Three Erotic Fantasies

I was looking at THE COTTON CLUB, trying to find a cute shot I remembered of Diane Lane, figuring I could probably find something to say about it when I did. But that led me to look at RUMBLE FISH, another Francis Ford Coppola outing also featuring the transcendentally lovely and apparently ageless Lane. I grabbed the above image, part of a series of erotic daydreams Matt Dillon has about his girlfriend during the course of a day.

Then by chance I found another sexual fantasy image, the same evening, in NUDE FOR SATAN, a barmy 70s Italian sex-horror nonsense case, featuring gratuitous cod-Wellesian angles, mattressfuls of pubic hair, and a fake giant spider seemingly made from black felt and pipe cleaners. In this image a sinister gent undresses the heroine with his eyes — almost literally. I’m surprised and disappointed that director Luigi Batzella didn’t have the guy’s eyes pop out, turn into Residents-style eyeball-men, and rip Rita Calderoni’s knickers off. It would have been quite in keeping with the insane literal-mindedness of his bottoms-up cut a few minutes later on in the film. I shall elucidate ~

Calderoni is handed a glass of wine by a spooky butler. She drinks. As she raises the glass, Batzella zooms in on its base and lets the shot go soft. Jump cut to a big bare arse, also slightly out of focus. Pull into focus, zoom out, and proceed with the unmotivated lesbian softcore.

These things should, for some reason, come in threes, so here’s a bizarre fantasy apparently occurring in the mind of Keith Carradine in Sam Fuller’s STREET OF NO RETURN, an odd adaptation of David Goodis’s The Blonde on the Street Corner, a two-time-loser pulp noir typical of its author.

Valentina Vargas, from THE NAME OF THE ROSE, is gorgeous, and deserved more of a career. She’s still acting, and still beautiful, so maybe it’ll happen.

STREET OF NO RETURN is nearly very good, with an impressive opening riot, and Fuller’s sudden interest in naked girls is tolerable — it could easily become embarrassing, but I give him the benefit of the doubt. What’s a little embarrassing is the obvious European locations (Portugal), as the movie tries to pass itself off as American. If the movie had embraced its setting more, and been a little more carefully edited, it could have marked a return for Fuller.

Links (US):

Rumble Fish (Special Edition)

Nude for Satan

Street of No Return


Rumble Fish : Special Edition [DVD] [1983]

Nude For Satan [1974] [DVD]

33 Responses to “Three Erotic Fantasies”

  1. Would a David Goodis week be out of the question so soon after Woolrich?

  2. Well, give it a few months… Sounds interesting, the Fuller is a fascinating mess, and the Truffaut is a favourite of mine. I’m not sure how Moon in the Gutter would look if I dug it up again. How many more are there?

    How about a Dorothy B Hughes weekend?

  3. david wingrove Says:

    Another interesting David Goodis adaptation is DARK PASSAGE, a 1947 noir with Bogart and Bacall. Directed by Delmer Daves, it’s the only one of their four films together that isn’t hailed as a classic (if only because Bogie spends half the movie with his face wrapped in bandages) but my partner – being the contrary fellow that he is – still insists it’s their best.

    I was utterly obsessed with MOON IN THE GUTTER when I was a trendy 19-year-old, but have no idea what I’d make of it now. One might almost dismiss it as a film that’s tailor-made for trendy 19-year-olds (especially those besotted with Nastassja Kinski in her ‘snake poster’ days) but maybe there’s something to it after all.

  4. It IS tailor-made for trendy 19 year-olds. Nice sets with nothing much going on in them. I was not a Diva fan but that one’s chamrs remain

    Rumble Fish and One From the Heart are Coppola’s very best films.

  5. Hey it’s great in Italian!

  6. The Diane Lane-Cornell Woolrich connection: Cuaron’s “Murder, Obliquely” FALLEN ANGELS episode.

    Rita Calderoni is amazing in Polselli’s DELIRIUM.

    Valentina Vargas interview on her recent return to her native Chile:

  7. Cera una volta Joe Dallesandr

  8. As for getting “Naked For Stan” nobody beats Ed Wood

  9. Coppola a fortiori:

  10. Naked for Stan sounds like a fun film!

    Orgy of the Dead is the place where Tim Burton’s Ed Wood just daren’t go — the character Johnny Depp plays would not write pornographic novels, make skin flicks, or die a despairing alcoholic “with a look on his face like he’d seen something terrible.” Maybe Orgy of the Dead?

    But Glen or Glenda is an insane masterpiece.

  11. Speaing of skin, there’s a great shot of Romy Scheider — naked and tied to the railroad tracsk — at the end of this trialer

  12. Quite something, isn’t it? Saw the doc on the big screen and Fraulein Schneider fair takes the breath away, even giving Dany Carrel a run for her money.

  13. John Seal Says:

    Finally, I know someone else who also sat through Nude for Satan. I found Rita Calderoni’s rib-cage deeply disturbing in that film. Did you notice how bony and protuberant it is??

