TYPE OF SEXINESS: Erotic Psychological Comedy Drama
There are two ways to view One Deadly Summer:
#1 As a dark psychological mystery that’s kind of depressing
#2 As a showcase for French actress Isabelle Adjani‘s staggering beauteousness.
I had to watch the movie twice due to my being completely mesmerized by #2 the first time through. Adjani’s arousing presence saturates most every scene. So much so that I didn’t pick up on that she was a mentally unbalanced woman bent on revenge. I just thought she was lovably quirky until maybe the last half hour. Such is the power of Adjani. Like the male characters in the film, I was too entranced to realize the unpleasant truth. Look into her eyes in that picture above and tell me that you’d even care if she was nuttier than a fruitcake.
EXAMPLE OF SEXINESS: I’m not exaggerating about the Adjani’s sensual potency. I found this German trailer that isn’t shy about advertising some of her spicier scenes. Or, you can check out this video that shows but a few of the skimpy outfits that she wears throughout the movie (work safeness is iffy):
TYPE OF SEXINESS: Comic Book Fantasy Girl
From what I’ve seen of Czech New Wave films, they are often quirkier and more playful than the French New Wave offerings from that time. Who Wants to Kill Jessie? is a fanciful sci-fi comedy about comic book characters who materialize in the real world. This is the unintended side effect of a formula designed to remove undesirable elements from dreams. The unwanted parts are supposed to just vanish, but it doesn’t turn out that way. In this early scene, the procedure is demonstrated on a cow:
Later in the movie, the scientist who created the formula catches her husband dreaming about the shapely comic book heroine Jessie. She injects him with the formula with the intent of erasing the fetching character from his nighttime fantasies. Instead, Jessie appears in their apartment along with her two brutish arch-enemies.
EXAMPLE OF SEXINESS: Jessie is played by Czech actress Olga Schoberova, who was the first woman from her country to appear in Playboy (back in 1964). She’s been referred to as the Czech Brigitte Bardot. In the film, she spends her time running around in a torn dress and talking with speech bubbles to express her love for the scientist’s husband. I imagine most male comic book fans have fantasized about a similar scenario at some point in their lives. This is his first encounter with Jessie in the dreamworld:
TYPE OF SEXINESS: Slap & Tickle
Out of all the British sex comedies I’ve seen from the 70s, this is the one that most warms my heart. Maybe it’s due to the innocent charm. Despite all the leering and nudity, it’s a good-natured flick. I mentioned Au Pair Girls in my article about softcore film soundtracks because of the catchy theme song. What I didn’t get into were the film’s other delights, courtesy of the four female stars. They play au pairs from Sweden, Denmark, Germany and China who come to work in England. This is the opening credits for the movie where they are introduced. The first couple of minutes is just the theme music and footage of airplanes, but it’s a fun to listen to (NOT work safe at the end):
Val Guest is the director. From what I’ve glanced of his filmography, Au Pair Girls is an anomaly. His best known work is the James Bond parody Casino Royale (which he shares credit with several other directors) and a number of Hammer productions. I guess that makes the movie even more special.
EXAMPLE OF SEXINESS: Perhaps the most familiar actress in Au Pair Girls, at least for those who watch Italian cannibal movies, is Me Me Lai. She plays the Chinese au pair who is hired to look after an emotionally immature man. Nancie Wait, the German, didn’t appear in many other movies. Astrid Frank and Gabrielle Drake, the Swede and and the Dane, had the most substantial acting careers (primarily TV), and are also the most entertaining characters in the film. Dailymotion has a couple of Frank’s sexy scenes, including a splendid bit of showering.
TYPE OF SEXINESS: Ravishing Road Adventure
I wrote about The Girl on a Motorcycle in a Valentine’s Day article, which was fitting since it never fails to give me amorous feelings. The tagline “She’s always naked under leather”, and the image of star Marianne Faithfull mounted atop her bike, probably makes the movie seem racier than it really is. There are erotic moments, but it has a sweetly naive and melancholy quality overall. Faithfull plays a young woman who is torn between her marriage to a milquetoast schoolteacher and the worldly college professor who stirs her passions. (NOTE: The trailer says the it’s rated “X”, but that’s from back when the rating just meant that the film was restricted for those under sixteen. So, don’t expect a porno.)
