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  Game Show Models Take It Away, It's Been Rejected
Year: 1977
Director: David N. Gottlieb
Stars: John Vickery, Thelma Houston, Diane Sommerfield, Rae Sperling, Gilbert DeRush, Dick Miller, Nick Pellegrino, Diane Thomas, Sid Melton, Willie Bobo, Charles Champlin, Kathy Ritter, Bill Elliot, Lois Newman, Fritz Savnar, Cal Gibson, Cheryl Rainbeaux Smith
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: Chick (Rae Sperling) wants to break into showbusiness, and has a contact in the industry who says he can get her that big opportunity. He is Roger (Gilbert DeRush), who has invited her over to his apartment tonight to seal the deal, but Chick doesn't realise quite what this will entail until he gets her in the bedroom. She is ordered to disrobe and mount him, because if she does not then she'll lose the chance to appear as a gameshow hostess, so she goes along with it though grows increasingly worried when Roger orders her to put on a Japanese demon mask, then choke him - is this what it takes to make it?

By the sounds of that introduction, you'd think Game Show Models was going to be pretty racy, a sort of showbiz version of those Roger Corman productions which followed the adventures of a group of young women as they attempted to become a success in their chosen profession. However, after that initial five minutes we don't follow Chick at all, and wind up traipsing after the lugubrious Stuart Guber (John Vickery in his only film) who has just walked out on his hippy girlfriend Josie (Diane Thomas) with excuses that he wants his five year plan of ambition to bear more fruit than it has up until this stage.

By the end he has learned his lesson that chasing after the dollar is not the way to personal happiness, but the journey to that point is fraught with peril, or it is if you decide to join a PR agency, so this movie tells you. After getting a haircut and a suit, Stuart makes the most of a contact he has and gets a job on the creative team of said agency, meeting the likes of Arnold (Nick Pellegrino), an exec who takes a shine to him. So that's Josie, Arnold and who else fancies this unlikely stud? How about the singer he is supposed to be helping with her career, Cici (Diane Sommerfield), who confesses she only likes to sleep with white men even though she is black herself?

Stuart likes the sound of that, so the two conduct a secret affair, not that we see much of this aside from a lengthy sequence where they both return to Cici's secret love nest and settle down for... a very long conversation. Steady, everyone! You know how in certain types of film, the exploitation ones particularly, there will often a degree of padding out the running time with extraneous dialogue, or a montage or something? Well, in this it's all padding, with no payoff that lives up to the introduction, although we do see Chick again as she messes up her big chance in front of the cameras, with Dick Miller as the game show host (an actor ideal for such a role, especially in a downmarket film like this).

Alas, Miller appears for about five minutes all told, although he does get to swear and host a behind the scenes exclusive party show where the prizes are nubile ladies, something which goes nowhere, really, and only serves to make that life and soul of the proceedings, Stuart, decide that he's better off with the simple life. Along the way there is an absurdly protracted discussion about who the Seven Dwarfs were, perhaps to get the audience's minds working and make them forget that this is getting tedious, and Thelma Houston, of disco classic Don't Leave Me This Way fame, shows up as Cici's sister to eventually tell Stuart where to go when the relationship gets more serious than either had intended. Throughout the mood is downbeat, as if writer and director David N. Gottlieb missed the hippy era of the sixties and wished that the money obsessed seventies were a bit more free and easy, so if that appeals to you too, you might find some common ground with his film. Music by Willie Bobo and Christopher Robin Culver.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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