Director: Nick Phillips
RetroSeduction Cinema

Digart…Uschi Digart. Or is it Digard? Under any name, Die Uschi remains the ultimate 70s sexploitation starlet! Perpetually tanned all over (no tan lines! Someone’s been sunbathing nude!), brandishing a warrior woman’s smile, and swinging her DD sweater puppies for the camera to lovingly caress, the drive-ins sizzled over the course of 10 years whenever Die Uschi graced the screen. Beginning in the late 60s with bit parts (THE SCAVENGERS) and supporting roles (THE BIG SNATCH), Uschi became a muse for brilliant sexploitation maestro Russ Meyer and literally saved his 1969 misfire, CHERRY, HARRY & RAQUEL! by cavorting throughout the film as the “Soul” of the movie! And so began Uschi’s Hollywood Adventure, working with all the major California moviemakers and working her magic through films like THE GODSON, SUPERCHICK, HOLLYWOOD BABYLON, THE EROTIC ADVENTURES OF PINOCCHIO, two ILSA epics, THE BLACK ALLEY CATS, BLOOD SABBATH, and many, many more.

There really isn’t such a thing as a bad Uschi film. Sure, she appeared in some horrendous productions, but the film wasn’t bad because of Uschi, but in spite of her; she was always sexy, spunky, and delivered the goods throughout her career. Meyer of course cast her in SUPERVIXENS, and worked with her behind-the-scenes on ULTRA-VIXENS and UP! Before she broke from him in 1979. She even had bit parts in Hollywood films, like THE KILLER ELITE, FUZZ, and KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE! With the advent of hardcore, Uschi staunchly refused to go the full penetration, relying on her meaty ticket-sellers to continue raking in fans. Candy Samples may have had much larger appendages, but it was Uschi whose magnetic screen presence has made her the all-time tit queen of the “Have a Nice Day!” decade. RetroSeduction Cinema has created a quite lovely tribute to Die Uschi, and newcomers to her charms will no doubt wonder, “Where has she been all my life?!”

Nick Phillips’ FANCY LADY kicks off the Uschistravaganza with a bang, as Uschi plays a Danish reporter sent to San Francisco to investigate the Sexual Revolution up close and personal. Walking through the streets of the City of Love, she wanders into a peep booth theater to watch lesbian stag reels and breaking and entering into apartments to photograph hippie couples bumping uglies! She finally retires to her hotel room and is so turned on by what she’s seen that she pours herself a rum and Coke and furiously plays with herself.

FANCY LADY is typical Phillips: hand-held camerawork in nature or in the safety of darkly lit San Francisco apartments, kinky red and black leather, and of course lesbeens! If you’re looking for any semblance of a plot or a thoroughly enjoyable skinflick, look elsewhere, folks. Phillips’ sinema is a brand that I’ve yet to warm up to. The overabundance of fetishes is intriguing, but these quickie nudies never reach their full potential. His sex scenes go on forever, and in films that barely hit the hour mark, they shouldn’t feel like four-hour dental surgery. Phillips would prove himself with the horror cult classic CRIMINALLY INSANE, but within the sexploitation genre, his best is PLEASURES OF A WOMAN. Every other film of his promises more than it can deliver. In the case of FANCY LADY, Uschi actually only figures into one scene, the solo finale, surrounded by sub-par stag reels and narrated by the same Phillips female narrator, faking a European accent. Buck-toothed Lynn Harris, resembling Rene Bond’s twin sister, appears in the lesbian scene, but even she can’t keep it interesting. When Uschi isn’t on-screen, as with many of her films, the action slows to a crawl and the fast-forward button is a godsend. She truly is the saving grace of the feature! Die Uschi had worked with Phillips on other films, including the aforementioned PLEASURES and a brief bit in ROXANNA, but her self-love sequence in this one may be his ultimate appreciation of her luscious figure, beautifully shot and presenting the Scandinavian tease at her absolute prime. She also looks wonderful, all-smiles, prancing through the streets of San Francisco circa 1970. Clothed or nude, Die Uschi commands attention at all times!

Briefly mentioned on the packaging and not given much attention on the disc itself is DIRTY POOL, a 1970 Distribpix film and one of Uschi’s most obscure appearances. From what I gather, the film was acquired by Distribpix through Leonard Kirtman, who featured clips from POOL in his California-shot sexumentary PORNOGRAPHY IN HOLLYWOOD (also distributed by Morrowitz’s company). Presented in a questionable 1.78:1 aspect ratio from a very rare 35mm print, this barely hour-long relic is completely narrated by enthusiastic actors reciting over-the-top dialogue and actually isn’t much more interesting than FANCY LADY. A bearded man and his nymph blonde wife Mary Jane have a problem: she just can’t say no…to the sun! That’s right, according to a doctor she’s a “sun goddess”, soaking energy from the golden orb, so much energy she can’t be gratified sexually by just her husband! So he recruits a sexy couple (Buck and his gal, the bombastic Uschi!) to satisfy her cravings. After cutting back and forth between the couples screwing multiple times in various locations, the married pair surprise Uschi by holding her down, stripping her bikini off, and mauling her! Eventually the quartet finds sexual bliss in group scenes poolside and in a gaudy living room. It’s great to see this forgotten Distribpix rarity, but it’s definitely one of their lesser catalog titles, probably because it was shot in California. Uschi of course looks amazing in a leopard-skin bikini, almost bursting from the seams, and is photographed lusciously floating nude in the pool! But this is one of those really cheap-looking softcore films filled with not-so-hot sex scenes that eventually become monotonous and draining (no pun intended). There is some interesting, amateurish underwater photography, but this is a standard soft s-and-f film.

Continuing into the supplements, an 8mm stag reel appears to have been made in the late 70s, with Uschi’s longer, darker hairdo, as she masturbates after a phone call. It presents her as a phone-sex operator, but the brief snippets of a guy dialing a phone and hanging up look to be from another film and Uschi’s footage is an entirely different, faded film stock. The voiceover sounds newly-recorded, and the loop has appeared on Alpha Blue Archives’ USCHI’S HOT STUD PICK-UP disc in better-looking condition without the phone sex angle. RetroSeduction Cinema’s 42nd Street Pete appears in a featurette discussing Phillips’ FANCY LADY, but basically gives a summary of the film (what little film there is) and praises Uschi for her noticeable assets. He also contributes an essay once again summarizing the film in the liner notes booklet, which also contains a very good introductory essay to the life and career of Uschi by Alternative Cinema Magazine’s Terry Thorne. The disc menus and package are covered with stunning color photos of Uschi in all her glory. It’s too bad a photo gallery isn’t included for the maximum effect. Three trailers, all for Uschi’s three Phillips films, rounds out the package.

This is a welcome tribute to the mammary goddess of Hollywood, but might only really be appreciated by Uschi fanatics (waving my hand wildly!). These two rare films are an important part of the Uschi puzzle, so are a must for the Uschi collector, and newcomers should understand why she has remained an important cult icon for close to 40 years. But be assured that there are much better vehicles for the towering bronze beauty to be found on the DVD market. For example: RetroSeduction’s PLEASURES OF A WOMAN, Something Weird’s GODSON/BELOW THE BELT and TOY BOX, Synapse’s FANTASM & FANTASM COMES AGAIN discs, and of course the Region 2 Arrow discs of SUPERVIXENS and CHERRY, HARRY & RAQUEL!. Viva Die Uschi! (Casey Scott)