A young, once-great Hollywood film director refuses to accept changing times during the early 1930s, and confines himself to his decaying mansion to make silent porn flicks.

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Storyline

A once-great silent film director, unable to make the transition to the new talkies, lives as a near-hermit in his Hollywood home, making cheap, silent sex films, and suffering in the knowledge of his sexual impotence, and apathetic about the plans to demolish his home to make way for a motorway. His producer and his producer's girlfriend come by to see how he is doing (and to supply heroin to the actress as her payment). The girlfriend stays to watch them filming, and is deeply impressed by his methods. When the actress goes to the bathroom, and dies there of an overdose, the girlfriend takes her place in the film. Then the producer returns... Written by Steven Pemberton <Steven.Pemberton@cwi.nl>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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A degenerate film with dignity. See more »

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Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated NC-17 for explicit sexuality | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

13 February 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Erotiko gros plan  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Trivia

Part of a cycle of movies made during the mid-1970s about Tinseltown, Old Hollywood and its Golden Age including the Silent Film era. The pictures include Inserts (1975), Valentino (1977), Nickelodeon (1976), Silent Movie (1976), The Wild Party (1975), The Last Tycoon (1976), Hearts of the West (1975), The Day of the Locust (1975), and The World's Greatest Lover (1977). See more »

Goofs

Sitting at piano, Boy Wonder plays song Moonglow, written in 1934. The movie takes place at least three or four years earlier (characters repeatedly talk about a then-unknown actor named Clark Gable, already a big star by time song was written).

NOTE: "Moonglow" is not explicitly referenced as such, and is virtually identical to 1929's "Sweeter Than Sweet", so this may not be a goof. See more »

Quotes

Big Mac: I swear you do it just to rile me, pure and simple.
Boy Wonder: Nothing pure, old sport, is ever simple.
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Crazy Credits

The end credits are shown in black-and-white, against a backdrop of a silk cloth. It is also grainier and scratched in spots compared to the rest of the film. It is very reminiscent of the credits of vintage 30's melodramas. See more »


Soundtracks

Moonglow
Written by Will Hudson, Edgar De Lange and Irving Mills
Played by Joe Venuti and his orchestra
recording courtesy of RCA records
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User Reviews

 
Portrait of An Artist
16 November 2008 | by (Kentucky) – See all my reviews

John Byrum's 1975 film "Inserts" owes a lot to Hitchcock's 1948 classic "Rope". Although it does not feature Hitchcock's experimental feature length continuous shot, it is nonetheless told in real time. The 115 minute running length is the time needed to tell the story as it is the entire duration of the action on the screen, nicely book-ended by shots of the main character alone in his Hollywood home playing the piano. There are no flashbacks or progression of time sequences, and the camera frame never leaves the immediate area of the great room of the house.

Technically two cameras as this is one of those "film within a film" things; one on and one off screen. The main character (played by Richard Dreyfuss) is a gone-to-seed once famous movie director nicknamed "The Boy Wonder". It's never made entirely clear whether his is a self-imposed exile; only that he has great disdain for talking pictures. In the midst of the Great Depression he earns money cranking out smut films shot inside his doomed home; a house standing in the path of the so-to-be Hollywood freeway.

Inside his Moorish style bungalow, all the Boy Wonder needs is a girl, a boy, a camera, and a bottle. This is a casual set with the director prowling around in his bathrobe and the swimming pool serving as his septic tank. And not unexpectedly there are a fair amount of self-reflexive movie references in the script; such as those about the "new Gable kid at Pathe" who wants The Boy Wonder to direct his next film.

"Inserts" is odd and ambitious, more a play than a film; with dialog and intensity level worthy of "Dinner Rush" (2002). Watch how all scene transitions are signaled by the entrance or exit of a character speaking dramatic entrance and exit lines. The Boy Wonder's leading lady (played by Veronica Cartwright) is the first character to make an appearance. She's an airhead flapper with a heroin habit and a heart of gold. Cartwright is wonderful in this role, with a voice just slightly less irritating than the one Jean Hagen brought to her character in "Singin in the Raid". Voices that for obvious reasons were a better fit in the silent film days.

Next to appear is the leading man, Rex the Wonder Dog (Stephen Davies), a gravedigger who will do anything to break into the movie business. Bob Hoskins plays Big Mac, a gangster with a plan to open up a chain of hamburger stands. He is financing The Boy Wonder's films and pays a visit to the set along with his new girl Cathy Cake (Jessica Harper). Cathy has come from Chicago to break into the talkies and is playing Big Mac to get a jump-start on her acting career.

"Inserts" shares its main theme with "The Stunt Man", the blurring of a participants's ability to distinguish between the reality of life and the fiction being acted for the camera. Watch for the occasions where the actors get into a scene too far; even the "barely with a pulse" Boy Wonder gets too involved. A liquor bottle broken over their head quickly brings these characters back to earth, insert heavy symbolism here.

Bynum also allegorically explores the dynamic of an artist who must create for an audience for whom he has total contempt. The Boy Wonder is equally contemptuous of smut viewers and mainstream commercial movie goers.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.


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