I like my storyline porn films played straight, without the knowing, in-joke nonsense that some mistakenly pigeon-hole as "comedy". ALL MEN ARE APES! had some melodramatic potential, but is submerged in campy antics.
Bombastic Steffie De Passe toplines as Diana, a girl saddled with a slutty mom who likes to call Diana her "little sister" and sets a very poor role model. An early scene where a hunky sailor services mom, and then later Diana (cueing a sort of one-up's-manship rivalry) sets the sleazy tone.
Diana becomes a hit stripper at local clubs, but unfortunately this tame and ultra-teasing 1965 picture offers no nudity, even though it was made for and shown at Adult Cinemas. Her career takes a disastrous turn when her creepy agent (porn regular Steve Vincent) teams her up in a novelty act with Harry the Ape. It's sort of a carny/burlesque answer to KING KONG on the cheap and leads to a ridiculous and incoherent comical climax and false ending.
Told in flashback from Diana's behind-bars status as a wayward girl, film could have been exploitation's answer to the lurid melodramas of Hugo Haas (similar structure to his ONE GIRL'S CONFESSION and THE OTHER WOMAN, for example). Instead director Joseph Mawra takes his over-the-top OLGA approach, throwing in some pointless violence but generally adhering to a way too tongue-in-cheek attitude. Opening credits sequence features a guy stripteasing at his window that sets a needlessly campy tone.
Oddest element here is the best performance in the film, Tom O'Horgan portraying a decadent Greenwich Villager who hosts wild parties in his apartment. Several years later O'Horgan made theater history as the stage director of HAIR, and his theatrical ability is obvious here, especially amidst some relatively untalented co-stars.
For sheer nostalgia, the film showcases many long-gone Village landmarks, at least their exteriors (night club scenes are cheaply shot in a studio), including The Duplex (still going strong), Crazy Horse, Back Fence, Dugout, Surf Maid and Bitter End. Direction is sloppy and mainly pointless, as in wasted guest appearances by such as the Ink Spots. Bosomy De Passe looks like a stripper and was likely a 1-shot film artiste.
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