Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Vinegar Syndrome - Russ Meyer's FANNY HILL on Blu-ray ""

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Vinegar Syndrome - Russ Meyer's FANNY HILL on Blu-ray

It's not at all difficult to slot Russ Meyer into the auteur category. His films all have their own universes that they exist in. Some are campier than others (in a good way), but they all share the common ground of being populated by gorgeous buxom women and containing a very specific cheekiness that must have originated in part with Meyer's own sense of humor. In this case Albert Zugsmith (COLLEGE CONFIDENTIAL, CONFESSIONS OF AN OPIUM EATER) is also uncredited as a director as well, though this feels more like a Meyer film to be sure (Zugsmith was a producer on the movie).

In FANNY HILL, a young naive girl (Leticia Roman) is taken in by the matriarchal figure of a brothel (Miriam Hopkins) in 18th century London. This was a black & white film for Meyer and it looks nice on this new Blu-ray. It's a comedy of manners of sorts, but with the Meyer sensibility about it. I must admit that FANNY was a Meyer film I had never heard of prior to this release, so it's always cool to see a less known entry like this get a good transfer. It is intriguing to me to see screwball film star Miriam Hopkins in this movie, a full 32 years after her classic turn in Ernst Lubitsch's TROUBLE IN PARADISE. FANNY was released in 1964, the same year as his much note well known film LORNA. He kicked off his film career with the nudist comedy, THE IMMORAL MR. TEAS in 1959 and great financial success (it cost less than $25,000 and grossed $1 million). In 1965, Meyer would go on to direct MUDHONEY and perhaps his most famous feature, the cult classic FASTER PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL!
Also included in this set is the Albert Zugsmith western slapstick comedy THE PHANTOM GUNSLINGER from 1970. Unlike FANNY HILL, this film is in bright color and the transfer pops pretty good. A nice inclusion. Zugsmith and Meyer have interesting senses of humor and these two films show and a nice contrast between their styles. PHANTOM is kind of a dopey film, but I believe it will be of interest to Zugsmith fans. FANNY HILL is available from Vinegar Syndrome direct or Amazon.

No comments: