Friday, January 18, 2019
It took 78 camera setups, and 53 cuts, seven days of filming to construct the 45 second shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960). It's uneasy to watch, queasy for the faint of heart, and compulsively sleazy as we all willingly become the voyeurs of a woman taking a shower. For me the seminal sequence runs "Eye to Eye." The bonus on subject celluloid and amateur studies from film and still photography below will be equally book-ended "Eye to Eye."
Thursday, January 17, 2019
Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Continuing my survey of "Roughies." for possible lost Noirs.
Take Me Naked reminds me of Dementia (1955) with a dash of 1960's The Savage Eye. While the Savage Eye is set in the City Of Angels and is more experimental, Take Me Naked is set in New York City's Bowery and is more exploitation.
It's an underground curiosity. Beatnik poetry set to various images. Its primitively artistic, very clunky in some spots, indulges in a bit too much quaintly restrained sexploitation a la vintage 1966 in others, but it's noir-ish overall and has some interesting but way too short on location shooting in the Bowery. In retrospect the Bowery is more interesting than the exploiting of the amount of nudity they could get away with.
Was this the cutting edge underground avant garde or just pretentious schlock. Looks more to me the latter. You can keep the opening Bowery sequence cut to the bum/voyeur/exhibitionist story setup some T&A and then to the denouement and shit can the rest.
This curiosity was directed by Michael Findlay. Findlay was probably the most famous of a small group of underground New York filmmakers that were in operation in the 1960s. Joseph W. Sarno, Joseph P. Mawra, and Lou Campa were the others and they produced exploitation "roughies" Roughies were films that combined Noir/Suspense/Thriller film elements with the new found freedom to exploit sex. These films were produced expressly for the grindhouse market. They were low budget, probably ran a week to ten days in a theater and made a profit.
Take Me Naked is a mildly raunchy tale written by Michael Findlay's wife Roberta about a sleazy Bowery bum who gets his kicks peeping upon his neighbor (played by Roberta Findlay). The film includes sequences narrated with Pierre Louÿs' erotic classic The Songs of Bilitis. Songs is a collection of erotic, essentially lesbian, poetry published in Paris in 1894. There are gauzy suggestive filmed art house sequences that now seem to go on way too long and it comes off as amateurish filler. The bum finally gives into his urges and goes to visit his neighbor where it goes Noirsville.
|Kevin Sullivan as The Bum peeping|
|Roberta Findlay as Elaine|
|Michael Findlay The Bum's Friend|
The film stars Kevin Sullivan as The Bum, Roberta Findlay as Elaine, Michael Findlay The Bum's Friend (as Robert West), and Sally Farb, Bert Gray, June Roberts, Cleon (as Joan Ames), Bob Goon, and Darlene Bennett as Sapphos.
Here are some of the reviews from IMDb the Vox populi speaks.
Consider the alternative
lazarillo2 November 2009
It's easy to rag on this movie. The plot is pretty weak: a lonely derelict voyeur spies on a woman every night as she showers, masturbates, or just wanders naked around her NYC apartment. Finally, he decides to do something about it. The end. It is also very pretentious with an at times hilariously overwrought voice-over narration ("Her skin is made of the disillusionment of man"). It is filmed in black-and-white in a kind of would-be avante-garde style. And as they often did in their early days, the Findlays put themselves in principal acting roles--Roberta Findlay herself plays the oft-nude woman under her "Anna Riva" pseudonym. Unfortunately, the Findlay missus is definitely not an actress, nor is she exactly a raving beauty. And while her skin may or may not be made of the "disllusionment on man", she and her late husband's film-making was definitely made of the "disillusionment of the movie-goer".
However, consider for a moment what this would be like if it were made today. It would be a shot-on-video hardcore porn movie. Forget about even the pretentious artistry since it would have had a $1,000 production budget and a shooting schedule measured in hours. Instead of authentic gritty NY locations, it would have been shot in somebody's condo in the San Fernando Valley. Instead of this overripe, ridiculous dialogue you would have had something like this: "Ummmm. . .Oh yeah, that's good. . .Uhhhh. . .C'mon baby, yeah. . .Oh, yeah. . .Oh yeah! Yeah! Oh, yeah! Yeah! AAAAAAAigghh!!!" Of course, the girls probably would have been better-looking than Roberta Findlay, but that's only if you can still consider human beings injected with that much silicone, saline, and collagen "girls".
And where the Findlays ALWAYS suceeded was in making truly disturbing films, and this is certainly no exception. Sex films today though are almost never disturbing. If it weren't for the gang-bangs, the oral sex "facials", and triple-penetrations you wouldn't be able to tell them from Disney movies as they have that exact same horribly saccharine don't-let-anything-disturb-the-fantasy element to them. This early Findlay effort may not be a great movie, but when you consider the modern-day alternative, it doesn't seem so bad after all.
