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  Sex Kittens Go to College Define Genius
Year: 1960
Director: Albert Zugsmith
Stars: Mamie Van Doren, Tuesday Weld, Mijanou Bardot, Mickey Shaughnessy, Louis Nye, Pamela Mason, Martin Milner, Conway Twitty, Jackie Coogan, John Carradine, Vampira, Allan Drake, Norman Grabowski, Irwin Berke, Charles Chaplin Jr, Harold Lloyd Jr, Jody Fair
Genre: Comedy, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Thinko is the resident computer at Collins College, and has come up with the ideal boffin to fill the science tutor's post there, but on re-examining the machine's findings his operator Dr Zorch (Louis Nye) discovers what must surely be a mistake and grabbing the paper with the findings on it he rushes down to the railway station where some of the college staff and students have assembled to greet the new arrival. One of those staff members, George Barton (Martin Milner) has his doubts about such an incredibly intelligent owner of a list of degrees working here, but not half as much when he actually sees her...

For the new tutor is Dr Mathilda West, played by Mamie Van Doren who was in 1960 nobody's idea of an academic genius, which should give you some idea of the level of humour producer, director and co-writer Albert Zugsmith was working on. Having left the studio system behind in the fifties, he found himself making exploitation movies, some of which were rather good and some of which were absolutely terrible, and Sex Kittens Go to College was often bracketed in with those terrible ones, mainly thanks to its anything goes contrivance of ludicrous plotting, fatuous manner of putting down the combination of brains and beauty, and cast apparently selected for their celebrity value rather than their acting ability.

Make no mistake, this was one of the most ridiculous movies ever made, but what did you expect from a film where Mamie Van Doren danced the Charleston with John Carradine? It didn't end there, as that plot took the vague form of capitalising on Mamie's good looks to have us believe she was too attractive to be taken seriously as a learned professor, where you could see a point there when her character turns out to be stripper The Tallahassee Tassel Tosser, though funnily enough she played this pretty straightfaced as if she was out to prove she could indeed be a genius. There was a story going around about her great rival in the Marilyn Monroe clones stakes Jayne Mansfield was really a possessor of a genius I.Q., so perhaps Mamie felt the need to provide an answer of her own to that rumour.

She wasn't the only sex kitten appearing here - the original title was Sexpot Goes to College and that's what Conway Twitty croons in the opening song - for there was also Tuesday Weld as a student who longs for the attention of football captain Woo Woo (real life hot rod designer Norman Grabowski), but he has a problem in that he tends to get dizzy around beautiful females, even though he considers Weld's Jody as a buddy. Then there was Bardot, what a coup you might think until you realised it was Brigitte's non-lookalike sister Mijanou Bardot as exchange student Suzanne, getting French subtitles in her first scene (that gag is dropped presumably as too much hard work), and a subplot where she is romantically obsessed with the visiting gangster Legs Raffertino (Allan Drake).

Yes, there were gangsters in this too, two of them (Mickey Shaughnessy was the other, violin-case toting one) in a film not lacking for incident, in fact looking like the whole production was invented on the basis of whatever whim Zugsmith could think up on the set that day for his motley cast. The hoods want to confront Thinko (actually genuine robot Elektro) about the betting it has been indulging in, winning huge amounts of cash, though the machine's most memorable sequence for modern viewers would be the gratuitous part near the end when Dr West psychoanalyses it and we see what it's thinking, which turns out to be receiving lapdances (standing up) from topless strippers. West is a world class hypnotist as well, just to add to the lunacy, offering the excuse for a musical number, then there's Jackie Coogan doing a W.C. Fields impersonation and parking his helicopter in the sky, or Vampira as a lab assistant, or a hot under the collar chimp, the list went on, creating a movie unforgettably deranged yet tackily amusing. Music by Dean Elliott.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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