Saturday, May 7, 2011

Up! (aka Russ Meyer's Up!)

(1976, USA, 80min)
d/p/ph/ed Russ Meyer sc Russ Meyer, Roger Ebert ad Michael Levesque m William Loose, Paul Ruhland cast Raven de la Croix, Janet Wood, Robert McLane, Larry Dean, Monty Bane, Bob Schott, Kitten Natividad, Linda Sue Ragsdale, Edward Schaaf, Mary Gavin, Marianne Marks

Meyer’s penultimate feature is a cornucopia of his lunatic obsessions, with more blood and nudity than ever before, fantastically elongated prosthetic penises (in teasing glimpses), the magnificent Raven de la Croix doing her best Mae West impersonation, and a piranha-in-the-bathtub murder (the victim: a distinctively mustachioed Adolf "Schwarz"). Will the villain be Eva Braun Jr? Or perhaps hulking, axe-wielding backwards backwoodsman Rafe? What about sleazy Leonard Box? The action is frequently interrupted by joyous scenes of idyllic rural love-making, and regular recaps from the irrepressible Kitten Natividad as a leather-booted Greek chorus, the perfect hostess for such mythologically fetishistic excess. With a frolicsome pace, a consistently witty script from none other than Roger Ebert, a sense that Meyer has perfected his personal form, and just plain good film-making, it’s a masterpiece, of sorts.

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