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|Index||14 reviews in total|
Excellent piece of trash cinema by the maestro. Hal Hooper's performance as the husband who beats and rapes his wife and uses the preacher to get at the drifter is awesome -- one of the most memorably pieces of acting in the history of B movies. Lots of excellent T and A shots, with star Maitland showing. Great photography in black and white.
For some reason, I expected more crass (and I've seen Russ Meyer films
from the late 60s and early 7s) and exploitive (although they are in
docu-creepy realistic funny way) rendition of a story like this. I
couldn't have been more mistaken. Perfectly cast - Hal Hopper (the
ultimate sleaze-bag in a worn linen suit, babes galore - Lorna Maitland
and her beautiful mute sister (can't remember her name) who was mute
(and has no lines)...the "crazy" and hilarious mother of the these two
"Lil Abner" rejects who makes moonshine ..on the side - whose name is
Princess something (in real life)...Anyway, I'm making it sound
complicated and it's not and it's not "dirty" (even for then). It's
funny, serious (darkly later), kind of sexy, great b/w cinematography
and the ending is on the plains.
I never thought this film would be good. Meyer's best film (that I've seen - which is about half his output). Well-done.
"Mudhoney" takes the gritty "realism" of "Lorna" one step further. It's downright nasty. Perhaps Meyer's best script and most satisfying narrative. Hopper is a down-on-his-luck alcoholic wife-beater who nearly succeeds at turning a Depression-era small town into hell. He even tries to take a shortcut through heaven. Fits nicely between "Lorna" and "Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!" as Meyer's mid-60's b&w peak.
This film is a classic and brilliant Russ Meyer effort which shows talent and creativity, delivering an ultimately jolting and outrageous picture. It has a perfect mix of sex and violence and a great central character who's a complete degenerate who gets his comeuppance in the memorable conclusion. Moonshine liquor, nudity, religion, set in the backwoods of Missouri during the Depression, populated by bizarre somewhat stereotypical characters a seasoned viewer of Meyer's films might expect to see, there isn't a wasted minute, as the film unleashes a variety of assaulting and memorable scenes that follow one after another.
Seen at a Trash Film Retrospective, I do not concur with those who made the selection, or commented on the film before, here in IMDb. Director Russ Meyer may be more famous for the titillation and violence he introduced in his movies, but he is a man with a purpose, and a political message - that any intelligent viewer could see. Now, almost forty years after the film was made, the denunciation of mass hypocrisy, stupidity, alienation in American society seem more blatant, and terrifying. Those who are after crude nudity and sex scenes would better watch national television tonight. Those who are after one and a half hours of entertaining cinema with several points to remember later on, would better give themselves the trouble to watch this in a theater (Meyer's fans are still strong enough to impose him in many theme festivals), or the uncut version that made it to DVD lately. Immediately after Mudhoney, master Russ did what I consider his masterpiece, _Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1966)_. Now I hesitate between the two. Up to you to decide. Oh, yes. 'Lorna Maitland' (qv) is a southern belle Clara Belle, even if she has to contend with 'Rena Horten' (qv) cast as a mute, but whose body and facial talk speak high of her acting ability. The two buxom beauties are the 'titwillows' in this film. 'Prince Livingston' (qv) couldn't be better cast, and played, to contrast the beauty of her two 'daughters'.
Drama takes place in Missouri during the Depression (though that adds
little to the story). Drifter Calif McKinney (John Furlong) comes by a
small town looking for working. He finds it at the Wade farm run by
Luke Ward and his niece Hannah (Antoinette Christiani) and her
alcoholic abusive husband Sidney (Hal Hopper). Calif starts to fall for
Hannah--Sidney sees that and doesn't like it. He gets the town and the
local preacher (Frank Bolger) to rally against Calif. Also there are
the two beautiful, huge-chested sisters (Lorna Maitland and Rena
Horten) who are in the local cat house...It all leads to two near
rapes, violence, murder and tragedy. But it does (in a way) have a
Sleazy (in a good way) and enjoyable Russ Meyer drama. He ignores the campy dialogue he had in his previous features and gives us a straight forward drama. The script is good and it's well-directed with some beautiful black and white cinematography. The acting was (surprisingly) pretty good--especially when you consider all the women were hired for their bodies not acting ability. Furlong and Christiani give good performances but Hopper screams all his lines and Bolger is hopeless.
There is nudity on a few occasions but it's pretty tasteful. No great shakes but right up there with "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" as one of the best Russ Meyers film.
