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  Blaze Starr Goes Nudist The Naked Truth
Year: 1962
Director: Doris Wishman
Stars: Blaze Starr, Ralph Young, Gene Berk, William Mayer, Sandra Sinclair, Stephen Bloom, Allison Louise Downe, Jim Antonio, Warrene Gray, Richard Johnson, Mary Jo Walls, Joan Bamford, Craig Maudslay Jr, Dolores K. Norris, Lee Abell
Genre: Trash, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Blaze Starr (as herself) is unhappy with her modelling and acting career, but cannot quite put her finger on the reason why. She discusses her concerns with her agent and boyfriend Tony (Gene Berk) who is unwilling to sympathise: why can't she just get out there and appear in more roles and photo shoots like she has done for a while now? What has changed, after all? But Blaze will not be put off the idea she needs to shake up her life, and storms out of Tony's office to wander the streets and collect her thoughts, which leads her to escaping a pair of autograph hunters by diving into a local cinema. There the film unfolds as she pointedly ignores the tentative attentions of a couple of patrons, and it changes Blaze's outlook for good...

Any excuse to get out of that tacky wardrobe, one assumes. Notorious exploitation movie maker Doris Wishman, aside from being notable as one of the few woman directors to make a success of this, was also noted for her rather eccentric stylings, and though there were no closeups of feet here, not one, you could tell Blaze Starr Goes Nudist was one of hers. Whether it be the supposedly casual but actually the whole point nudity or the way characters delivered their dialogue with their backs to the camera all the better to disguise the limitations of dubbing (for budgetary reasons), this was one of her most typical nudie cutie efforts, though perhaps Nude on the Moon remained her defining work in that field. This had something that did not, however.

Which was the presence of a bona fide star, Blaze Starr, one of the most famous strippers in the United States among those who had heard of such things, and much of that fame was thanks to her affair with Governor Earl Long. The couple had been the subject of a biographical movie in 1989, with Lolita Davidovich playing her and the considerably more renowned Paul Newman as Long, and the makers had offered the real Blaze a cameo role which she had taken gladly, thus extending her fame a little further into the century. But it was her stage act, complete with explosions and a trained panther whipping off her clothes, that had consolidated her appeal, which made the only movie she starred in rather disappointing.

There were no outrageous tricks to be seen here, not of that nature at any rate, making for an experience that many find very dull indeed, but if you have a taste for vintage kitsch, there were a number of unintentional laughs to be gained. As Blaze flees Tony, whose remarkable moustache would be worthy of a film in itself, she finds solace in the Hairy - sorry, Sunny Palms Lodge, a resort in Florida "just thirty miles from here" as our heroine notes, the very place she saw in that film. Observing that everyone looks so relaxed in their state of undress, she decides this is the life for her and the feeling of the sun on her bare skin is just the tonic she needs, so it's off for a drive to meet the camp director and love interest Andy (singer in his day job Ralph Young), an unusual nudist in that he keeps his stripey shorts on at all times.

He does have an explanation for that, and it's because he is in and out of the camp so doesn't wish to shock the wrong people by being naked before them, and not because the actor insisted on it so nobody would see his arse. Wishman, aware of the censorship of the day, had to ensure none of her cast showed anything more than boobs or bums, leading them to posing in strange positions just so we don't glimpse any pubic hair, leaving everyone oddly staged in creepy, beaming nudist fashion. The lack of plot was a given with these productions, but even so the minimum of effort had gone into stringing together shots of Blaze (whose screen alias is her real name, Belle Fleming) and the other ladies willing to disrobe for Wishman's lens as they get up to such entirely unselfconscious activities as volleyball (natch), archery (don't worry, the arrows have rubber suckers) or chess - Andy is very keen to play with Blaze, cueing the thrilling finale where he gets around to it and is then called away to the phone after thirty seconds. Throw in Siamese dancing from "Lesley" and a moving ballad to end, and that was your lot.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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Doris Wishman  (1912 - 2002)

American writer-producer-director regarded by many as one of the worst directors of all time, her idiosyncratic, low budget, often sexually-themed films include Nude on the Moon, Bad Girls Go To Hell, The Amazing Transplant, Let Me Die A Woman and the two "Chesty Morgan" films: Double Agent 73 and Deadly Weapons. Watch for her highly individual use of the closeup and dubbed dialogue, not to mention all those feet.

 
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