Thursday, July 13, 2017

Some Like It Violent (1968) Comparatively, an Exploitation "Roughie" Masterpiece

When the "B's" went out of production low budget guerrilla Exploitation Grindhouse "C through Z's" took over. I can count probably just using the fingers of both hands how many of them are worth a look. Some Like It Violent is one of them.

 (The Last Drive In)

Vice Raid. Times Square Area. A two squad cars converge on a West Side flop. It's one of Johnny "Big Daddy" Scaro's many houses of  prostitution scattered around Manhattan. Vice Detective Scott Lehman in charge. Hookers and their Johns/tricks, are caught in the net. Two of  Scaro's goombahs are watching the shit hit the fan from their Chevy sedan across the street.

They should have been inside making the collection. They got lucky goofing off. One of them Frankie Shive has got a ridiculous upside down Groucho Marx-ish moustache, it must have been cool in '68. Frankie is getting nervous, he can't stand the sight of "fuzz." Bruno the Buffalo is the driver. They split.

Meanwhile, Big Daddy is up in his apartment enthusiastically showing bad girls what happens when they get "outa" line. He's gleefully, systematically, dismembering a female mannequin with his machete in front of his two terrified personal hookers, Zelda and the Blonde. They are his "private stuff." Their sole purpose is to lounge around the apartment until Johnny gets a itch, and then they'll scratch it, and maybe both at the same time. Johnny's got big needs. They are topless. Their standard uniform. They are being watched by a captive audience of other mannequins. Apparently Johnny is a bit of a wacko.

A misogynist through and through, Johnny treats his women like bitches.

Whacking Mannequins

Johnny "Big Daddy Scaro (Bob O'Connell)

The private stuff agrees "Big Daddy" is crazy

The Vice Raid

Frankie Shiv and  Bruno outside the busted whoehouse
The bust with the Alpha Blue Archive superimposed

Det. Scott Lehman
The perps

Frankie and Bruno get caught in a Mid Town traffic jam. Frankie Shiv hops out of the car and walks to Scaro's Hell's Kitchen apartment house and breaks the bad news. Frankie tells Johnny that he should move to a better dump.

"I like it here!"
Frankie: I was just about the make the collection on the house and the heats crawling all over like roaches out of the woodwork. They got the girls and some customers also.
Johnny: Uuuh, and you say Scott was there. How long ago did this happen?
Frankie: About forty-five minutes, I left Bruno in some traffic. Hey Johnny why don't you get out of this lousy place? It stinks!
Johnny: Ahaa, I like it here, I got business here, I got friends here, and I feel safe here. I was born only two blocks from here. Now you know why I like it here. What are you the D.A. or something?

Johnny, pissed off, calls his shyster to see what happened to his protection. He hears the lawyer out and hangs up the phone.

Johnny: A bunch of doofus punks I gotta deal with these days, no class, and no honor. [he looks at the two hookers sitting around like pets taking the proceedings all in] What are you looking at, what is this a zoo or something? Go on, beat it, scram, get outta here. Get the hell outta here you make me sick.

Dapper Dan stops by and gives Johnny information about a computerized dating service. Dapper confirms that he did indeed get the straight dope on its potential from Johnny Basto. Wider Horizons Social Contact Service. He tells Johnny...

Dapper Dan: I never seen anything like it, machines do all the work, and the broads come out of the walls. The broad is really raking it in. You think she's going to go along with the plan?
Johnny: don't worry I'll take care of it.
Dapper Dan: We're gonna need Brinks.
Johnny: That's funny, we're gonna need Brinks, Brinks for Johnny Scaro!

Johnny is now excited. After Johnny's boys "convince" Alma Mae Cookson to let them take over her service,  Detective Scott Lehman is busy recruiting an old acquaintance Delores, the daughter of a cop shot by Scaro's boys to pose as a client of the new operation. Delores fills out the questionnaire with the help of Scott and gets matched up with none other than Johnny Scaro.

The "date" doesn't go well and Johnny rapes Dolores. When Johnny finds out from his mouthpiece's informers that Dolores was working for the police he goes ape. Scott camps out at Dolores' Westchester house expecting trouble Scott and Dolores hit it off.

Johnny and his crew plan an assassination, Johnny wants to make the hit himself. It all goes Noirsville.


Times Square

Frankie Shiv 

Vice Raid

Scaro relaxing

Bruno and the Blonde "relaxing"

Johnny's Hudson River hideout

Dapper Dan and Alma Mae Cookson

Big Daddy going bug eyed

scratching an itch

Johnny and his pets

The hookers

Scaro and Dapper Dan "relaxing"

Dolores makes it with Scott "relaxing"

Johnny's "private stuff" slinking around the apartment like cats

Johnny,  zeroing  in Dolores

Johnny about to get a free sample of Dolores

Johnny trapped like a rat in the sewer

Croton Dam, maybe?

Directed by Kemal Horulu and well written also by Kemal Horulu.  Camera was by Joe Mangine, Assistant Camera Bill Tobin, Edited by Phil Fitzpatrick, Sound by T.A. Dougher, Production Manager Ian Merrick, Assistant Production Manager Al Lee, Script Girl Kathleen Lee, Negative Cutting Bing Jong, Laboratories  Arta Lab, and Sound Recording by Magno Sound. It was produced by Barry Mahon (Hot Skin, Cold Cash (1965)).

The film stars Bob O'Connell as Johnny Scaro, Sharon Kent (who looks a bit like Kathryn Leigh Scott in a blonde wig) as Dolores, and Natara as prostitute Zelda. Scaro's blonde hooker  uncredited starred in producer Barry Mahon's (Hot Skin, Cold Cash (1965)).  That's it, the rest of the cast is lost to history and they probably didn't use their real names anyway.

O'Connell is a blast to watch, bug-eyed, and channeling Cagney in his crazed monologues about making on his own it in the streets. The opening sequence of Scaro chopping up the mannequins is reminiscent of  Sam Fuller's intense opening sequence for The Naked Kiss. As with most all of these cheapy productions, the whole range of acting ability and lack of it is apparent and, of course, the requisite T&A is displayed.

These bottom of the barrel exploitation films bridge some of the the gaps between B production Noirs and the Hollywood output of Neo Noirs that picked up again in the 70's. Needs a good restoration, worth seeking out, more than just a "skin flick" 6-7/10.

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