Eve (Eve Meyer) has a mission to undertake, and it's a big one, following the handyman (Anthony-James Ryan) around his daily routine, but to what end? She is keeping that quiet, just as she manages to be discreet about her pursuit of the hapless chap, peeking through his bedroom window first thing in the morning to watch him awake thanks to his noisy alarm clock. It's too noisy, actually, and the handyman cannot turn it off, even when he attempts to drown it in the bathtub, and now it's waking his neighbours until he throws it in the trash and it's taken away. Not a great start to the day...
Eve and the Handyman was the second feature of cult director Russ Meyer, and followed the humorous lead of his first, The Immoral Mr Teas, although with significantly less nudity involved. Mainly this was a series of gags, about half of which were of the blue variety, the other half being simple slapstick or ways to comically put the handyman in difficult situations. Even the "dirty" jokes were fairly mild and innocuous, although offered a historical value as to what was considered racy in 1961 - Britain's Carry On movies were stronger stuff during this decade, although they did not feature the occasional nude as this did.
The chief focus of the humour is that Eve, in her role as a private detective (or so we think), is tracking this man who is utterly unaware that he is under surveillance, and as we watch we cannot fathom why he is being followed either, as his activities are consistently mundane throughout. Eve was Meyer's wife at the time, and produced quite a few of what went on to be regarded as his trash classics, meaning she was a significant figure in his career and sometimes overlooked despite that. She had made her name as a model before moving into the movies, and here spends most of her time wrapped in a raincoat with a beret planted on her head.
Eve does take her clothes off in her other roles as a recurring fantasy woman for the handyman to encounter, but it's mostly her cleavage that her husband concentrated upon, so no topless shots or anything like that - three other models take care of this side of things. Nevertheless, it's she who makes the biggest impression, and you might regret that she moved behind the camera after this effort, although she was instrumental in getting those Meyer films treasured by his fans made. Sadly, she died in the Tenerife plane crash of 1977, cutting short a successful career in business; she had divorced Meyer by this time, although had produced a few more of his films after their separation.
As to this film, nobody is going to mistake it for one of the auteur's classics, but its amusing enough in its limited manner, resembling a saucy comic strip come to life. Grown up humour according to this means the handyman gets stuck in a women's toilet when he's cleaning it, not wishing to be discovered when a couple of ladies walk in, so he gets his foot wet in the bowl: not exactly hilarious, but not something you would get in a Hollywood comedy of its day either. In the main this is harmless stuff, even if the tone of spoofing and chumminess is strangely overbearing, as if Meyer is leaning over your shoulder and grinning "I know what you really want to see, bud!" As the handyman turns tree surgeon or janitor, he does encounter some shapely females, but little to set the pulse racing nowadays - it's quaint for the most part.
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.