The Nude Bomb










“No one can say, now, when the nudity explosion will occur. But when it happens it will be bitter, noisy and exciting.”

~ Murray Schumach in The Face on the Cutting Room Floor, The story of movie and television censorship, 1964.

Schumach gets points for realising that nudity was inevitable. As early as 1964, breasts and buttocks were massed, quivering, on the Hollywood horizon, ready to engulf the town. That very year, Sidney Lumet struck a decisive blow for bareness by forcing female nudes upon the public in THE PAWNBROKER, a film so obviously creditable and worthy and impossible to enjoy, the censor was forced to give way and open the nipple floodgates. Although looking at it today it’s somewhat strange how well-fed the naked ladies of the Nazi concentration camp “joy division” are. But then, Rod Steiger looks pretty well-fed for a prisoner too, especially since presumably he’s NOT supposed to be screwing the guards for preferential treatment. Although you never know, I suppose.

Above we have Dame Nudie Dench, I think playing Titania, appropriately enough, in Peter Hall’s long-vanished film of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM. Has anyone seen it? Is it dreadful?

For some reason the sentence “Nice rack, Dame Judi!” strikes me as deeply amusing, but I suppose I’ll grow out of it.

6 Responses to “The Nude Bomb”

  1. ‘nudity explosions?’, ‘nipple floodgates?’ – what is the world coming to?!

    Isn’t Helen Mirren a Dame too – it seems to come to the attention of the Queen all you have to do is remove your clothes!

  2. Hey, it worked for Prince Phillip.

  3. Yes! Finally something about judi.

  4. bensondonald Says:

    I actually bought a ticket to see “The Nude Bomb” in a theater. Lack of real nudity was the least of its disappointments. The greatest disappointment was the lack of Barbara Felton as 99, replaced by a harmless generic ingenue. “Get Smart” had been in syndicated reruns for years by that point, and “Nude Bomb” was a thrifty, largely uninspired retread.

    A later TV reunion movie, “Get Smart Again”, was more in the spirit of the old sitcom while simultaneously making a joke of what an antique it was. It also brought back actors reprising their old characters, including the still-appealing Felton front and center.

    Felton was a fantasy object for insecure young guys. She was hot stuff for American TV, she knew full well Maxwell Smart was an idiot, yet she adored him.

  5. I’ve never seen an episode, which is strange, given my admiration for Brooks.

  6. bensondonald Says:

    Brooks was apparently a minimal presence after the pilot and first few episodes. Cowriter Buck Henry stayed on longer, but ultimately left and complained when the show married off Maxwell Smart and 99.

    It was a competent sitcom, clever and often sharp in the first season, then more goofy as Bond parodies became redundant. In time the main appeal was the three stars (Adams, Felton, and Ed Platt as the long-suffering Chief) doing what they could with familiar material. The best of the later episodes were parodies of specific movies and shows. There were also plentiful cameos, many by cronies from Adams’s standup days.

    Early on it was a rich vein of schoolyard catch phrases, such as “Would you believe …”, “Sorry about that, Chief”, and “the old [fill in elaborate and improbable deception] trick … Third time this month!”

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