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  Beneath the Valley of the Ultravixens Marriage Misguidance
Year: 1979
Director: Russ Meyer
Stars: Kitten Natividad, Ken Kerr, Ann Marie, June Mack, Patrick Wright, Stuart Lancaster, Michael Finn, Robert Pearson, Sharon Hill, DeForest Covan, Don Scarborough, Aram Katcher, Henry Rowland, Steve Tracy, Uschi Digard, Russ Meyer
Genre: Comedy, Sex, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 2 votes)
Review: Martin Bormann (Henry Rowland) is now a resident of Smalltown, U.S.A. and tonight he is appreciating the music of his mechanical piano while local radio evangelist Eufaula Roop (Ann Marie) plays a game of Pong. Bormann strips off and climbs into his coffin, covering himself with a sheet with two eye-holes cut into it and Eufaula begins her dance... Just one of the sexual acts in Smalltown, where the appetites are healthy and the folks are full of passion. And across the way, Lavonia (Kitten Natividad) is trying to interest her husband Lamar (Ken Kerr) in a night of thrills, but he's too busy doing the accounts despite her best efforts - which might turn out to be a good thing considering what he gets up to when aroused.

Beneath the Valley of the Ultravixens holds a special place in film history as the last ever, proper film directed by cult auteur Russ Meyer. It was scripted by critic Roger Ebert under a psuedonym from Meyer's story, but if you're expecting the over the top laughs of Ebert's Beyond the Valley of the Dolls then you may well find this film curiously laugh-free. It takes Meyer's particular style about as far as it would go, and although promising a sequel at the close ("The Jaws of Vixen"), it was the end of the line for its creator, unless you count the video documentary on Pandora Peaks he made about twenty years later.

The film takes marital difficulties as its theme, and Lamar and Lavonia's problems are that he can't satisfy his wife sexually, probably because he can only enjoy intercourse anally rather than the more traditional fashion. The result of this is that Lavonia is unfaithful to him to get her kicks, and with just about every man who comes along. So what's the solution? The couple certainly go to great lengths to work this out, and the virtually plotless ramble includes an abundance of sex scenes bringing the usually teasing Meyer about as close to hardcore as he ever got.

Lamar works at the junkyard, under its owner Junkyard Sal (June Mack) - literally, as we're shown when to keep his job Lamar is seduced by her, but she goes right off him when his predilection becomes plain... yes, he's even going to be unemployed because of this. Meanwhile, Lavonia has an idea when she's visited by a door-to-door underwear salesman (Michael Finn), who she has her wicked way with of course. Lavonia is unveiled as Lola, a Mexican stripper in the local bar who, through complex machinations, drugs Lamar's beer and shags him while he's unconscious, hoping this will cure him. But it doesn't.

And so Ultravixens drags on, being one of Meyer's longest films and feeling it. The cast are cartoonishly energetic, and appropriate for the stag film humour, with Natividad displaying uncommon enthusiasm in her peformance but there's only so many times you can see her bouncing up and down before it begins to get tiresomely repetitive. There are variations on the central plot, with Lamar and Lavonia going to a dentist who doubles as a counsellor (Robert Pearson), but he's a camp homosexual who tries to rape Lamar while Lavonia takes pleasure in his nurse (Sharon Hill). Which isn't exactly hilarious. It seemed the times were catching up with Meyer, and here he showed himself to have run out of ideas. Music by William Tasker.

[This film is available as part of a special edition 3 DVD box set of the Vixen Trilogy, with extras including featurettes, commentaries by the late Russ Meyer, and photo galleries.]
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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