Obnoxious & vulgarized for the U.S. revamping of trite German sex comedy
Peter Savage, the annoying wannabe who collaborated on the Raging Bull book, hung out with Scorsese and made several porn films, foisted this piece of junk on theatergoers 40 years ago, and Something Weird has revived it on video. Take a pass.
The bulk of the movie is footage from a rather misguided 1968 German sex comedy HOT SAND ON SYLT, the Sylt referring to a German island in the North Sea that was a tourist mecca. Its nude beaches help to symbolize the hedonistic late '60s and even had original director Jerzy Macc returning for seconds with a followup film READY, WILLING AND ABLE, which was a very enjoyable staple on the drive-in circuit in the late 1970s.
But SYLT, rechristened NAKED AND FREE: THE NEW LIFE STYLE by Savage is another matter. Savage added tons of extraneous and frankly offensive footage to try and sell the film as something it ain't, and suffering through his contribution is painful, especially since he injects himself (as he did later in the horrible porn film SYLVIA) into the action in massively ego-tripping fashion.
Horst Tappert stars as a businessman visiting Sylt to get a wealthy jet set buddy Rolf Eden to invest in his scheme for chartering tourist packages to unspoilt edens around the globe. This rather unsympathetic goal amplifies his very dislikable characterization, a middle-aged guy all too quick to dump his pretty (but mature) wife for the first sexy young thing (played by a beautiful if one-note Renate von Holt) that comes along.
With full frontal nudity by the women in the cast the film was obviously marketable, but why ruin it? Savage's additions are pathetic: an untalented lounge act replete with topless dancer belting out the title song, soft porn inserts from time to time that don't match and idiotic inserts of his pals Rocky Graziano and of course Jake LaMotta supposedly ogling the nude girls on horseback or frolicking in the surf on Sylt. Savage even has a beautiful girl friend (played by Jennifer Stone) giving him a blow job that mercifully is cropped off screen (whew!).
Trudging through the Savage-added slime to watch the original footage, I was extremely disappointed with the shallowness of Macc's concept. We're supposed to sympathize or identify with the creep Tappert portrays but it's impossible. I've never liked the familiar Hollywood '60s "midlife crisis" stories about over-the-hill guys finding a new lease on life with a young babe -they are all transparently wish fulfillment or Freudian Slippage by the scuzzy Hollywood producers who made them. Almost as hard to watch as the self-serving, preposterous Bob Evans documentary THE KID STAYS IN THE PICTURE. So Macc, who has succeeded in avoiding cult status in this post-Warhol EVERY old-time director has 15 minutes of fame era, joins the club.
The locations are pretty, ditto the girls, but SYLT lives up to its punning name, "a deposit of sediment", per Merriam Webster's Collegiate.
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