- Charlie's French Cinema Nudity site is updated
After having worked as a child star in a film
universally acknowledged to be one of the worst ever made (Santa
Claus Conquers the Martians), Pia Zadora disappeared for a couple of
decades. When she returned to Hollywood, she soon built a reputation
as the ultimate 1980s bimbo. People said that she not only looked
like a bim, but she couldn't act worth beans, and she eventually
ended up winning a special Razzie as "worst actress of the decade."
Achieving that notoriety really only took her two high profile films
early in the decade: Butterfly and The Lonely Lady.
Zadora's appeal, if that is the correct word, was
her uncanny facial resemblance to a very young teen, despite the
fact that she was nearly thirty when she made those two films. You
know how it is with guys and young girls. Moreover, Zadora combined
her little girl face with a lost puppy neediness and a very
impressive womanly body. Put her in a Catholic prep school uniform,
and she would have become the richest woman in Japan. Blessed with a
decent set of pipes, she also could have become a Broadway-style
singer, but for some reason she chose to be an actress instead, and she just
never seemed to have the chops for that profession, or so went the
conventional wisdom. During and after those two films, she became one of Johnny Carson's
instant punch lines, and eventually her entire career seemed to
consist of playing
herself in skits and spoofs.
I agree with the contemporary reviewers that The
Lonely Lady was a genuinely awful movie, and Pia was awful in it.
The verdict of history seems to concur. The Lonely Lady actually
gives Santa Claus Conquers the Martian a good battle for the
dishonor of being the all-time worst Pia Zadora movie in the IMDb
ratings. That is an amazing achievement, considering that Santa is
rated the 40th worst of all time!
The Lonely Lady destroyed any hope Pia may have
had to become a respected actress. The film was nominated for eleven
Razzie awards and won six, including all the important ones. Pia, of
course, won the "Worst Actress" trophy.
Butterfly also won her a Worst Actress Razzie, but
that movie is a whole different kettle of crawdads. It also won her
some legitimate positive awards. They loved her at Cannes, and Rex
Reed praised Butterfly as if it were the second coming of Battleship
Potemkin. Pia was not only nominated for the Golden Globe for Best
New Star of the Year in a Motion Picture, but she won the award, and
she didn't beat a bunch of nobodies, either. She beat out one of the
greatest debuts in film history - Kathleen Turner in Body Heat!!
Think about that. The 1982 voters had to choose the hottest newcomer
and took Pia Zadora in Butterfly over Kathleen Turner in Body Heat. Pia
may have become a universal punch line by 1983, but it is obvious that not
everyone thought she sucked in 1982.
To tell you the truth, Butterfly is not a good
movie, but it's not so bad, and Zadora was cast perfectly as a Lolita character. Stacy
Keach plays a lonely hermit of a miner assigned to guard an
abandoned mine out in the desert. Zadora shows up on his doorstep
one day, claiming to be his long lost daughter. She's not exactly
the pigtails-and-Barbies kind of daughter. She soon proceeds to show
him her naughty bits every chance she gets, and does her best to
seduce him, coming pretty close to success. At one point Keach is
actually bathing a naked Zadora, scrubbing her breasts, before he
finally pulls back and declares, "This isn't right." You have to
admire his resolve, since he had been without a woman for a long
time, and ripe lil' Zadora was definitely offering the ol' miner a
chance to strike the daughterlode.
The atmosphere of the film can best be described
as "sweat and saxophones" - pretty much what you'd expect from a
steamy James M. Cain script. Unfortunately, Stacy Keach never seemed
to get into the rhythm of the film and seemed oblivious to the
script's inherent potential for entertaining over-the-top sleaze. He
approached the entire project as seriously and professionally as if
he were performing Henry V at the Old Vic. The supporting cast
increased the cheese factor substantially. Burl Ives couldn't make
his customary Southern Gothic appearance as the sweaty fat authority
figure in a Colonel Sanders suit, but Orson Welles filled in for
him, and a host of B-list celebs dropped in from time to time,
including Stewart Whitman, James Franciscus, and me, I'm Ed McMahon.
It is my personal pet theory that it was McMahon's
presence in this film which eventually turned Pia into a standing
joke. Carson loved to rib Ed hard, and this provided ideal grist for
Johnny's joke mill. Without McMahon in the cast, Zadora might have
simply faded into obscurity like so many other wannabes, but Ed's
presence in Butterfly guaranteed Johnny's eternal vigilance, and
Johnny did as much as anyone in the world to shape the public's
opinions about popular culture.
To tell you the truth, the entire movie is raunchy
and melodramatic, but it is not stiflingly awful. It was just your
typical potboiler trash. Cain is the guy who wrote Double Indemnity
and The Postman Always Rings Twice, so his work had both the
competence and the sleaziness to provide an ideal vehicle for Pia,
and the premise of Butterfly seemed to fit her like a custom
designed suit. Although it isn't worth your time and effort to track
this movie down, it can be fascinating to watch for a while on
cable. You may even find it entertaining in an operatic, white
trash, Roadhouse kind of way.
