Millard, it looks like from his IMDb page, started off directing Comedy Erotica drifting over into Nudie Cutie SyFy, and various soft core Sexploitation Fetish Dramas, Fantasies, and Thrillers. In Oddo he turned a run of the mill serial killer fetish flick into an interesting Transitional Film Noir. It fits right in with Psycho (1960), The Thrill Killers (1964), Angels Flight (1964), The Strangler (1964), Who Killed Teddy Bear (1965), Aroused (1966), The Sex Killer (1967), and The Honeymoon Killers (1969).
Millard, I guess, among serious adult entertainment aficionados is not held in very high esteem, he is a sort of an acquired taste. But you always got to keep in mind with this type of material is that it's being judged by critics and reviewers that specialize in the hard core.
Labeled as a Sexploitation flick, Hollywood/Independent/International Film critics probably never saw it. One of Millards stylistic touches was filming M.O.S. and telling the story in a voiceover narration, one of the archetypes of Classic Film Noir.
The Hard Core critics are, more often than not, not going to like Oddo. It's way too tame, (zeroing in only on the oddball fetish, with occasional quick lashes of bush), for the excesses of their genre. The only difference to what we call "R" rated nowadays and this is, that this film holds some scenes way too long for today's film editing styles, a sequence that would maybe last a fast 2-3 minutes with quick cutting lasts ten to twelve. What's different though now is that rather than have this shot with dopey dialogs and throwaway type canned music, the whole fetish-arty sequence is accompanied by some really good sleazy Jazz pieces by Al Deline. They are almost Fetish Music Videos, with the scintillating ladies doing their undressing in stylistically filmed stripteases in a screen depiction of a really good, erotic, male fever dream. It's hypnotizing.
The film is without any dialog in the same vein as Dementia (1955) but it does have noir-ish voice over narration by Allen Sterling.
|Alan Jaffeo (Martin Donley)|
|Recurring Nightmare War Visions haunt Alan in the form of negative combat footage|
|Old neighborhood bullies|
|His sweetheart is shacking up with someone else|
The clincher is that afterward, when he finally climbs the dingy stairs up to the residence hotel dive apartment that he calls home, he finds that his telegram sits unopened in the hall his father is passed out drunk on a mattress., and his step mother Jan, is nowhere to be found. He pours himself a drink.
Awakened in the middle of the night, Alan finds his stepmother back at their apartment. She and a sister footfetish-ista (who is uncredited but looks a lot like Valerie Perrine), are both half naked and starting to get into a serious "tongue in groove" session. His last vestiges of any sanity disappear down a rat hole in his head. Welcome to Noirsville!
The Lezbo Sequence
Alan takes out his knife and murders them both. He takes off into the neighborhood stopping at a children's park to swing on a swing. He gets nauseous and heads out into the city a Terrible "1", a bonafide madman.
In the Tenderloin district he gets his shoes shined at a topless shoe shine, visits the various topless bars and strip joints and ending up in a dingy brothel with a prostitute (again uncredited but she gives off a Susanne Summers vibe). She does her best to try and arouse Alan but only succeeds in getting herself killed. The shoeshine sequence and the brothel sequence both also have a seedy jazz accompaniment. Alan buys a handgun at a pawn shop and rolls a drunk for his wallet. Inside he finds a business card for an expensive call girl whose credentials seem to turn Alan on.
Alan's final encounter is with this call girl Sylvia (Janice Kelly). Sylvia and Alan seem to hit it off and again we get a long make out session to a suitably sleazy tune with Alan fully clothed and Sylvia only in her garter belt and stockings. Sylvia is good but no match for Alan who is after all a madman.
It isn't long before Alan takes the one way "big sleep" ticket out of Noirsville.
I've written before that I love when this happens. A film is made on the leading edge, the fringe, the avant-garde of a culture at a particular point in time. This film is for all intents and purposes a Noir. The subject matter is dark, it's character is obsessed. The films whole milieu is alienated from the face of society we like to normally show. The film depicts things taboo in polite society. The film is slightly ahead of what will become tolerated and/or perfectly acceptable in time. The culture, (to paraphrase Phyllis Dietrichson in Double Indemnity) has a speed limit. Any film that explores taboo subject matter or goes past the speed limit of the culture is considered off beat, kinky, exploitative, obscene and is too far out there for what passed as normal. It gets bumped off the cultural highway into relative obscurity.
Definitely worth a watch 7/10.