Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Warning: The following post is about two movies in which genitalia talk! You've been warned.

The late Candice Rialson (far left) was a fixture of many drive-in films in the 1970s and probably should have been a big mainstream star. This is one of her best films. Check it out!

There are many films I have seen – or what to see – just on the basis of sheer curiosity. Why were they made? Who thought that particular premise would appeal to audiences?

And two films were at the top of my List: Chatterbox, a musical comedy about a young woman whose vagina begins talking and singing and Me and Him, about a would-be yuppie who suddenly can hear his penis talk to him and decides to follow his advice.

Any guy could tell you that move is quite foolish.

Chatterbox is a clearly low budget film aimed at the drive-in crowd from 1977. Me and Him was a studio release from Columbia. Chatterbox has no mainstream stars. Besides Rialson, the film boats of having Rip Taylor and Professor Irwin Corey in the cats.

Me and Him from 1988 features two almost A-list performers – Griffin Dunne and Ellen Greene – who either didn't read the script or just needed a paycheck. Badly.

Chatterbox was written and directed by Tom Desimone, whose other credits include the Linda Blair film Hell Night, a raft of other low budget films and television episodes. Hell Night isn't a bad little horror film of the dead teenager variety

Me and Him was shot and co-wrote by German director Doris Dorrie, who seems to have had a pretty active career. Maybe German dig the idea of a man following his penis' advice about women.

Now Chatterbox hasn't been legally released on DVD, but I did obtain a copy. I found Me and Him in a bargain bin on VHS years ago. I thought then a double feature of two films with similar premises would make for an intriguing afternoon.

It did. Along with two other cinematic adventurers we endured the better part of four hours exploring the dramatic potential of genitalia that could communicate.

The verdict: Chatterbox is actually a chaste little romantic comedy of sorts. While Rialson was topless aplenty, the film is really fairly innocent. While my fellow movie travelers couldn't help but see potentially smuttier jokes in certain scenes ourselves, the film makers didn't. Rialson does a great job as an ordinary young woman who doesn't want to be a media star because her vagina can sing.

Now I am prejudiced as I'm a big fan of Rialson. She left the business in 1979 and died in 2006. I doubt that she realized just how fondly people remembered her.

Chatterbox actually sets up a premise and attitude and sticks with it. Me and Him is an odd social comedy in which Dunne's penis first tries to lead him astray and then tries to get him back with his wife. There is not a laugh in the picture which quickly becomes very tedious.

If I had the chance to interview Dunne I would ask him about this film. It would probably be the deal breaker for the conversation, but that is my fascination with this kind of film – why did anyone think this was entertaining?

© 2009 by Gordon Michael Dobbs

No comments: