Oprah Movie Club Pick for February--Part Two: Vixen!
1968 X-rated movie
Plot: The wife of a Canadian pilot at a resort sleeps with pretty much everybody.
This was the very first X-rated movie actually, and I bet there aren't a lot of X-rated movies that came after it that start out like documentaries on Canadian bush pilots. By the way, I believe this ties my record for most X-rated (or NC-17) movies in a row at 2. At the Bible college, my buddy Kent and I had time for a couple movies and went with a Henry and June and The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover.
This isn't a great movie, but Erica Gavin brings a certain vivaciousness to the role of Vixen Palmer. There's at least sort of a story for this one although it doesn't entertain nearly as much as Meyer's less-pornographic earlier work. As expected, the X-rating for this has faded over time. There's a lot of sex and nudity, but there's nothing going on here that would make this deserving of that rating if it were released anywhere near today.
I'm not completely sure what statements Meyer is trying to make with all this although I'm sure he's trying to say something. The main character is so blatantly racist toward Harrison Page's Niles character, a black guy apparently in a motorcycle gang named after a Syd Barrett album--Madcaps. I don't know if lines about him having as much chance of getting with her as "finding a watermelon in the winter" would have been nearly as shocking back then, but they stand out now as dated and juvenile. However, that Niles character pops in a couple more times, and you have to wonder if Meyer is up to something. Same with a socialist character who comes in because Russ Meyer apparently decided he wanted a different plot late in the movie. He pontificates on both the ground and in a helicopter, and I kept trying to find connections between all the sex that was happening and Communism.
Perhaps I was overthinking things. Maybe it was meant just to be a humorously delightful sex romp where Erica Gavin's good were frequently on display. If that's the case, thanks for both the incest, a scene in which Gavin's groans really are something; some lesbianism, awkwardly sleazy with a woman repeating "not bad, not bad" like it's something a lesbian would actually say; and a seductive fish dance that probably would have ended up arousing Oprah.
Two more things that I liked:
A really interesting jazzy score, music not afraid to get a little abstract.
And a great breaking of the fourth wall with a "The End?" at, naturally, the end.
No, this isn't nearly as good as Russ Meyer's best movies of the 60s, but it's better than Up! and at least fun enough to watch once.