Flick made for degenerates by degenerates
thomandybish4 April 2001
Michael and Roberta Findlay were mavericks of sleaze in the sixties, and this no-budget carbuncle is a prime example of their particular brand of sicko cinema. Basically a series of sexual scenarios enacted in grimy tenement settings, strung together with some arty, purple narration, this flick tries hard to cover up it's low-rent limitations with pseudo-sophisticated poetry. There's something about a destitute man spying on a female neighbor as she whiles away her time masturbating and lounging around her squalid apartment naked. Throw in a lesbian sequence and wino making homosexual passes, and you have a guilty pleasure of seediness. Not quite as extreme as some of the other Findlay product known to exist, but definitely a walk on the scuzzy side.
murking16 February 2005
This early work by the Findlays signaled the in depth creativity and intellectualism within the sleaze genre. It's hard today to gage why anyone would explore this route. But if you combine the uncovering sexuality sweeping the garbage strewn streets of downtown New York, it is most apt. This move is less shock value than their later films, but much more ethereal, cerebral and philosophical. The poetry goes deep, beyond any significant plot line. The whole film itself is a tone poem for the disaffected, the frustrated, the utterly desperate. It projects itself clearly over what are simply a series of nudie shots, then cutting to the most decrepit Bowery Bum you ever saw. Michael Findlay, looking slimmer and strong couldn't bring himself down enough to play the main role, spying on his own wife. Roberta has a nice bod, but has an overbite. Combine that with her horrible Queens accent and you know why she rarely performed on camera. Iv'e watched 26 minutes of this film so far and I think it's one of the Findlay's finest! I wonder who would have associated with this weird couple back in the way-out 60s. Unless you were working for them, probably no one. Yes they were weird alright, but far ahead of their time, someone should write a book about them.
Good Roughie with Roberta Stealing the Show
Michael_Elliott31 October 2016
Take Me Naked (1966)
** 1/2 (out of 4)
A homeless bum (Kevin Sullivan) watches a woman (Roberta Findlay) in her room who is often naked. Soon the bum grows obsessed over her and it leads to a disastrous ending.
TAKE ME NAKED comes from Michael Findlay and if you're familiar with his films then you already know that he often went into the roughie territory and that's exactly what this is. TAKE ME NAKED isn't nearly as popular as his FLESH films but it's certainly worth watching and especially if you're fans of this type of movie.
The big attraction here is getting to see Roberta Findlay in the lead role, which has her naked throughout and appearing in countless sex scenes. She would eventually become a director herself so she has a pretty big cult following already so those fans will certainly want to watch this film. She has a very good presence on the screen and there's no question that she's believable in the part. Sullivan is also good in his role and Michael Findlay is also here playing a part.
The film has a lot of narration as we constantly "hear" how the characters are feeling but this doesn't take away too much. At just 69-minutes the film does start to drag towards the end but it's certainly worth watching.
Between artsy Thriller and Sex Talk
blumdeluxe1 October 2017
"Take me naked" tells the story of a homeless man who is lacking human interaction and is thus beginning to fixate himself on a woman across the street, which happens to be in her own way very sexual. When his desire is growing stronger, events start to possibly turn dangerous.
This is what I would call an early indie approach to a dark erotic thriller. I can easily imagine the story being extended and turned into a Blockbuster with the possibilities of modern cinema. As of now, we find a somewhat unbalanced mixture between a classical thriller, a twisted mind and homosexual eroticism. The language is carefully chosen and consists of monologues only, which is part of the charm but at the same time can prove exhausting because this way it is more difficult to follow the plot and the whole movie becomes unnecessarily grievous.
All in all this is a nice small piece that is far more than just another sex flick. You see that the film is quite old and in certain points other solutions would probably be chosen today. But still someone put a lot of heart and thought into this project and you can tell that the ambitions were high.
Beware the Amazon Prime edit
Leofwine_draca16 June 2017
TAKE ME NAKED is a cheap and slightly scuzzy exploitation movie, shot in black and white on the streets of New York. If you're watching the version showing on Amazon Prime, be prepared to have every scene of nudity in the film cut out, leaving this an unremarkable and unwatchable experience. It's about a guy who becomes obsessed with a comely woman, but it seems to be more like a string of blurry images and attempts at 'new wave' style realism. In the end, it becomes an endless sequence of bedroom scenes which do nothing other than test the patience.
Grimly effective avant-garde soft-core outing from the ever dependable Findlays
Woodyanders4 September 2014
A troubled homeless man (mangy Kevin Sullivan) develops an unhealthy fixation on a comely young woman (buxom eyeful Roberta Findlay, who has quite the cute overbite) who likes to walk around her grimy Manhattan apartment in the buff. The unbeatable sleaze cinema duo of Michael and Roberta Findlay go all-out bizarre artsy-fartsy with this one: The solemn poetic and philosophical narration, great footage of dirty'n'dingy 1960's New York City in all its superbly seedy splendor, incessant gloomy tone, gauzy black and white cinematography, hypnotically glacial pacing, spare moody score, and startling bummer ending all astutely nail the despair, bleakness, and alienation of modern urban living and thus project a marvelously bleak'n'heady existential vibe. Moreover, the abundant nudity, voyeurism, lesbianism, and even a dab of truly unpleasant climactic necrophilia give this freaky affair an extra twisted and perverse kick. 60's skinflick regulars June Roberts and Darlene Bennett both look mighty yummy sans clothes. A deliciously scuzzy oddball pip.
Noirsville gives this film about a 4/10 mostly for the effort, the Bowery, Tail Fins, the reality of what natural woman's bodies used to look like rather than the manufactured pneumatic Hollywood starlets look like today, and the quite adequate Black & White cinematography.