Case Number 23076: Small Claims Court

PLATINUM PUSSYCAT / THE SEXPLOITERS

The Sexploiters
Alternative Cinema // 1965 // 65 Minutes // Not Rated
Platinum Pussycat
Alternative Cinema // 1968 // 82 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Gordon Sullivan // January 6th, 2012

The Charge

Betrayed, beaten -- and on the run from the mob!

The Case

Orson Welles once said that "The enemy of art is the absence of restraint." Though that's a little funny coming from a guy who was given almost free rein for his first (classic) picture, his point is a valid one. There's a reason that so many big-budget vanity projects in Hollywood go awry: without constraints, those writers and directors have nothing to be accountable for and the result is often failure. On the flip side, though, filmmakers with lots of restraint tend to come up with more inventive solution to creative problems than simply throwing money at them. Sure, the results are often amateurish, but sometimes low-budget filmmaking can yield brilliant new techniques (like The Evil Dead's roaming camera) or something so bizarre it's fascinating. Platinum Pussycat falls into the latter camp. It's part sexploitation flick, part action film, and all full of amateurish strangeness -- and it's just part of The Platinum Pussycat Double Feature.

The basic plot of Platinum Pussycat revolves around Dena (Sandy Roberts), who wakes up to find her boyfriend murdered in her apartment. She's framed for the killing and has to go on the lam to figure out who killed him and clear her name.

Of course that straightforward summary makes this sound like a typical hardboiled flick from the '50s or '60s, but Platinum Pussycat is so much more. First, it's so low-budget it appears to have been shot with amateur equipment. Framing is bizarre, cuts happen without any apparent logic, and settings appear to have been grabbed wherever someone had a free room. Then there's the acting, which goes from amateur-naturalistic to just plain amateur. Sure, there's also a plot, but the plot never gets in the way of getting star Sandy Roberts naked or half-naked at every opportunity. Other people get naked, too, including a random scene that goes from black-and-white (which most of the film is shot in) to color. Oh yes, and the dubbing is farcical. If it wasn't so consistent, I'd assume it was a technical problem with the DVD, but the dubbing is off on a significant percentage of the film, with dialogue that is both out-of-sync and obviously dubbed to be different from what the actors spoke.

What this all adds up to is the kind of film that begs for the Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment. Platinum Pussycat fails on pretty much every level. It's not really sexy because it's too amateurish and random. It's not really thrilling for the same reasons. Maybe, just maybe if the film had tried for thrilling or sexy it would have hit one target, but aiming for both it misses wide. And yet, the film is so darn strange that it remains oddly compelling. The bad acting, weird sets, and random changes in stock and angle make the film a kind of surreal masterpiece. I genuinely had no idea what to expect from scene to scene, and that made the film much more compelling than a typical low-budget action/sexploitation flick should be.

The film comes on its own disc, and the transfer doesn't do anything to harm the film. Obviously the print utilized for the transfer is in rough shape, but there are no serious digital artifacts to otherwise mar the look. Expect shifting contrast, wonky black levels, and low detail, but the film is surprisingly watchable. Audio is a simple stereo mix, but it keeps the badly-dubbed dialogue audible and balanced with the jazzy score. The main extra is a collection of stag loops. I'm not an expert, but these are some of the worst loops I've ever seen. They're not well0preserved, the women are often unattractive, and the action bizarre even by loop standards. The disc also includes a bunch of trailers from Retro-Seduction.

But wait, there's more! This is a two-disc set, and the second disc contains another feature, The Sexploiters. Unlike Platinum Pussycat, The Sexploiters is a much more typical sexploitation film of the era. The basic plot involves a "modeling agency" that's really a front for a kind of brothel. We follow a bored housewife who goes there to get her thrills. Gradually, of course, things get more and more depraved. The brothel setup allows the filmmakers to string together a series of sexy scenes, including nude photography, scenes of people dressing, role playing, etc. Although not likely to be as interesting to the average film fan (because it's not as much of an oddity), The Sexploiters is a much better example of nudie flicks of the time, so this is a great disc to put on for those looking for a retro fix.

Again, the print used for this disc is hardly pristine, but all the problems (bad contrast, damage, etc.) seem to be with the source. The audio is similarly limited by the technology. Dialogue is easy to make out, but this track won't stress your system any. The main extra on this disc is a commentary by film historian Michael Bowen essentially interviewing C. Davis Smith, who knew The Sexploiters' director Al Ruban. Smith gives lots of interesting information about what it was like to make sex pictures in the '60s, and his ground-level perspective will be of interest to anyone who cares about these kinds of films. This disc also includes some more trailers from the Retro-Seduction vault.

The Sexploiters is only a so-so sexploitation flick, but its commentary makes it much more interesting. Platinum Pussycat is likely to be the bigger draw for most, with its bizarre, almost psychedelic, style. However, the pairing of the two of them is a win-win for fans of weird cinema. Platinum Pussycat offers bizarre thrills, while The Sexploiters puts an historical spin on the underground nude features of the late 1960s. This is obviously not a release for everyone, but if the name Platinum Pussycat sounds at all interesting, this release won't disappoint.

The Verdict

Guilty of being really weird.

Review content copyright © 2012 Gordon Sullivan; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice, The Sexploiters
Judgment: 74

Perp Profile, The Sexploiters
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 65 Minutes
Release Year: 1965
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, The Sexploiters
* Commentary
* Loops

Scales of Justice, Platinum Pussycat
Judgment: 75

Perp Profile, Platinum Pussycat
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 82 Minutes
Release Year: 1968
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Platinum Pussycat
* Loops

Accomplices
* IMDb: Platinum Pussycat
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0240689/combined

* IMDb: The Sexploiters
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0148746/combined