Nr 463: The First Nudie Musical (1976)

16 Jan

The First Nudie Musical (movie)
Screenplay, Music & Lyrics: Bruce Kimmel

Gotta sing, Gotta dance
While I’m Taking of my pants


The son of an almost famous studio owner is forced to make porno films to keep the bankrupt studio from being made into a shopping center. The films have titels like Teenage Sexmutants and Stewardesses in Cages. But lately these films have started to flop. In an attempt to get back on the high ground he decides to make a new kind of porno, a musical comedy porno. He makes a bet with the debtors who wish to take ownership of the studio, that if they finance the musical and he can’t complete it within two weeks, they can foreclose.
Ribald humor, bawdy songs and plenty of skin abounds in this sophomoric satire that while unabashedly trashy, has developed a bit of a cult following.

I found the films soundtrack album in a record store in Sweden when I was a teenager and I found it deliciously smutty. I loved going around town and with a loud voice sing the songs in the hope that I would shock people. But it was the seventies so people, at least in Sweden, weren’t that easily shocked about sexual stuff. I was a bit disappointed, I mean there I was singing about Dancing Dildos, cunnilingus and Orgasms and people just thought it cute or absolutely normal… Ah, the seventies…
I loved the songs then and I still do. But I didn’t actually get a chance to see the film itself until it came out on DVD in the early noughties. I have just revisited it so it would be fresh in my mind for this blog and I can tell you that it still holds up pretty well. Some of the physical comedy feels a little forced and dated, but the dialogue is still funny and had me laughing out loud quite a few times and some of the show numbers are pure delights. It’s pretty crude and has a low-budget feel with a ”musical-within-a-movie” theme, but with satirical sexual humor and if you like that kind of thing (and I do), it’s definitely worth seeking out!
They’ve added a very funny hour long retrospective documentary as a bonus on the DVD.

The budget for the picture was $125 000. It got picked up by Paramount Pictures for distribution. But when the studio saw the finished product they thought it dragged a bit in the middle and they asked Bruce to shoot some new scenes. So he came up with the Dancing Dildos number. The studio asked ”Are there nude girls in the number?” ”Yes”, he answered and they gave him $75 000 just to shoot that scene!

There are som great future stars in this movie:
Cindy Williams who already had a nice little movie career going on, got her big break through on tv the same year the film premiered in the tv-series Laverne & Shirley. She played Shirley for 8 seasons. Laverne & Shirley was a spin-off of the sitcom Happy Days (1974-84).
Future director Ron Howard was the star of Happy Days and he did a cameo in this movie.
Cindy and Ron also played girlfriend and boyfriend in the George Lucas film American Graffiti (1973).
Diana Canova went on to play Corinne Tate in the sitcom Soap (Lödder in Sweden).
And director, actor, author, composer and lyric writer Bruce Kimmel has starred in and directed a lot of films and tv-series. He has also written plays and musicals (among them The Brain from Planet X, which you can find on this blogg, it’s nr 200). From 1988 to 1993, Kimmel co-owned the specialty label, Bay Cities, releasing over 100 albums that included American classical music, cast albums, and soundtracks. In 1993, Kimmel became a full time record producer with his own division at Varese Sarabande, producing many cast albums (Broadway and off-Broadway), Broadway singers, and musical theater concept albums, first for the Varese Sarabande, and then for a company he founded, Fynsworth Alley. His current label Kritzerland has issued close to 400 albums including cast albums, singers, and a series of reissues of limited edition soundtracks.

The film actually got some great reviews and became a minor hit. The first week of its wide release, it was the fourth highest-grossing picture in the country, behind Star Wars, You Light Up My Life, and The Spy Who Loved Me.

The actual first nudie musical is considered to be the 1963 nudie-cutie Goldilocks and the Three Bares (1963)

Press:
Chockful of youthful talent, well spiced by outrageousness and sparked by invention. The three stars are simply irresistible. Cindy Williams is enchanting, Kimmel is the ultimate appealing schnook. Fresh and funny and funky. Made for about 1 percent of the budget of New York, New York, but a hundred times funnier and more perceptive. It’s the Star Wars of nudie musicals.
– Judith Crist, New York Post

More vitality, imagination, zany comedy and stellar performances than most movies. It’s one of the most memorable movies of this year. A raunchy delight. Cindy Williams is a marvel! Kimmel is a joy to watch!
– Joseph Gelmiş, Newsday

A Mel Brooksian salute to porno chic.
– Bruce Williamson, Playboy

Silly, sophomoric, at times downright inept, this little low-budget venture picked up by Paramount is more often than not hilarious, offering good, tonic laughter to those not offended by nudity and blunt language.
– Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times

Basically a one-joke idea that wears thin despite an air of amiability.
– Leonard Maltin’s Film Guide (two stars out of four)

A few clever bits are downed in a larger sea of silliness, forced gags and predictable cliche.
– Arthur D Murphy, Variety

Videos:
C’mon Honey
The Red Band Trailer
Audition scene
A ”naked” tv-review of the movie from 1976

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