Never seen it, but I know The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. got naked for the one and
only time in her career!
Here are several captures and a film clip made from a large .mpg I found on
Usenet (good quality, fairly close to DVD, taken from a German TV broadcast.)
Stefanie Powers film clip (zipped .wmv)
Following the success of Body Heat in 1981, A-list
erotic thrillers became so popular in the 80s and early 90s that
they started to get big box office numbers and even to warn some
Academy Award nominations. The summit of the genre's popularity
occurred in 1992, when respected director Paul Verhoeven directed
Basic Instinct to $352 million dollars in worldwide grosses, two
Oscar nominations, and instant stardom for writer Joe Eszterhas and
actress Sharon Stone.
Genre spoofs were also popular during the same
time period, so it was just about inevitable that the extreme
popularity of 1992's much discussed Basic Instinct would result in
two spoofs in 1993:
- Fatal Instinct was a zany spoof in the
manner of the Zucker films. While no masterpiece, it featured
some competent players and was directed by Carl Reiner, so at
least it included a soupcon of professionalism and delivered a
few laughs, if too few to be considered a success.
- Hexed, on the other hand, is not really a spoof so much as a situation
comedy in the context of an erotic thriller.
The protagonist of the story is Matthew, a 30 year
old schmuck who has been working the same job at a hotel front desk
since he graduated from high school. His life has become so
unrewarding that his only pleasure comes from wild fantasy escapades
in which he impersonates other people. He has made up so many
stories in so many different false identities that he has a hard
time keeping them all straight. One of his most outrageous recent
lies involves telling his co-workers about his sexual relationship
with the world's most famous supermodel, Hexina (Claudia Christian).
Imagine his chagrin, and the delight of his fellow workers when they
find out that Hexina is coming for an unannounced and secret stay at
their obscure hotel!
At first the entire situation works out far better
than Matthew could ever have dreamed. Because he controls Hexina's
incoming calls, he's able to insert himself into her life and even
get her into bed. The situation turns around dramatically for him,
however, when he finds out that Hexina is actually a psychotic
killer whose secret purpose for visiting their city is essentially a
murder spree. Things get worse when he becomes her unwitting
accomplice. Things get as bad as possible when the police finally
uncover the crimes, because Hexina appears to be innocent, and all
the evidence points to Matthew.
I am writing this twelve years after the film's
release, and writer/director Alan Spencer has never directed again.
His last writing credit, in fact his only writing credit since
Hexed, was a TV movie nine years ago. I don't suppose you need to
know much more. As I mentioned above, it's just plays out like a
sitcom pilot too naughty for TV, which is not surprising because
Spencer was the creator and head writer of a TV series called "Sledge
Hammer!" That series had some funny moments, but Spencer couldn't
seem to bring the positives of the series into this film. Every joke
is obvious, overplayed, and telegraphed well in advance, and the
performances are too broad. It's just not worth watching.
I guess there is good an bad news on the nudity front. The bad
news is that some of the nudity got chopped off in the move from the
4:3 VHS version to the 16:9 DVD version. The good news is that some
of it is intact, so the DVD caps are a welcome improvement from what
we used to have from this film.
additional Claudia Christian nudity seen in the full screen version, but not on the DVD.
just for reference: Claudia Christian's nudity in Never on Tuesday
'Caps and comments by Dann:
Based on a French comic book, this 2004 Sci-Fi is set in New York in 2095. Not unlike the Stargate series, a large pyramid floats above the city, and Egyptian gods oversee everything. The city is populated by people, mutants, androids, and everything in between, and not everyone gets along. One of the gods, Horus, spends a lot of time morphing in and out of humans.
There is a serial killer running amok, and a strange young woman with blue hair, whose internal organs are only three months old (although she's in her twenties or thirties) is arrested as a suspect, then released in the custody of a doctor who wants to study her. Charlotte Rampling is very good as the doctor.
Blue hair is played by Linda Hardy, a former Miss France, and she does a good job. The movie uses extensive CGI, for not only settings but even many of the characters. If you look closely, you can tell, but in many cases it's very difficult to be sure what's real and what isn't, which is the idea, I suppose. The whole movie (the people part, anyway) was shot in front of blue screen, and in some cases, live actors provided the body but the heads were then replaced with CGI. The movie is a French/Italian/English production, but has an English sound track.
You really need to be a Sci-Fi lover to appreciate this movie, and I am, so I enjoyed it a lot. Even if you hate the story, the special effects are worth the time to watch the movie.
Linda Hardy in "Immortal"