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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The First Nudie Musical
The First Nudie Musical
Image // R // June 18, 2002
List Price: $24.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Matt Langdon | posted July 22, 2002 | E-mail the Author
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Movie:
The First Nudie Musical is a humorous 1970's send-up of both porno films and the Hollywood musical. As directed by Bruce Kimmel it is a bit like a Roger Corman picture (due to its exploitative nature) crossed with a Busby Berkeley musical. The film too is structured as a musical as well as a making of a movie-within-a movie. Specifically about the making of a nudie musical film titled Come… Come, Now.

It starts with the head of the studio Harry Schecter (Stephen Nathan) pitching the film idea to a group of cigar chewing Hollywood execs who are eager to take the studio away from him. Harry's plan though whets their appetite and they give him two weeks to finish the film or the studio will be theirs.

One of the execs foists his nephew John Smithee (Bruce Kimmel) on Harry to be the director. John, though, is so naïve and innocent that all he does is giggle on the set when nude actors approach him. Harry decides to direct the film instead and begins to send John out for donuts as often as he can over the next two weeks.

The First Nudie Musical works pretty well because of the bawdy subject matter and also because of the push button (albeit goofy) humor. But best of all (besides the nudity) is the eight musical numbers in the film: Most of which are in the movie-within-a-movie sequences. The best is the Dancing Dildo Sequence (Chapter 15) in which four men dresses as dildos dance with four naked woman. The songs too are funny and have such titles as "Orgasm", "Lesbian-Butch-Dyke", "Perversion" and "Let 'em Eat Cake (And I'll Eat You) .

One of the The First Nudie Musical's claims to fame is that Cindy Williams (of Laverne & Shirley fame) is in it – although she doesn't appear nude. When the film came out in 1976 there was a conflict of interest concerning her since the TV show was promoted as part of ABC 'Family Hour' and consequently Paramount gave the film small opening and then eventually sold distribution rights to a smaller company where the film went on to a modest success.

The First Nudie Musical often has an awkward and cut-rate feeling to it. Not just the laughs but the overall production value are below par. This, of course, can be attributed to the thrifty budget but, still, since it is structured much like the 1930's musicals (such as 42nd Street) one would expect a nice pay off in the end. Unlike 42nd Street this film fizzles a bit in the final number.

Audio:
Audio is presented in English mono 1.0 and sounds a bit beat up just like the print. Still, that's okay considering the nature of the film's subject matter. (Is anyone really going to watch this movie for the sound?). The songs do come across pretty well.

Video:
The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and unfortunately looks rather poor. The print displays a good number of scratches and marks especially at the tail end of reel changes. Director Bruce Kimmel points out, though, that this is the best the print has ever looked. Apparently it was messy and completely washed out. Kimmel notes on the commentary track that he used a Data Telecine to reframe many of the shots and color correct the print. All we can do is take him at his word and wish the film was able to have a full restoration. But, of course, that would be more expensive than the original production cost.

Extras:
There are many good extras on this DVD. First is a Commentary by Cindy Williams, Stephen Nathan, and Bruce Kimmel that sounds a lot like a college reunion track. It provides pretty good info but really it's just a lot of fun. It seems they had not seen each other for a while and reminisce and remember the old days. Second is a Commentary by writer/co-director Bruce Kimmel and documentarian Nick Redman that is much more technical in nature. It is on this track that you learn the film was shot for $125,000 in eighteen days but that Paramount gave him an extra $75,000 to come back and shoot the famous Dancing Dildo scene. There is also a good documentary titled From Dollars to Donuts: An Undressing of The First Nudie Musical that is close to an hour long. It features numerous interviews with the cast and, like the first commentary track, has a good number of anecdotes. Oddly enough there is an optional audio commentary by Bruce Kimmel, Nick Redman, and Michael Rosendale for this doc. Also included are Two Deleted Scenes one called 'The Plumber Scene", which is fairly funny and a deleted musical number called 'Where Is a Man?" both with optional audio commentary. Rounding out the extras are Theatrical trailers. Also there are a limited number of DVD's that feature a free CD soundtrack.

Overall:
The First Nudie Musical is an enjoyable cult film from the seventies that seemed to have been all but forgotten. Thanks to this Image Entertainment release the film is getting the kind of treatment that it should have received in the 70's. The extras are very good, providing more than enough info about the film, and this makes the film a good collector's item if you are into the satiric porno humor that it provides.

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