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  Immoral Mr Teas, The The Barenaked LadiesBuy this film here.
Year: 1959
Director: Russ Meyer
Stars: Bill Teas, Ann Peters, Marily Wesley, Michelle Roberts, Dawn Danielle
Genre: Comedy, Sex
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: Nature's wonders range from the forests to the seas via the rivers, all entrancing in their power and beauty, but what of the modern cities with their ever present need to build bigger and better constructions? Where does this place the common man such as deliveryman Mr Teas (Bill Teas)? He goes about the daily grind without much joy, and with incidents like little girls knocking his hat off and toothache distracting him, it's no wonder. But what if he could see what really preoccupies him: the unclothed female form?

Photographer Russ Meyer started his career in movies with this quaint, cartoonish film illustrating that adolescent fantasy, being able to see everyone naked. Well, not everyone obviously, there are plenty of people you certainly wouldn't want to see naked. This ability could be a mixed blessing - or a curse of damnation! Anyway, with a shooting schedule of less than a week he started the ball rolling on what became a staple of Hollywood movies for grownups: screen nudity. Simply by filming a few young ladies in their undressed state, he filled a need that many audiences had, but would never admit to in polite society.

So step forward the viewer's surrogate Mr Teas - it was assumed that everyone who wanted to see these efforts, nicknamed nudie cuties, were all men. He only sees certain young ladies without their clothes on, and rest assured, the nudity is all tastefully done with the models either in a studio situation, deliberately artificial as that is, or in the great outdoors to underline the healthy outlook that shedding your garments and wandering around in the altogether provided. Or that was the idea, and from this tiny acorn did grow the mighty oak whose branches included the nudist movie that prompted many imitators, all the way up to the casual nakedness in certain movies today, although there's rarely anything casual about it.

Apparently this was inspired by Jacques Tati's Mr Hulot films, with Teas a comic character who spends the first half hour accidentally stumbling onto situations where he'll see a woman displaying a cavernous cleavage, never saying a word. Or rather, he does speak but we never hear what he is saying, as if it wasn't especially important and we should be letting the visuals do the talking. In place of dialogue was the cheaper option: the light-hearted, pretentious narration which should have raised a smile even if the silent comedy didn't. As with much Meyer narration, there was the inclusion of many a solid fact as if to keep your mind off the sights he was presenting, though how many watched his films for that is in the low numbers.

At just over an hour long, it The Immoral Mr Teas didn't outstay its welcome, even if it comes across as somewhat uneventful by today's standards. After that first half, the leading man does live up to his name in the mildest manner possible when he has that troublesome tooth taken out, represented by a dream sequence where we see a huge molar extracted. Thereafter, he actively seeks out women to steal a look at, even if the main section, where three of the females he has encountered so far go sunbathing and frolicking near to where he is fishing, is a dream sequence. This is what you wanted, Meyer seems to state, and there's nothing to be ashamed of in that - the fact that it took another decade for nudity to catch on in mainstream cinema might hint otherwise, however. Plus: find out the density of water. Also with: Meyer in an audience.

Fin.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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Russ Meyer  (1922 - 2004)

American director and one of the most notable cult filmmakers of the 60s and 70s. Meyer worked as a newsreel cameraman during World War II, before becoming a photographer. In 1959, his work for Playboy led to his first film – the hugely successful ‘nudie’ feature The Immoral Mr Teas. Other soft-core features followed before Meyer moved to a series of trashy, thrilling B-movies – Mudhoney, Motor Psycho and Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! – that combined the two elements – incredibly voluptuous women and graphic violence – that would become Meyer’s trademark.

Cherry, Harry & Raquel! and Vixen were more sexual and cartoonish, developing Meyer’s excellent visual sense and skilful editing techniques. Meyer made two films for 20th Century Fox – the bawdy satire Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (written by critic Roger Ebert) and the semi-serious The Seven Minutes, but their commercial failure led the director to return to his independent roots. Supervixens, Up! and 1979’s Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens were even more energetic, inventive and sex-filled than their predecessors, the latter proving to be the last film Meyer directed.

 
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