"FILM NOIR HAD AN INEVITABLE TRAJECTORY…
THE ECCENTRIC & OFTEN GUTSY STYLE OF FILM NOIR HAD NO WHERE ELSE TO GO… BUT TO REACH FOR EVEN MORE OFF-BEAT, DEVIANT– ENDLESSLY RISKY & TABOO ORIENTED SET OF NARRATIVES FOUND IN THE SUBVERSIVE AND EXPLOITATIVE CULT FILMS OF THE MID TO LATE 50s through the 60s and into the early 70s!" The Last Drive In (thelastdrivein.com)
Directed filmed and probably written (though there is no credit) by Al Viola, (Albert T. Viola born in Brooklyn) a production coordinator for The Naked City TV series (1958-1963), who segued into film, other credits include a "Mondo" film A Fool's World (1964), a thriller called A Woman in Love (1968) it's IMDb page shows zero reviews, Interplay (1970) ditto, and a pair of what sound like Dog Patch Hillbilly films titled Preacherman (1971) and Preacherman Meets Widderwoman (1973), but hey, he did make it to Hollywood. The cinematography is very noir-ish in spots.
A great bongo tune by Chet McIntyre (Music) plays during the credit sequence, and the film has nice but appropriately sleazy piano/sax jazz instrumentals.
|"hicksville" with to the right it's F.W. Woolworth's five and dime|
|Candy Stevens (Barbara Morris)|
|Long Island Rail Road|
We get a nice voice over narration by Morris of our female character Candy. It's interesting because it's an average, real, plausible young woman's noir. She's not gonna be a female PI, the Femme Fatale, or an ace reporter, she's just telling the distaff side, the female equivalent of an average joe's hard boiled, a hard luck story, of what thousands of women who want to make it big go through, and just from the bios of our female cast you know that either they went through pretty similar circumstances and scenarios or know people who did. This will inform their best they can do acting.
This is no Pretty Woman (1990) fairy tale its an almost Vérité, Neo Realist in feeling.
She splits for New York City, taking up an offer from Laura (Sally Lane, her only credit), a girlfriend from the school, who is now a model, to stay with her in a typical NYC arrangement, a three girls sharing the rent apartment. A fourth girl can easily squeeze in and all will pay less. She can stay there with them while she looks for work. But Laura quickly arranges for Candy to go to cheesecake photographer Charlie Stern (played by Ian Miller) to audition to be a model, and she's got what it takes to be "in the biz." He schedules her for a shoot.
|Candy and Laura (Sally Lane)|
|The apartment "party pad"|
|Peg, Candy and Laura|
|Barbara (Audrey Campbell)|
|Ffirst meet between Candy and Barbara|
Candy has a couple of modeling sessions with Charlie Stern. It eventually gets romantic.
The Shoot, The Square and the Seduction of Candy
|Charlie Stern (Ian Miller)|
|46th Street and Broadway, Automat at right|
|Charlie knows the score "Candy is dandy but liquor is quicker."|
|Under the code this = what?|
|Candy getting aroused|
|Another coded reference perhaps of things to come|
|Director Viola shows us the not so subtle "plucking of the cherry"|
Below, Charlie slowly goes down out the frame a quote of Richard Conte and Jean Wallace from The Big Combo. Candy is obviously having a good time.
The seduction of Barbara
At eighteen her mother gives her a negligee and tells her she should find a man. Barbara was always resentful of the men in her mothers life who compete with her for love, but she showers and tries on the gift, admiring the way she looks and experimenting with the awakening of her sexual feelings. At this time a "friend" of her mother's enters the apartment using his key to retrieve his watch.
He sees Barbara and thinks she is one of the many party girl friends of her mother. He seduces her, and Barbara lets him.
Barbara seems to start out OK but it went South. She's off men and into women.
Barbara: I've seen lots of men they're either dull as death or all rotten.
To get Candy to see the light, Barbara arranges for Candy to find Charles in bed with Laura. After Candy flees Charlie's apartment, Charlie comments to Laura "Poor thing guess she took everything seriously."
|"Poor thing guess she took everything seriously."|
Candy fixes his meals and even poses for Joe. However, Candy becomes too possessive and prevents David from getting in touch with his creativity.
There Candy segues into a playgirl lifestyle and has a different man every night. When she tells Barbara that she's tried everything and is bored, Barbara tells her, hint hint, that "she hasn't tried EVERYTHING."
Of course it all spirals into Noirsville.
|"You haven't tried everything."|
|A pretty tame party judging that eberyone is still somewhat dressed|
This film is really just on the cusp of being an Exploitation Noir. It's not even up to contemporary "R" rated films of today. When the MPPC ended independent filmmakers exploited everything that they were prevented from depicting when the code was in effect. Its just like a dam broke and nothing was going to stop the flood of freedom no matter how crass and tasteless it was. If someone could make a quick buck off something they made it. But this film offers something more.
Barbara Morris is surprisingly good in this. Director Viola shows some nice sequences of 1965 5th Avenue, Times Square and its signage, an equally interesting detour into a Harlem dance hall and of a time long ago and far away. Worth a look. Screencaps are from an online streaming site. 6.5/10