Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Vinegar Syndrome Disc - THE TELEPHONE BOOK ""

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Vinegar Syndrome Disc - THE TELEPHONE BOOK

The new Blu-ray/dvd combo of THE TELEPHONE BOOK from Vinegar Syndrome is quite nice. I am very curious to see which other interesting eclectic obscure older film releases they will put forth in the coming years.  THE TELEPHONE BOOK is a very arthouse-type, almost experimental film, shot in striking black and white. It's a story of a young woman who becomes obsessed with an obscene phone caller. This particular obscene caller has a voice very much like the great Ken Nordine, so it's easy to his appeal..

Writer/Director Nelson Lyon, a Saturday Night Live scribe(circa the early 80s) only directed this one feature. His biggest notoriety seems to come from him having supposedly been with John Belushi when he died of a heroin overdose. I guess some industry folk blamed him for Belushi's death at the time. Anyway, it's unfortunate he didn't make any more films as this one is certainly interesting enough to warrant some curiosity for what other kinds of features he may have birthed, given the opportunity. My initial thoughts were of Robert Downey Sr.'s films for some reason. Having just seen a few of his earlier works via the recently released Eclipse box set, I was reminded of NO MORE EXCUSES(and perhaps CHAFED ELBOWS). Certainly this being a black and white film makes me want to draw the comparison, but the combination of that and the freewheelin' sort of late 60s early 70s almost European/New Wave-y vibe really makes them feel cut from a similar cloth. This film is a bit sexier than most of Downey Sr.'s work I've seen - it's quite free with the nudity and odd sexual sound effects(lots of gurgling). It's kind of like Downey Sr. meets Russ Meyer actually. If that combination appeals to you, this is certainly worth checking out. Also, I am always fascinated with seeing New York City in the late 60s & 70s and this flick serves up a good amount of NYC. The disc also includes a commentary from producer Merv Bloch wherein, it is mentioned that Steve Martin is a big fan of this film and calls it one of his favorite films of the 70s. 

THE TELEPHONE BOOK can be purchased from Vinegar Syndrome here:

1 comment:

Eric Raymer said...

I'm really looking forward to picking this up when I can scrape up the cash. What a wonderfully perverted little movie.

And I totally agree, the sound effects are something to behold.