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Up! (1976)

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Score: 6/10

Genre: Exploitation Running Time: 1 hr. 20 min.

Release Date: October 22nd, 1976 MPAA Rating: X

Director: Russ Meyer Actors: Kitten Natividad, Raven De La Croix, Janet Wood, Elaine Collins, Candy Samples, Su Ling, Linda Sue Ragsdale, Marianne Marks, Foxy Lae

O

utrageously gratuitous and excessive in every sense of the word, Russ Meyer’s “Up!” cleverly mixes busty heroines, bloody violence, blouse-busting femme fatales, and well-endowed vixens into an erotic comedy of epic proportions. The fact that the plot is a murder-mystery that no one cares to solve, a narration by Kitten Natividad is bursting with Shakespearean poetry explaining characters no one cares to profile, and unimportant timeframe titles keep popping up as each scene starts hardly matters. Anyone watching “Up!” is clearly in it for the over-the-top exploitation and generous doses of female nudity.

Kitten Natividad is the Greek Chorus, a naked narrator who excitedly details the wide assortment of characters that frequent the various storylines. Frequently, she’ll recap events with slightly different clips of footage and plenty of elaborate, riddle-filled, lyrical observations. Adolf Schwartz (Edward Schaaf), a depraved Nazi warlock and S&M fetishist, is brutally murdered in his bubblebath with the deadly fish Harry the Nimrod. There are many suspects, courteously announced by Kitten, but little motive and fewer complaints. It’s a baffling puzzle with only the clue of a black-leather-gloved culprit.

Meanwhile, Margo Winchester (Raven De La Croix) is viciously attacked during a morning jog, and winds up accidentally killing her rapist. The entire event is witnessed by corrupt local policeman Homer Johnson (Monty Bane), a despicable man who coerces Margo into a few sexual favors to overlook the potential manslaughter charge (despite the applicability of self-defense). Later, she gets work selling hotdogs at Sweet Li’l Alice’s (Janet Wood) Cafe; in short order, she’s also “romantically” involved with Alice’s husband Paul (Robert McLane).

As with most of Russ Meyer’s X-rated, voluptuous hellcat extravaganzas, the extreme sexual violence, overflowing testosterone, and copious quantities of salacious nudity is done in such a jaunty manner that it’s undeniably humorous. It’s campy, pornographic, and wallowing in a sea of carnality, but effective in its mission of unrefined eroticism and gung ho extravagance. When Alice and Margot discover their bridled, steamy bisexuality while consoling each other with a sensual hug – seconds after barely escaping a traumatizing sexual incursion – it’s obvious that the whole ordeal is a well-planned setup for a spicy, fleshly girls-only encounter.

The film opens with ludicrously happy music, changing over to dramatic, orchestral, country, classic rock, patriotic, swashbuckling, and everything in between, even delivering wittily placed Beethoven. Painfully bad dubbing and poor sound effects round out notable technical aspects, although it’s almost unfair to critique how the movie was made considering the reason for its creation. With a creative zipper-cam shot, oodles of random sex, a crazed ax-wielding lumberjack, bondage, lesbianism, constantly unsheathed bosoms, bottomless ecstasy, an overload of chesty pulchritudinous, and lots of unnecessary explanations and dialogue during the final, lengthy, birthday-suit chase sequence, Russ Meyer’s “Up!” should definitely not be confused with Pixar’s 2009 computer-animated family film.

– Mike Massie

 

 



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