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  Chastity Runaway Girl
Year: 1969
Director: Alessio de Paola
Stars: Cher, Barbara London, Stephen Whittaker, Tom Nolan, Danny Zapien, Elmer Valentine, Burke Rhind, Richard Armstrong, Autumn, Joe Light, Dolly Hunt, Jason Clark
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: Chastity (Cher) is running, running, running away! But from what? She has no home to go to so hitchhikes around the highways instead, as she does tonight when she is picked up by yet another truck driver who takes her out of the rainswept darkness and into a motel room. Chastity is adamant that she will live up to her name and nothing happens between them, so the trucker drops off leaving her musing over her place in the world. There is a dark secret in her past, but can she come to terms with it?

Well, probably not on the strength of this. After Sonny Bono and Cher (here credited as Chér, with a pretentious accent over the "e") made a bit of cinematic fluff called Good Times, Bono decided that what the world really needed was not something lightly entertaining such as that but a gritty drama about a young drifter, starring who else but his partner. He produced, wrote the script and the songs on the soundtrack as well, so this was presumably a project close to his heart, yet the film ended up flopping and Cher wouldn't act again on the big screen until the eighties dawned.

And don't forget when that decade did eventually arrive, Cher's thespian talents won her an Oscar in Moonstruck, a fact that seems nothing less than incredible when you witness her stilted, uncharismatic performance here. The whole production is tiresomely self-indulgent as we're supposed to see Chastity (who the celeb couple named their offspring after) as a free-spirited wild child of the open road, but hey, trying to escape her personal demons into the bargain for a spot of depth. The reality is lots of scenes of the star wandering around aimlessly and talking to herself extensively.

Every so often she'll encounter some hapless character, whether a minor one like the chap she steals money from while pretending to be a gas station attendant (we can blame Cher for the fact that they're all self-service now), or the law student who picks her up one night and takes her back to his place - but not for sex, as she is not one of those hippy chicks who gives it up for everyone, if indeed there were many hippy chicks who did outside of the fantasies of the frustrated. It would be nice to say there was a moral reason for that, but it's actually to do with her damaging family relationships as we discover in the Cher freakout we are granted for the finale.

Before we reach that point, Chastity ends up in south of the border in Mexico by stealing a car, and after phoning the police to tell them where it is (thus illustrating she is not all bad) our heroine visits a brothel where in an unlikely development she becomes the girlfriend of a madam there. She buys her clothes and takes her out to an amusement park (!), but Chastity is not the kind of girl who settles down. There's barely a plot to this, it's largely a ramble through Cher's leaden, sullen performance where most of the tension is derived from whether the lead character will ever take her false eyelashes off. There may well be a serious drama to be made from this somewhere, but this isn't it, and other than diehard Cher fans the audience for Chastity must be restricted to those fascinated by relics of the sixties that haven't travelled well.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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