The director, Jack Cardiff, spent most of his career as a cinematographer, working on everything from The Red Shoes to Rambo: First Blood Part II. Marianne Faithfull is the cutest biker chick I know of. Cardiff succeeds at capturing her adorableness, which is what I love about the movie. He even said that he was enamored with her during filming.
EXAMPLE OF SEXINESS: The scene at the beginning when Faithfull decides to leave her husband behind and speed off to see her lover. This Dailymotion clip shows her sliding on her leather body suit.
TYPE OF SEXINESS: Fox-ified Folktale
The story of the uxoricidal “Bluebeard” was originally written back in 1697 by Charles Perrault, who was responsible for publishing a number of famous fairy tales (Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood). It’s about an aristocrat who has the habit of killing off his wives and storing their bodies in a secret room in his castle. There are several film adaptations of the tale. The most recent was directed by Catherine Breillat, but there are versions that go back to the early 20th century. This silent short comes from Georges Méliès.
The 1972 adaptation stars Richard Burton as the evil European baron with a blue beard, the color of which he explains was the result of a war injury. He marries an American dancer, played by Joey Heatherton. I confess that I knew very little about Heatherton before I saw Bluebeard. Apparently she was famous enough to appear in commercials back in the 70s, like this one for Serta mattresses where she boogies her heart out:
When she is left alone at Burton’s manor she discovers the hidden storage refrigerator where he keeps all his dead wives. Burton apologetically informs Heatherton that he must kill her as well so she can’t reveal his secret. To stall for time, she convinces him to tell her the story of how he came to murder each of his brides.
EXAMPLE OF SEXINESS: Bluebeard is bursting with beautiful actresses, each of whom play one of Burton’s deceased wives. The biggest star among them is Raquel Welch (if you’re interested at all in classic Hollywood sex symbols, she’s a good one to be familiar with). My favorite segment in the film is when Welch plays a nun with a sordid past. Burton sweet talks her into marriage, but she insists on telling him about all her love affairs first:
Second to that, but even more spicy, is the segment with Sybil Danning and Nathalie Delon. Danning is a prostitute who teaches the inexperienced Delon the proper technique for seducing a man as Burton spies on them (you can check it out at Dailymotion, naturally). Danning is pretty famous, too, though for more risqué roles than Raquel Welch would agree to. I’m still amazed that the actresses appeared in the same movie together. The 70s were a wonderful time for film. Here’s Danning sharing her philosophy about women in movies, which I think is sound wisdom:
I figured this movie was a good follow up to the Sybil Danning interview video. As I mentioned in a past article, Glenda Kemp, the star of Snake Dancer, was a South African exotic dancer in the 70s. She fell afoul with the strictly conservative government in power at the time because she took her clothes off on stage. The movie gives a partially fictionalized account of her life story. What’s interesting about Kemp is that she comes from a religious background, and currently has her own Christian blog. From what I’ve read from interviews, she seems to have a sense of humor about her past. Here’s a scene of one of her less provocative performances:
I’m still kind of impressed by this part when she gets acquainted with a snake she uses in her show. It’s not even the most intimate scene she has with a snake in the movie, but it’s something to see (maybe NOT work safe):
I should say at this point in our journey that the order of these movies obviously only reflect my personal interpretation of the sexiness involved. After going through and watching the list in its entirety, I encourage you to re-order it as you see fit. Please then go forth and discover more sexy movies to share with others as generously as I have shared my choices with you. There is no reason that underseen classics like The Sensuous Nurse and Animal Instincts shouldn’t appear right next to Titanic and Body Heat on all future “sexiest movie” lists. Perhaps one day, my Top 20 (or yours) will be the standard for sexiness instead of the repetitive lists we’ve grown accustomed to. Let a new era begin.