a screening of
BENEATH THE VALLEY OF THE ULTRA-VIXENS (1979, 93 min.), the final film in
Meyer's VIXENS trilogy. The exuberant Kitten Natividad stars as Lavonia, a
frustrated housewife masquerading as stripper alter-ego Lola Langusta to get
even with her studying-to-be-an-accountant husband Lamar. One of Meyer's
most densely-populated and popular live action cartoons, ULTRAVIXENS is
teeming with such libidinous characters as Eufaula Roop (Ann-Marie), the
super-stacked psalm-singing faith healer of the airwaves, dental hygienist
Flovilla Thatch, and Lamar's demanding boss Junkyard Sal (June Mack).
Discussion following with director Russ Meyer and actress Kitten Natividad.
Following at 8:30 PM is a double header, starting with COMMON-LAW CABIN aka
HOW MUCH LOVING DOES A NORMAL COUPLE NEED? (1967, RM Films, 70 min.). A
ramshackle dude ranch in the desert is the setting for yet another romp with
inadequate husbands and their super-endowed wives. A bevy of
almost-supernatural females are on the look-out for fulfillment in the sack
(even if it means coupling with killer Ken Swofford). More outrageous fun
and hilarious dialogue courtesy of frequent Meyer collaborator, actor Jack
Moran. Also featuring Alaina Capri and French sin-sation Babette Bardot.
Next on the same bill, is FINDERS KEEPERS, LOVERS WEEPERS, (1968, 72 min.),
Meyer's ultra-cool noir knock-off. Joey Duprez plays a hapless stud
bartender involved with petulant strippers, twisted gangsters and
switch-hitting madams in a phantasmagoric world of neon nightclubs,
bottomless swimming pools and anything-goes-brothels. Can you dig it? Also
starring Ann Chapman and Lavelle Roby.
All interview requests for Mr. Meyer should be sent to the attention of
Margot Gerber (fax: 323.461.9737)
A complete calendar/flyer listing of these films has been mailed to you.
??BLACK & WHITE PHOTOS AND PRESS NOTES ARE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST ??
WE DO NOT HAVE GUARANTEED PRESS PASSES TO PUBLIC SCREENINGS. IT IS
RECOMMENDED THAT YOU TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE ADVANCE PRESS SCREENINGS.
REQUESTS FOR PRESS TICKETS TO PUBLIC SCREENINGS MUST BE IN WRITING AND
SHOULD BE FAXED TO 323.461.9737 ATTN: MARGOT GERBER, 24 HOURS PRIOR TO SHOW
ADVANCE THEATRICAL PRESS SCREENINGS ARE NOT SCHEDULED FOR THIS SERIES. MOST
FILMS WILL BE AVAILABLE ON VIDEOTAPE (NTSC) AT THE OFFICES OF THE AMERICAN
CINEMATHEQUE (CALL 323.461-2020 ext. 115 or 116 TO SCHEDULE SCREENINGS) OR
AT LOCAL VIDEO STORES LISTED BELOW. CALL US TO FIND OUT WHICH STORES HAVE
Tapes Available at the Cinematheque office:
BENEATH THE VALLEY OF THE ULTRA-VIXENS CHERRY & HARRY & RAQUEL
COMMON-LAW CABIN FASTER, PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL!
FINDERS KEEPERS, LOVERS WEEPERS GOOD MORNING AND GOODBYE
SUPER VIXENS THE IMMORAL MR. TEAS
The following stores have copies of most titles in the series.
Jerrys Video (1904 Hillhurst, Los Feliz - 323.666.7471)
Rocket Video (726 N. La Brea - 323.965.1100)
Cinefile (11280 Santa Monica Blvd. - Near Sepulveda Ave. - 310.312.8836)
Vidiots (302 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica - 310/392-8508)
THE PROGRAM IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE.
Upcoming at the American Cinematheque:
Death: A Love Story (LA Premiere of new independent feature) - Sept. 7
Temporary Girl (LA Premiere of new independent feature) - Sept. 23
70 MM Festival I.B. Technicolor Festival Billy Wilder Retrospective
Women in Shorts
Recent Spanish Cinema 2000 (Featuring a Retrospective Tribute to Director
New Hollywood of the 60s & 70s