6.6/10
101
4 user 3 critic

The Secret of Wendel Samson (1966)

Not Rated | | Short, Drama
Shy Pop artist Wendel Samson (played by real Pop artist Red Grooms) can't work up the nerve to break up with his boyfriend, so he has anonymous trysts with other men. Meanwhile, when his ... See full summary »

Director:

Mike Kuchar
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Cast

Credited cast:
Red Grooms Red Grooms ... Wendel Samson
Mimi Gross Mimi Gross ... Margret
Floraine Connors Floraine Connors ... Blonde (as Florain Connors)
Maren Thomas Maren Thomas
Albert Salzano Albert Salzano ... (as Al Salzano)
Bob Cowan Bob Cowan
George Kuchar
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ken Curtis ... Festus Haggen (archive footage)
Milburn Stone ... Dr. Galen 'Doc' Adams (archive footage)
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Storyline

Shy Pop artist Wendel Samson (played by real Pop artist Red Grooms) can't work up the nerve to break up with his boyfriend, so he has anonymous trysts with other men. Meanwhile, when his female friend Margaret pressures him into an intimate relationship, it sends Wendel spiraling into a nightmare world where he's violently punished for his sexuality.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Short | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
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User Reviews

 
it's flawed, no doubt, but it's also poignant, fantastical, and entertaining!
21 November 2017 | by framptonhollisSee all my reviews

Watching "The Craven Sluck" and "The Secret of Wendel Samson" back to back is quite the experience. Both films are similar and different in a lot of ways; for example, "Samson" is similar to "Sluck" in its tendency to escalate so much over the course of its run time that it delves into the fantastical and absurd. However, in "Samson" this is played effectively for tense and symbolic drama, while in "Sluck" it is all just played for tongue in cheek absurdist laughs.

Although I often value comedy slightly over drama, I must admit that "The Secret of Wendel Samson" is easily the superior film of the two (which is not to say that I did not love "The Craven Sluck", which was flat out HILARIOUS!), and, as you can see, I have decided to give it a perfect score. My mind had a mild battle over whether I should grace the film with a 9 or a 10 and, while I still firmly believe that a score of 9 likely is more fitting, I decided to give the film a 10 regardless. I can forgive its flaws and unintentionally funny technical misdemeanors (the acting is mostly really bad and a lot of the over dubbing is godawful), because, in the end, it is one of the most uniquely and unconventionally beautifully told films dealing with homosexuality. And, although it IS obviously about homosexuality, almost anyone can probably relate to SOME of the feelings expressed so brilliantly in the film. Those feelings of being an outsider...those feelings of guilt for what is beyond your control...those feelings of nervousness and paranoia surrounding one's own suppressed secrets, whatever they may be...whether it's a crush or a mistake in one's past...these feelings are all universal, and they are expressed with the utmost entertainment, understanding, and beauty in this almost anarchically experimental short.

Much of the film dives directly into the realms of total fantasy, and it reminded me directly of the great chapter in "Ulysses" entitled "Circe", which is the novel's longest episode and, yet, virtually none of what occurs actually happens and very close to its entirety is no more than a plight of farcical fantasy. This film is quite similar in the fact that a huge portion of what goes on on screen here is inside the head of the protagonist, and, thus, it becomes very surreal and even Lynchian at some points (which is always a pleasure).

Simply put, any fan of the underground films of the 60's and 70's and any movie buff willing to cast aside the abundance of amateurish flaws scattered throughout this project, must, must, must see this provocative, relatable, and heart breaking piece of weird avant garde goodness!


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