Sex is a whacky, ugly, sinful thing, or at least that's what you'll be led to believe after sitting through this incredibly bizarre double feature from Something Weird Video!
"Hi, I'm Jayne Mansfield." Following a cheesy opening credits sequence with appropriately dinky theme music, fasten your seatbelts and take a rollercoaster ride around the world with Ms. Jayne and her breathy vocal impressionist narration! Jayne in black-and-white (and her stand-in in COLOR?!) sashays through Rome, followed by horny admirers who take turns pinching her ass as she throws coins in the Trevi Fountain, browses through marketplaces, and is pursued by the parazzi as Jayne spits venomous narration at them. Supporting actor credit should have been given to Ms. Mansfield's pet Chihuahua, looking positively horrified as Jayne carries him everywhere!! You will witness the controversial scenes and magazine centerfolds of Jayne's nude scenes in PROMISES! PROMISES! (let's put it this way: Jayne looks more appetizing in her clothes), Jayne confusing herself in a gay bar, attending a drag queen contest, getting naked on the all-nude island of Heliopolis, twisting with reckless abandon to the awesome music of Rocky Roberts and the Airdales (her Chihuahua stands nearby and looks perplexed), visiting an exclusive Parisian spa where she is massaged in the nude, signing autographs while browsing the flea market ("the best shopping center in the world!"), riding on the bike of a Hell's Angels motorbike at the Eiffel Tower, the 15th Annual Most Beautiful Breasts in the World Contest (the winner isn't even top-heavy!! Boo!), viewing various male and female strip acts in Parisian nightclubs, and learning how to strip tease from a lecherous male teacher!!! For good measure, tossed in are clips from LOVES OF HERCULES (with Jayne in a dark wig and Mickey Hargitay fighting a dragon to protect her!) and PRIMITIVE LOVE, and a group of flexing male bodybuilders groped by Jayne. Plus Jayne tries to break into an ancient stadium to feel up a nude male statue that turns into Mickey Hargitay! When Jayne isn't involved in the adventures directly, the camera just points and shoots such eye-popping activities as prostitute hitchhikers, tiny bikinis and speedos on the Cannes beach, all of Paris turning out to be gay (?!), nude canvas street painters, and topless women all over Hollywood (including ice cream truck drivers, mechanics, shoe shiners, and a marvelous topless all-girl band, The Ladybirds!!).
Because Ms. Mansfield had passed through the pearly gates by the time this flick was released, the "Jayne" narration was provided by Eurocult dubbing artist extraordinaire Carolyn De Fonseca, familiar voice from films such as DEEP RED, EMANUELLE IN AMERICA, HELL OF THE LIVING DEAD, BLADE VIOLENT, and just about every single Eurocult film ever made! Oftentimes she dubbed eight or nine voices in one film, if it was a particularly low-budget production! In addition to her familiar work in Eurotrash, she regularly provided vocals for Jayne Mansfield in all of her European films, including PRIMITIVE LOVE and DOG EAT DOG (which is screaming for a DVD release!). Someone interview this woman on her fascinating career! It is Carolyn who ends up becoming the star of the show, delivering hearty nuggets of hilarious dialogue. There are far too many memorable monologues to repeat here, so let's just say your ears will never be the same and your sides will ache from laughter! The last 10 minutes of the film, spotlighting Jayne's car accident death and the aftermath in Hollywood and her family's life, are some of the most tasteless you'll see in a mock documentary, let alone a drive-in classic, but it just adds to the shock value of this little gem that I STILL can't believe was released to theaters!!
Professor Emilio Servadio hosts the LABYRINTH OF SEX (print title: SEXUAL INADEQUACIES), a smorgasbord of sequences portraying sex as a depressing and nasty pastime. Apparently if you don't have missionary sex in the comforts of a bed, you're probably a SEXUAL DEVIANT! We witness a nymphomaniac take a cold shower to calm down before picking up a horny bespectacled man in a movie theater, (a scene included on the DAY OF THE NIGHTMARE disc, and I incorrectly assumed was from SEXY PROIBITISSIMO), a number of greasy bohunks peeking through windows at scantily clad or nude women, the hilarious instance of a man flashing a young schoolgirl, a freaky fetishist who creates the "ideal woman" from pieces of mannequins in his room of candles (!!), a young girl who witnesses her mother being beaten and becomes a murderess, and 'Miguele' from Fulci's DON'T TORTURE A DUCKLING being locked in a closet as punishment before growing up to be a sadist who loves being whipped! Plus there's also a drug addict tripping on heroin, a peek at an "unnatural" lesbian relationship with Ely Galleani (FIVE DOLLS FOR AN AUGUST MOON), the VERY graphic change of a woman to a man (!!!), and the highlight of the film, a scientific experiment with a couple having sex while attached to electrodes monitoring their heart activity!
Despite the enticing descriptions of the events in LABYRINTH, the film itself is a very slow-going affair. It's a very dark look at human sexuality, through biased eyes which condemn the very events the camera lovingly captures. It doesn't have the pace and variety of a mondo movie, and isn't as fascinating or cheesy as a fake-mondo movie. Nah, LABYRINTH OF SEX is good for a single viewing but probably won't leave any lasting impressions to warrant a return visit.
