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  First Nudie Musical, The Naked AmbitionBuy this film here.
Year: 1976
Director: Mark Haggard, Bruce Kimmel
Stars: Stephen Nathan, Cindy Williams, Bruce Kimmel, Leslie Ackerman, Alexandra Morgan, Alan Abelew, Diana Canova, Frank Doubleday, Ron Howard
Genre: Musical, Comedy, Sex
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Struggling movie producer Harry Schechter (Stephen Nathan) has been forced to turn his small Hollywood studio into a company that makes porno films, unbeknownst to his father who used to run the studio in its glory days. He is about to have to sell the business when he has an idea - making a porno musical will bring the money rolling in and save the studio. But will things go according to plan when they only have two weeks to complete the film?

Written by producer, co-director and star Bruce Kimmel, who also composed the songs, The First Nudie Musical could have been made as a Judy Garland-Mickey Rooney musical back in the forties - if they'd left out the sexual angle, of course. It's that battling against the odds, making do with what you've got and general air of enthusiasm that marks this effort as sticking closely to its genre, with the nudity being nothing more than a gimmick; there's nothing hardcore here, apart from the strong language.

The winning performances help the film through its variable script, as some jokes are laugh out loud funny, others are too corny to raise a titter. The character with the best comic mileage is John Smithee (Kimmel), a nephew of one of the backers who has been brought in to direct the picture, despite having no experience, sexual or otherwise. He willing to learn (his opening speech to the cast is very amusing), but his ineptitude leads the producer to continually send him out for doughnuts, so that he won't cause havoc by playing with the crane or being too embarrassed to order any of the actors about.

The whole production looks cheap, with the rehearsal room having little furniture except for a hatstand and a piano, and the stage itself obviously being the stage the real filmmakers are using. The plot of the musical within the musical is so vague that the producer and his secretary (Cindy Williams) are able to take over for the final big number without harming the continuity! Kimmel's music is not too bad for comedy songs, with titles like "Lesbian Butch Dyke", "Perversion" and "Dancing Dildoes", but there's also the odd (very odd in this context) serious song thrown in.

The British 1970s sex comedy Eskimo Nell is the closest thing to this I can think of, with its none-too-subtle digs at the state of contemporary filmmaking and what it takes to get your production made, summed up by the fact that something as wholesome as an old-style Hollywood musical could be a hit if a lot of sex was included (ironically, this film was a flop when it was first released). There may not be much of a plot, and what plot there is is predictable, but the good-natured humour brings you round. Listen for lines like "Can you sing scales?" "Scales! Scales!" and "Gotta sing! Gotta Dance! While I take off my pants!"
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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Bruce Kimmel  (19?? - )

American writer, actor, songwriter and director whose debut movie was The First Nudie Musical, which, although Paramount ensured it flopped on first release so as not to damage the reputation of its hit family sitcom Laverne and Shirley (they both starred Cindy Williams), went on to cult success. The same can't be said for Kimmel's follow up, The Creature Wasn't Nice, and he now works in the music industry.

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