Case Number 20972: Small Claims Court

AMERICAN NUDIE CLASSICS

Camp Motion Pictures // 2010 // 185 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Bill Gibron // March 25th, 2011

The Charge

Sensational sleazoid skin for the nicotine stain and stretch marks crowd.

The Case

The nudist film (or sun worshipper "educational" effort, depending on what position you take) came about after years of legal struggles. Arguing against the showing of skin was every puritanical prol from here to the bottom of the Bible belt, each one suggesting that nothing but prurient interests could be nurtured from the flashing of unclothed skin. On the other disrobed hand were those who believed in the beauty and natural charm of the human form, and had no problem exploiting it for a few dozen dollar bills. Producers would soon learn that men would pay a pretty penny to see a lady's private parts, even if they were caked in blood and contained a kid. Lawsuits, judgments, and an eventual relaxing of certain standards and practices resulting in more cinematic bare bodkin than a trip to a Brazilian beach.

Of course, those who couldn't wait for the process to lighten up used to get their naughty nakedness the old fashioned brown paper envelope way. Thus, the stag or smoker reel was born, a brief glimpse of the forbidden given an even seedier patina by the overall lack of production value and social acceptability. Porn today has nothing on the gross grain delights of seeing aging barmaids drop their blou and trou for a sneak peek at some way-beyond-sell-date forbidden fruit. Oddly enough, it's this novelty that drives the DVD presented by Camp Motion Pictures. Entitled American Nudie Classic (an attempted satiric take on the cable channel, perhaps???), it offers over three hours of fresh-from-the-vault vice, broken down by decade and covering the covert time frame of the 1930s to the supposedly more enlightened 1960s.

Here's the funny thing about this otherwise innocuous release -- the '30s and the '60s rule the rude, raunchy sleaze domain. The '40s and '50s material is mostly burlesque shorts, which means pasties and g-strings are more or less all we see. Sure, a couple of clueless honeys show off their sex muffins for the camera, but for the most part, we are looking at the art of erotic dance here, an attempt to make the strip tease and those who excel at it seem adult and sophisticated. While the '30s material includes a rather racy lesbian scene (as well as many lasses of lumpy allure), the '40s can't seem to find the teat -- naked teat, that is. Similarly, the '50s sequence is missing the ripe nubile charms we've come to expect. Instead, we get lots of these serialized show and tells, the moments divvied up into easy to digest (and pay for) peep show slices.

Of course, we now live in an era where elephantine appendages are plumped like Turduckens waiting for a white trash holiday table, where bras and shame are always optional. American Nudie Classics definitely tries for the "nude and natural" approach, though clearly some of these models made a few too many trips to the craft services table before taking on the assignment. More than a couple give voluptuous a run for its Zaftig money, and there is one in particular who can't seem to stop playing with her flap-jacked dirty pillows. Indeed, the off the cuff nature of these otherwise innocuous glimpses into gratuity circa 50 years ago has a certain illicit charm, and the gals do give the insinuation of rough trade barroom pick-ups a new and novel meaning. As an artifact or antiquity, American Nudie Classics is a lot of fun. As proto-porn, it's about as exciting as a raw rug burn.

Offered in 1.33:1 full screen and claiming to be NEW TELECINES FROM THE ORIGINAL FILM NEGATIVES, the image issues for this DVD are abundant. We get age spots and scratches -- and the celluloid looks pretty crappy too. Emulsion burns ruin a few moments, while faded colors and a lack of detail define most of the entries. Once we get through the basic black and white material (some of which does sparkle, it has to be said), the rest looks like bad Super 8 home footage. While not unwatchable, it barely brings itself to the digital format standard. The sound quality is also all over the map, from thin and tinny to just plain flat and uninvolving. Last but not least, Camp Motion Pictures provides a nice trailer overview of their other skin-themed titles.

Before they cancelled their contract with Image (which has since been renewed, so we can all rejoice!) Something Weird Video used to make a regular habit of documenting -- via DVD -- the rise and widespread panic of filmic flesh peddling. They wrote the book on such T&A titles. American Nudie Classics is good, but not great. It's appeal will definitely be as a curiosity, not as carnality.

The Verdict

Not Guilty...and not very sexy or scintillating.

Review content copyright © 2011 Bill Gibron; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 79

Perp Profile
Studio: Camp Motion Pictures
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 185 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Trailers

Accomplices
* None