  14. Oh, leave her alone! She’s a model of anatomical perfection compared to that spider with the pipe-cleaner legs!

  15. Paul Wendkos’s THE BURGLAR might be the best David Goodis adaptation, or at least the most faithful, since Goodis did the screenplay himself, and it was shot in Goodis’s hometown, Philadelphia.

  16. Don’t forget the Tourneur-directed version of “Nightfall.”

  17. Nightfall is superb. It seems to have influenced Fargo, with its duo of idiot villains, the shredded bad guy, the suitcase in the snow… But the Tourneur film has actual heart. The only flaw is the ridiculous cop whose been following the hero but has got his routine memorized so he no longer needs to keep an eye on him! “One day he’ll depart from his routine…” Yes, and you won’t be there!

    Haven’t seen then Wendkos, but am intrigued. Does seem like there’s enough for a week…

  18. Well L’Enfer de L’Henri-George Clouzot was a revelation. Not only does it bring us inside the making and unmaking of a most unusual movie itbrings us inside the mind of a very great, roubled and difficult filmkaer.

    Great news — It’s going to get a U.S. release.

  19. david wingrove Says:

    From the footage on view, Clouzot’s L’ENFER could have been a great movie…or it could just as easily have been the EYES WIDE SHUT of the 60s. We have no way of knowing.

  20. I’m not sure if any movie could really get us inside Clouzot’s head, but seeing his footage is a great help. I think this would have been a very different animal from EWS, the imagery has a feverish intensity quite distinct from Kubrick’s distance. In a sense, the focus on capturing a particular emotional malaise in L’Enfer is easier to get a grip on than Kubrick’s mission — which I’m still not sure I understand. That’s not a judgement on either filmmaker, just that I think L’Enfer has more obvious goals.

    My only complaint about the documentary is that one or two of the commentators seem to think HGC didn’t know what he was doing: that’s easy to say but impossible to prove, since the fact is he wasn’t ultimately able to do it. My own belief is that he had a clear vision, even if his methods were impractical.

  21. I think it’s more along the lines of forgetting what he was doing. He had two entire camera crews on hand so he could easily go from one take to the next. But he got so caught up with crew #1 he never got around to giving instrustions to crew #2.

    Clouzot was always hard on his actors, but as the film shows he drove Serge Reggianni so hard he walked off the picture. And Regianni was his first choice for the role — which might well have gone to a bigger name. When Regianni left he decided to go with Jean-Louis Trintignant. But after one meeting that notion was scotched. So he went on shooting without his leading man — until he drove himself to a heart attack. He was at the time shooting scenes he’d already shot over and over and over again.
    Obsessive-compulsive disorder may well have set in.

    From the looks of the test shots it’s clear he was trying to make the Reggiani character’s inner turmoil visually palpable. Much of it resembles avan-garde cinema ( especially Watson & Weber, Maya Deren and Kenneth Anger) but in 35 mm.

  22. It’s gorgeous material. Of course the crew was baffled about how he was going to use it.

    Shooting stuff again and again isn’t that unusual, although obviously the fact that he’d chosen a location with built-in time constraints (a lake due to be drained) suggests a lack of realism in his approach. And the attempts at efficiency that turned into sheer extravagance — it’s all very Hollywood.

    He’d worked successfully with Reggiani on Manon, so something must have been different this time to make SR walk off the movie. Forcing his leading man to run and run along the road in extreme longshot looks like a mistake — although the shots are great, and you CAN tell it’s SR.

  23. The shots ARE great. But it seems as if he was having great difficulty explaining to veryone on the film in every capacity just what he was looking for

  24. I wonder if that was altogether a new problem, or an exacerbation of an old one? There are lots of dark hints about how awful HGC was to work for, but not many specific stories. The main one I know is making Bernard Blier undergo a real blood transfusion. I expect he did the same to Bardot in La Verite.

    Fiona’s Clouzot piece:

  25. Excellent article, Fiona!

    I must seek out La Prissoniere. I haven’t senn it since it was first released.

  26. Clouzot did manage to realise many of his experimental ideas in La Prisonniere. Although perhaps he didn’t fully incorporate them into his new story. But it’s a very interesting and revealing movie.

  27. I dig the post – Love old Italian horror. But the video links in the response thread are awesome as well.

  28. David E can always be relied upon for those! Check out his own blog for more.

  29. La Faustin Says:

    David Goodis: a fascinating book on his life and work (including tart asides on French perceptions of American pop culture), originally published in the 1980s in French, is now available in English: GOODIS: A LIFE IN BLACK AND WHITE, by Philippe Garnier, published by Black Pool Productions. Check it out — a Goodis week may be in order!

  30. Oh yes — even if it meant revisiting Moon in the Gutter, which I always sort of appreciate, but wish it could be more dramatically coherent and less turgid. It’s a bit like Street With No Name because I want to love it and can’t, quite.

  31. La Faustin Says:

    After reading the Garnier, DARK PASSAGE will make some kind of sense, in a depressing way.

  32. I like watching DP, but I admit the plot is pure hooey.

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