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USA 1976
Directed by
Mark Haggard / Bruce Kimmel
90 minutes
Rated R

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

The First Nudie Musical

It is a pity that Mel Brooks or Woody Allen didn’t come up with the idea for this film, a musical spoof of the porno industry complete with songs such as “Perversion” and “Dancing Dildoes”. They didn’t and its great potential is not realized by Bruce Kimmel who co-directed with Mark Haggard, a real-life porno film-maker.

Kimmel, who also wrote the script and songs and stars as John Smithee, the bumbling director of Come, Come Now, the world’s first nudie musical. There are amusing moments enough, such as the hopeless songs banged out by the show’s songwriter, Dick Davis, and a scene involving a “stunt cock” but the best parts of the film are the musical numbers themselves, mainly as concepts rather than in actuality, Kimmel’s music and lyrics not being particularly strong. In fact very little about the film is actually well done, yet the idea is so ludicrously appealing and the approach so genial that one cannot help but be won over by it, there being a kind of charming congruity between the low budget values of The First Nudie Musical and the tinpot nature of the film being made within it. It is this quality above all that makes the film a likeable oddity.

It is somewhat surprising that Paramount bought the rights to the film although they barely marketed it, allegedly because they were worried what it would do to the reputation of Cindy Williams, then a hot property in the TV sit-com, Laverne and Shirley, who has a lead role as Rosie, the secretary. The film tanked in its day and The First Nudie Musical was also the last although Kimmel returned to the spoof musical scene in 1983 with The Creature Wasn’t Nice (aka Naked Space).

FYI: Future Oscar-winning director Ron Howard makes an uncredited appearance in an early rehearsal scene. 




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