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Here's to you, Mr. Roddenberry...,
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This review is from: Pretty Maids All In A Row [Remaster] (DVD)
Gene Roddenberry was a wacky guy. And I mean that as a high compliment. After leaving Star Trek, he really let himself go nuts, and we have a singularly wild film as a result. It's no secret that Mr. Roddenberry had an eye for the ladies and that he embraced the sixties youth movement with enthusiastic abandon. Freed from the constraints of television, this is the result. While it never quite decides what kind of film it's going to be, I think that's in its favor... it's a little bit of everything in proportions that you'd never normally find. I'm not sure it hits any of its notes with total success, but what it lacks in that department, it more than makes up for in sheer chutzpah. Is it a post-Barbarella, Roger Vadim romp? Check. A forty-something's fantasy of what it must be to come-of-age at the tail end of the swingin' sixties? Check. Is it a romantic comedy? Check. Is it a crime drama about a serial killer? Check. A murder mystery? Of course. Does Rock Hudson wear what appears to be a mumu? Yes, again. Do we have a police team made up of Telly Savalas, James Doohan, and Keenan Wynn? Yup. Is it drive-in goodness? Uh-huh. Does it get highbrow, with Rock (as Gene's sometimes-surrogate) pontificating on the ills of modern education, quoting Moliere, rappin' with his high school students, and mackin' around like a hepcat Captain Kirk? Absolutely. Does a vital plot point involve a frightened teenaged boy backing away from Angie Dickinson and sitting on a booze-filled, chocolate duck statue? Yes, again. (What great film doesn't have such a sequence?) Is it full of awkwardly inappropriate pedagogical conduct? Oy! Oh, boyoboyoboy. Yessireebob. Do we even see Roddy McDowell praise "great little cheerleaders"? Of course. Gene would not let you down. It even has a Terry Southern vibe at times, with a Russ Meyeresque love of visual puns. Yeah, they're often Freudian groaners, but they're in there with unapologetic glee.
It's trashy fun, just as nature intended... with some profound Roddenberrianisms lurking under the surface. I've shown it to a number of friends over the years, and they all like it. None of us can explain why, except that, like A GUIDE FOR THE MARRIED MAN, it's the kind of wildly un-PC tour-de-force that you'd never get from a movie today. Is that a good thing? You be the judge. Fans of mondo cinema should have a great time.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 9, 2010 4:11:29 PM PST
Paul Beauparlant says:
nice review. just one question: what does "mackin' around" mean and /or where does the phrase come from?
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2010 4:25:41 AM PST
To pursue women with swagger and confidence.
Posted on Sep 2, 2011 8:11:06 PM PDT
P. Silverman says:
Good review. Would you know if Little Richard was supposed to be in this picture? On a TV Show in 1970, he mentioned a film project with Rock Hudson. Thank you!
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 19, 2011 3:00:04 AM PST
I can't see a part for Little Richard in the film, but it's so freewheeling that I'm sure Gene could have written one in.
Posted on Jan 1, 2012 2:18:26 PM PST
One little point -- Roddenberry was one of the writers, but Roger Vadim directed. Don't you think Vadim should be given more credit for this movie? It's very like a lot of Vadim films -- misogenistic and, well, kinda creepy. However juvenile and strange the movie is, I think it's one of the best assemblages of attractive actresses from that time ever in one film.
In reply to an earlier post on Jan 1, 2012 3:23:28 PM PST
Quite right. A meeting of minds!
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