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Russ Meyer (1922 - 2004)

Related: breast fetishism - erotic movies - nudity in film - nudist and nudie film - sexploitation - The Immoral Mr. Teas (1959) - American cinema

Comparable directors: Bigas Luna

Russ Meyer (March 21, 1922 - September 18, 2004) [image from Supervixens (1975)]

Biography

Russell Albion "Russ" Meyer (March 21, 1922 - September 18, 2004) was an American motion picture director.

He made a number of amateur films at the age of 15, and worked during World War II as a newsreel cameraman. Upon returning to civilian life, he became a glamour photographer, and found himself working for Hugh Hefner's newly launched Playboy magazine.

From here, he became a director of nudie films. His films are more ribaldry than pornography, and seem unusually focused on women with large breasts. His later films are almost entirely devoted to this vision; his discoveries include Kitten Natividad and Uschi Digard. He co-wrote Beyond the Valley of the Dolls with film critic Roger Ebert. Faster, Pussycat. . . Kill! Kill! is usually considered to be his greatest, or at least his most idiosyncratic, picture.

Meyer was known for his quick wit. While participating with Roger Ebert in a panel discussion at Yale University, he was confronted by an angry woman who accused him of being "nothing but a breast man". His immediate reply: "That's only the half of it."

Meyer died at his home in the Hollywood Hills, of complications of pneumonia and dementia. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russ_Meyer [Sept 2004]

Sex-Crazed Cinema

Russ Meyer's "Sex-Crazed Cinema" Retrospective in LA, 1999

"Watching the films of Russ Meyer," begins an American Cinematheque announcement, "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 inhabited by luscious, loving angels and cat-scratching vixens, bitter old drunks and borderline psychotics." The press release crossed our desktops late last week as the Cinematheque unveiled the line-up for a ten-day retrospective screening the "sex-crazed cinema" of filmmaker Russ Meyer.

Meyer, along with stars Edy Williams, Cynthia Myers, Tura Santana and Kitten Natividad will participate in discussions following select film screenings at Hollywood's Egyptian Theater, home of the American Cinematheque. Among the films that will be screened are "Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!," "Mudhoney," "Russ Meyer's Vixen," "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls," "Lorna," "The Immoral Mr. Teas," "The Seven Minutes," "Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens," and "Common-Law Cabin aka How Much Loving Does a Normal Couple Need."

[For more information, visit the American Cinematheque website at: http://www.americancinematheque.com.]

More films

  1. Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970) - Russ Meyer [Amazon.com]
    You either love Russ Meyer's garishly sexist movies about bodacious babes and priapic men or you find them utterly disgusting. The response to his work is that clear-cut. This film, which features a screenplay by critic Roger Ebert, barely qualifies as a sequel to the film based on Jacqueline Susann's trashy bestseller. Rather, it's a broad, trashy remake on its own terms about what happens to a trio of female rock musicians when they leave the Midwest and head for Hollywood. Sex, drugs, murder--the only thing it doesn't have is cannibalism, the gold standard when it comes to trashy entertainment. --Marshall Fine, Amazon.com

  2. Faster Pussycat Kill Kill (1965) - Russ Meyer [1 VHS, Amazon US]
    Atypical Russ Meyer movie that features none of his exploitive trademarks but actually concentrates on characterizations of his three stars---the incomparable Tura Satana, sultry Haji, and way-out California girl Lori Williams. Great b&w photography as the girls(go-go dancers in a sleazy club) head out in wild sports cars into the desert in search of thrills. Well, they get 'em when Satana kills a guy and they abduct his screaming idiot girlfriend. They hide out at a desert ranch headed by a VERY weird father/son clan. Satana believes there's a lot of moola on the property somewhere and she aims to find it one way or another. Acting is above-average for a Meyer piece and the film is consistently watchable throughout. No nudity(except for some tasteful bare-back shots as they bathe after the desert incident) and the women are not stupid but tired of being used. This is a first-rate bona-fide cult classic right here and deserves a pristine transfer to DVD. mark norvell for amazon.com

Uschi Digard (1948)

Uschi Digard (born August 15, 1948 in Bismarck, North Dakota, USA), is an erotic actress and figure model. She credited under various pseudonyms.

Uschi Digard moved with her parents to Scandinavia, where she starred in several avant-garde movies in Sweden (not porn) and came back to the United States in 1966.

Uschi Digard speaks several languages (German, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, French and English). Before she started her model career she was working as a translator for the jewelry trade.

She has appeared in numerous B-movies, many Russ Meyer films, some pornographic movies and a number of men's magazines.

Uschi Digard is married and lives in Palm Springs. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uschi_Digard [Nov 2005]

Vixen

1. A female fox.
2. A woman regarded as quarrelsome, shrewish, or malicious.
--AHD

Russ Meyer actresses

Scene in " Vixen"
image sourced here.

Scene from "Lorna"
image sourced here.

Books

  • Valley of the Dolls: A Novel - Jacqueline Susann [Amazon US]
    Sex and drugs and shlock and more--Jacqueline Susann's addictively entertaining trash classic about three showbiz girls clawing their way to the top and hitting bottom in New York City has it all. Though it's inspired by Susann's experience as a mid-century Broadway starlet who came heartbreakingly close to making it, but did not, and despite its reputation as THE roman clef of the go-go 1960s, the novel turned out to be weirdly predictive of 1990s post-punk, post-feminist, post "riot grrrl" culture. Jackie Susann may not be a writer for the ages, but--alas!--she's still a writer for our times. --Amazon.com

  • Lips Hips Tits Power : The Films Of Russ Meyer (2004) - Doyle Greene (Author) [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    Russ Meyer is the breast-fixated filmmaker who started as a nude pin-up photographer and progressed through his own startling brand of B-cinema to direct probably the most bizarre film ever funded by a major Hollywood -studio—Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.

    Meyer’s 1960s films—including Mudhoney, Motorpsycho! and the legendary Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!—are now venerated as modern classics, and Lips Hips Tits Power examines Meyer’s entire cinematic oeuvre in -detail, affording it the serious analysis it undeniably warrants.

    Featuring famous girls from Meyer’s repertory company such as Tura Satana, Kitten Natividad, Uschi Digard, Haji and Erica Gavin, Lips Hips Tits Power offers a visual feast of buxotic female flesh to offset its critical commentary, resulting in a book which operates on two—equally stimulating—levels. --Book Description

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