The disc includes a disclaimer on the box: "These films have been transferred from the original materials for their English-language releases. Because of technical limitations and film printing conditions of the time, some irreparable imperfections and film-related defects may exist." For the most part, SWV need not have worried about including such a warning. Of the two films, JAYNE looks the least appetizing, with green emulsion scars, white lines, heavy grain, and a blue sheen in most of the sequences, but both letterboxed transfers are satisfying, with nice color. And they both look better than, say, 50,000 B.C./WHEN WOMEN PLAYED DING-DONG, which should have included a print damage warning! The mono audio is strong and clear, with no distortion or scratching.
European sex is the theme of the trailer collection, and there are plenty of obscure imports on-hand. JAYNE MANSFIELD's trailer is missing, but the LABYRINTH OF SEX preview is included, which tries to sell the film as not only an important social documentary, but a COUPLES film at one point! ANN AND EVE is one of the last films starring Marie Liljedahl, the Swedish sex kitten from INGA and EUGENIE. The plot is similar to EUGENIE: virginal Liljedahl is corrupted by her older lesbian friend, played by Gio Petre (I, A WOMAN PART 2). Olivera Vuco (MARK OF THE DEVIL) looks menacing, and seedy male co-star Heinz Hopf also degraded Liljedahl's big-breasted Swedish counterpart Christina Lindberg in THE DEPRAVED (another film, like this one, aching for a DVD release!). THE COUNTESS DIED OF LAUGHTER is a European sex comedy, with a trailer that is brutally honest ("This won't play the art houses, and it won't be written in the history books. It's just a crazy film!"). Gabriele Tinti (husband of BLACK EMANUELLE Laura Gemser) and Femi Benussi, red-headed sexpot of countless European sex films, star. This is apparently one in a series of period sex comedies called the "Frau Wirtin" series, very popular in their homeland of Germany, and this was the only entry to gain a wide release in the United States. The jokes look stupid, but European sex romps from Deutschland are usually a lot of fun. A bunch of maids compare their bare asses as a monk walks in! THE FOUNTAIN OF LOVE is another German sex comedy, featuring a fountain that grant "extraordinary sexual powers" and drop-dead beauty to those who drink from it. It looks scrumptious! The director, Ernst Hofbauer, later went on to helm the popular Schoolgirl Report films (can we hope for DVD's of these soon?). It was released by Crown-International here, so perhaps Rhino still has the DVD rights? HER AND SHE AND HIM is stylish Max Pecas erotica, telling the tale of a young girl who falls in with a lesbian photographer. Surprising homosexuality (both male and female) are the highlights of this obscure film, with some outstanding outdoor sequences and well-lit boidoir sex scenes. LOVE ME BABY, LOVE ME is another groovy 60s Eurosex masterpiece, with groovy nightclub sequences opening the trailer. A black woman wearing a spiked silver wig, women drowning themselves in wine, dancing frantically to soul music and gobbling down spaghetti like nobody's business, how did this outrageous gem escape attention?! It recalls Russ Meyer, especially BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS, with great widescreen photography, hyper editing, and odd sexual scenarios. I'm surprised Radley Metzger's Audobon Films didn't pick it up for release here, it looks right up his alley! LOVE TIMES THREE is the most obscure film of the previews grab bag, with a young girl and her mother sharing the same lover(s). A nude group shower scene, on-location photography in Morocco, and an irresistible pop-art 70s feel to the whole proceedings. It looks like a Greek sex film, with the sex bordering on hardcore and offering equal opportunity full frontal nudity. Who knows where this flick ended up? SCHOOL OF EROTIC ENJOYMENT opens with a dorky biker gang chasing down a sports car and beating up the driver in the middle of a field. So far, no erotic enjoyment. The groovy music, with lilting female vocals, is by Carlo Savina (LISA AND THE DEVIL) and looks to be better than the film. With political protesters, a woman stripping on top of a car, young lovers basking on a yacht, and a colorful hippie pad. The female star of the movie is Malisa Longo, ELSA FRAULEIN SS herself, and looking very cute in this early film. She might make the film worth seeing, but the preview is awful.
No stills galleries on this disc (which is odd for an SWV double-feature disc), but to make up for it are two oddball short subjects that are kinda-sorta related to the feature films. "Parisian Rendezvous" is culled from an unidentified feature film, and is one of the strangest things I've seen. And yes, the women is dubbed by Carolyn De Fonseca! I TOLD you she did every Eurocult film ever dubbed into English! A reporter visiting Paris runs into an attractive (I guess...) woman in a mime club (?) and takes her to a psychedelic discotheque with a liquid color show projected on the wall and groovy music blaring. While he travels the world on assignment, she travels all over...for some reason. They finally agree to meet in Paris again after playing global phone tag, only for the clip to end in disaster. "The Apple-Knockers and the Coke" was long rumored to star Marilyn Monroe; however, two seconds into the short, you will realize that it is indeed NOT Ms. Monroe but is in fact Arline Hunter, a poor imitation whose breasts are much larger than Monroe's. Hunter was a Playboy Playmate in August 1954, and starred in a number of sexploitation films through the 1960s, including A VIRGIN IN HOLLYWOOD, BAGHDAD NIGHTS, and Mamie Van Doren's SEX KITTENS GO TO COLLEGE.
WILD, WILD WORLD OF JAYNE MANSFIELD is a must-own exploitation masterpiece, even though its co-feature is a depressing and mostly boring excursion into human psychosexuality. Pick it up for Ms. Mammaries, and dig those groovy Eurosex trailers! (Casey Scott)
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