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10 Days in a Nudist Camp (1952)

| Documentary
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Edward Gallner ...
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A FORBIDDEN PARADISE where thousands of Men and Women live together! See more »

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Documentary

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1.37 : 1
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Referenced in Schlock! The Secret History of American Movies (2001) See more »

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Mediocre crap, even by its sub-genre's low standards
5 August 2015 | by (New York, New York) – See all my reviews

If I ruled the world, one thing that would be eliminated would be the category "documentaries". I don't believe they exist - films and now HBO projects and indie videos called docs, shown at festivals as same, and winning awards in that pigeonhole are a fake -they are just as fictional as regular films, only they usually don't hire actors. The process of putting together a film, sifting through material (even if it is found footage), choosing what to include and what to leave out, writing a narration if necessary and stamping one's point-of-view on the finished product, even if subconsciously doing so, links all so-called documentaries with honestly fiction films. The notion of some sort of objectivity is a con.

Which brings us to 10 DAYS IN A NUDIST CAMP, one of the least interesting titles in all of Something Weird's voluminous and varied catalog. Its filmmaker dabbled in risqué subject matter as early as 1919, but his '50s paean to the nudist movement is merely a conglomeration of old, boring footage with dumb narration added. Watching it in total merely reminded me that most films defy categorization as bad or good - like the bulk of pornography they are just filler, future landfill waiting to be buried for good.

Unlike most nudist films, this one is painfully short on nudity. The many scenes, ranging from America back to Germany and France for the progenitors of the sun-worshiping craze, generally have both men and women wearing loin cloths, shorts and often even tops, defying the premise entirely. I ascribe this prudishness not to fear of censorship but rather to laziness and cheapness - the filmmakers had no interest in finding good, perhaps even stimulating nude shots for the fans -no, they just wanted to fill out an hour of running time with any old material.

The patrons of burlesque houses or the forerunners of art theaters and later Adult theaters deserved better than this treatment. At least the tame but sexy movies ushered in by the success of Russ Meyer's IMMORAL MR. TEAS permitted the showing of pretty girls in stages of undress that satisfied the prurient interests of the '50s into the '60s. But 10 DAYS satisfies nothing. It ends pompously with the admonition that the then-burgeoning spread of nudist colonies in America could be coming to an end due to commercialization of a once-noble health movement. Them's fighting words coming from filmmakers who are simultaneously pandering to the public's baser instinct and ripping them off.


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