Dick Randall ruins a perfectly good French nudie film
In these decadent times, many a hack and former figure of ridicule has been elevated to an inverted pantheon and is veritably worshiped in memoriam by unwashed young fans. Sort of lowbrow cinema's answer to the Scientology cult.
One of these jerks is Dick Randall, an untalented schlock peddler of decades gone by. When I worked at Variety newspaper in the '80s I was always amused by his full-page ads for nonsensical garbage films, that would fill up our fat special issues alongside the similar junk hawked by Golan-Globus and dozens of other bottom feeders.
The talented French porn director Jose Benazeraf hooked up with Randall for Paris OOH LA LA, a well-photographed (in the widescreen Totalscope format) look at French showgirls that is head & shoulders above the usual run of early '60s girlie movies. Unfortunately, Randall with stogie in hand dominates most of the film as an American businessman with 24 hours to kill in the City of Lights. His unfunny attempts at physical humor and always annoying presence seems like punishment for the fans, who simply wanted to see naked gals.
Unlike the template for this voyeuristic genre, Randall has the temerity to lay hands upon his leading ladies here, adding to the disgust. Jose shot himself in the foot with the inclusion of this distracting schlub.
The female performers have elaborate acts, not just the bump & grind of their American counterparts, though the suggestiveness here is a treat. One girl with a vast, swirling cape is a true stage performer, while a specialty act girl lying on a huge blow-up hand, with phallic thumb standing straight up in the air, deserves kudos. There are also drunken dream-like sequences that depart from the overall travelogue format, but these scenes suffer from Randall's presence.
Louiguy's jazzy (heavy on the vibraphone) musical score is a treat, while Alain Derobe's pro cinematography elevates the film. The 2.35: 1 aspect ratio is generally pointless, though it does frame a bathing suit beauty contest well, until Randall, as usual, storms in and starts feeling up the contestants.
Weirdest credit (in IMDb, not displayed on screen) is publicist/film buff extraordinaire Pierre Rissient as film's a.d. I knew him quite well in the '80s, where he was an annual fixture at the Cannes Film Festival, and his participation here (his other credits are for greats Michel Deville & Jean-Luc Godard) proves it's a small (film) world.
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