Friday, November 13, 2015

The Flesh Merchant (1956)

AKA: The Wild and the Wicked

Director: W. Merle Connell

Writers: Jay M. Kude, Peter Perry Jr.

Composer:  ???

Starring: Joy Reynolds, Geri Moffatt, Marko Perri, Guy Manford, Lisa Rack, Ted Soares, Sam Rosen, Edward Schaaf, Fred Humphrey, Lyle Kirk, Wayne Winton, Debbie Marshall, Raymond Guth, Norman Wright

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Blasts the lid off an infamous Hollywood vice racket!

Plot: A girl visiting her sister in Hollywood hopes for a modeling career, but is tricked by pimps into working at a brothel.

My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

So-so sexploitation/roughie that hits the right beats of sleaziness and gratuitous nudity except that it's really lazy with the boobs.  All of the close up nudity comes from inserted film made elsewhere.  For example, you've got a bunch of people around a pool.  Many of the women are naked but you only see them from a wide shot and randomly you see a close up of a nude model posing or a sunbather that is completely isolated from the rest of the scene and it's obvious this was done in post.  The story is what you'd expect and the acting is pretty decent for most of the cast.  There's also the odd slapping women around to keep them in line aspect that will attract/turn off some folks.  One scene has the 'pimp' beating the snot out of one girl.  It's pretty fuckin' harsh but interesting at the same time beings how this was made 60 years ago.  The picture runs 55 minutes and the pacing is such that it's hard to lose interest or let boredom set in.  The version I saw (the title card says it's the restored version, more on that in a moment) is from the Secret Key Motion Pictures 2-DVD set.  The first disc has the film and lots of extras.  You get 4 nudie shorts which is nude women doing what comes natural like sitting on rocks, playing badminton, swimming, reading love letters in your bedroom, etc.  These have no dialogue but with fun music on the soundtrack.  They're also all from the (I'll have to take their word for it) 1950s and it's from these that those inserted nude shots were culled from for THE FLESH MERCHANT.  Then there's 3 trailers for Secret Key's DVDs for Skin in the 50s (this set), Skin in the 60s and Grindhouse Trash.  There's more.  They've also included a 12 minute featurette called Panels After Dark: Joe Sarno Retrospect (it's good for what they show in so little time) and then it's 9 trailers for Sarno's films.  That's just disc 1.  Disc 2 starts off with 19 nudie loops (like the ones on disc 1 I'm pretty sure some of these are from the 60s...but who cares, right?), and then it's 9 trailers for Secret Key's production (all new stuff up until 2007) and 2 trailers for the Skin in the 50s and 60s that were on disc 1 (really, guys?  Repeating extras?).  You can pick up this set for $20 easy.  Is it worth it? Well, if this is your bag, the movie's not unwatchable and Secret Key loads up 2 DVDs full of boob-laden extras, so yeah.

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