My friend and I sat down to watch Mudhoney on TCM. The first two minutes or so (before the opening credits roll) convinced us this was going to be a unique and well-paced movie. We were totally drawn in by the interesting camera work and tight editing. This is the way to open a film! We knew we were in for a worthwhile viewing experience, not just an exploitation flick. Hal Hopper's performance transcends the B-genre. Deranged, sadistic, degrading, mocking, taunting, conniving, violent--he commands the screen. (This guy was Jay "Dennis the Menace" North's father?) Lovely, seductive ladies, never shown gratuitously. They behave in a manner consistent with the film world Myer's has created (some label "gritty," which is the least of this small community's issues).
Mudhoney is an early Russ Meyer film and doesn't feature the same over
the top style as his later efforts; but it's surprisingly professional,
features an interesting story and has all the sex and sleaze you would
expect from the master Russ Meyer. The film is somewhere between a
serious drama and a piece of trash and it actually works very well. The
film is not as boisterous as Meyer's other 1965 release, Faster
Pussycat! Kill! Kill! but it has a style of it's own that still works
well. The central plot focuses on Calif McKinney, a drifter travelling
to California from Michigan. He stumbles into Missouri and soon gets
himself on a job on a farm working for the old landlord, Lute. Calif
takes a fancy to Lute's daughter Hannah, but there's a problem because
Hannah is married to Sidney; a drunken, adulterous, womanising good for
nothing excuse for a man. Sidney has his eye on a share of the farm
when Lute kicks the bucket, and colludes with the town preacher to
smear Calif's name and protect the inheritance he has no right to...
Russ Meyer has a habit of pulling memorable performances out of his actors, and he certainly does that here. The film is lead by a great performance courtesy of Hal Hopper as the drunken husband. Hopper leads every scene he's in and it's a really great role for him. The rest of the cast is understated in comparison, but John Furlong looks upstanding next to Hopper and naturally the female talent is something to write home about and Meyer doesn't disappoint with his trademark here. The film is not all that explicit compared to later Meyer films, but there's still plenty of female skin on show which is nice. There's not a lot of violence in the film, though Meyer does provide a few fistfights. The story is always interesting and plenty happens in the film too. Meyer provides some good scenes of suspense and tension too which helps to keep things interesting. If there's a point to this film, it's not put across very well; but that isn't important as this film does what it was clearly intended to do and Mudhoney certainly comes recommended to my fellow Meyer fans!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Meyers complex social commentary about the Deep South is layered in a fashion that targets his audience from the first scene. The traveling salesman breaks down, and wanders through a land inhabited by beautifully developed female characters. The women are portrayed in a manner that many males may have perceived them to be, not just in the depression era Deep South, but in many areas across the country. They are beautiful, yet serve no purpose except for sex and entertaining. The southern male is portrayed as weak of character , stupid, and drunk. It is only when a northerner brings in his line of intellect, does life change for the rural people he encounters. While the northern salesman is bland with a mediocre intelligence, he appears to have the answers for the " unfortunates".....if this sounds like governmental policies and a political satire hidden in a T&A flick, then you get it. A sub plot is added about violence against women and lynching. Why I gave this movie a 9. Because it allows me to watch hot scantily clad women engaging in adulterous affairs while at the same time it assuages any feelings of guilt by decreeing that this was a film that mattered and it is important because of the social issues it brings forth....Is it an exploitation film? Or is it much more veiled by the cinematic low hanging fruit of beautiful women.to cover themes that couldn't be expressed in general cinema in that time period. I have to add this because it is a bothersome area of the film, and I can't figure out what Meyers was trying to express ; an ideal, or just shock,,,but the most beautiful actress in the film plays the role of a mute and mentally challenged nymphomaniac. Was this a statement of how men in our culture perceive women and the Jungian principle of the animus? I couldn't tell you, but it made me cringe and squirm, and evoking that response from the audience may be all that Meyer was trying to do with this submission in his repertoire.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I didn't know Meyer could actually make an excellent drama, but I was
surprised by this one. After seeing Faster Pussycat, Beyond the Valium
of the Dolls, and Seven(?)Minutes, I expected the same retarded
writing, acting and editing, but Mudhoney is well written, acted and
doesn't have that ridiculously fast editing his other movies have.
I think the fact that Mudhoney was taken from a novel, with the novelist doing the screenplay, accounted for the quality of this flick.
Towards the end, one scene flowed into the next with some incredible performances from the actors playing the husband and the preacher.
I haven't seen Lorna yet, but I guess it's similar to this one.
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