Cry Uncle (1971) from Brainscan
Cry Uncle is an 1971 amalgam of "8mm" and "Malibu
Express". The nudity report is incorporated into the following:
Like the underrated 8mm, the story follows an undistinguished private eye as he tracks a murder, the only evidence of which is caught on a home movie. Unlike 8mm, the private dick is thoroughly unattractive and entirely unfazed by the sleaziness he uncovers. That understatement in his reaction is the movie in microcosm, as director John Avildsen (who went on to do the original Rocky and the three Karate Kids) shows the underbelly of society for what it is, without the dramatic need to rub our sensible noses in it. As a result, the movie works extremely well ... the best thing Troma has ever put out on DVD, which is about the same as saying Desperately Seeking Susan is the best movie Madonna's been in.
The Malibu Express part of Cry Uncle is the presence of five women, all of whom do triple-B performances. Their nudity is sometimes essential, since three of them play prostitutes whose services were filmed in the evidentiary film. Avildsen shows them at work in other places, where you would expect them to be thoroughly naked, not just topless. And so, yah you betcha, they are shown in the altogether for long periods of time but, with the exception of the movie's first scene, none of it looks or feels gratuitous. The best of all possible worlds: seriously naked women, essential to the plot.
The five nekkid women include one-timer Pamela Gruen, veteran actress Debbi Morgan, and three women who did some other work in movies and TV, Madeline Le Roux, Maureen Byrnes and Nancy Salmon (apparently unrelated to either Chico or Tim). A sixth women appears topless in one scene, lying motionless among some spaced-out acid freaks in a motel. (This scene is gratuitous.) Allen Garfield and David Kirk provide full frontal and rear male nudity, including a recto-cam and and an erection from Mr. Kirk.
Pam Gruen starts out the booty call in a sport-humpin scene with the film's fat-ass protagonist in which you can see the actor's magno-rump. Pam shows off a pair of all-natural mighty-fines and then, as her private dick leaves to crack a case, she pulls out an even privater dick to take care of her wants and needs. That's where Pam reveals a killer bum and some bush.
Madeline Le Roux plays an interested party to the murder and the private eye's eventual bed partner. You get to see skinny Madeline's boobs, quick look at her bum, and a hint o' bush.
Then you get the three hookers. Debbi Morgan plays the hooker with a heart of gold, but does it up well. This was Debbi's second movie and, so far as I can tell, one of only two nude scenes. But does she ever give up the goodies in this film. You see boobs, bum, and a lot o' bush. One of the best images comes from the home movie that eventually shows the male figure with a big ol' hole in his head. Thing is this: the movie is run as a negative on screen and so the mating habits of our victim and his three friends are obscured. This, fellas, is why the digital revolution is so damned wonderful! Grab the frame, hit "Invert" and as soon as you can blink, a black-and-white positive shows up. From Debbi we get to see a much more extensive view of her furry bits, but hang on a bit longer and the real benefit of this manuever comes out.
Nancy Salmon plays a thin hooker with a killer rumpus, who engages in sexual activities of the professional kind because she's a heroin junky. As with the other women, Nancy gives up all the goodies.
Quick as can be, every avid reader of the Movie House answers, "Women who played Emmanuelle."
Alright. Try these
Just a little more difficult, but with a few seconds' thought a lot of folk would recognize these women as "legitimate actresses who slurped on the love straw in a mainsteam movie". Pretty much does it with these five right? No other mainstream actress to add... at least I thought so until the ol' invert function brought out lucky number six.
Maureen Byrnes, who would go on to play a few roles until 1978 and would then reappear on-screen in 1995 with Future Wars, clearly grasps our soon-to-be-victim's skin flute and proceeds to play a tune. Maureen also spends copious amounts of time on screen fully frontally nekkid and otherwise shows up her extraordinarily well-toned frame in all collages.
So what we have here, then, is a near-perfect movie. The writing and directing are first-rate, the acting more than competent, the babes pretty enough and nekkid frequently, an extensive nude scene by a woman who would become fairly famous and, rarest of all animals, an X-rated performance by a legitimate actress. I ask you, what's not to like?
Throughout the years there have been periodic attempts to bring explicit porn and mainstream movies closer together. Now and then a porn movie, especially of the soft-core variety, makes a special effort to include a comprehensible and entertaining plot, and/or some interesting characterization. Two good examples would be Warm Texas Rain and I Like to Play Games. Cry Uncle represents an attempt to amalgamate the forms from the other direction - the director starts with a typical genre script, a comedy-mystery about a low-rent detective, but films all the raunchy details that would not normally be shown in a mainstream movie, including explicit oral sex, male frontal nudity, and a four-way which features a hooker sodomizing a guy with a gigantic dildo on camera.
It's a strange blend of obscenity and drama and comedy. It must be just about unique - I can't recall anything quite like it. One IMDB reader calls it an "X-rated bawdy porn detective film". That just about sums it up. It was one of those things, but it was one directed by John Avildsen.
About five people saw this film in theaters, and four of them were my wife and I and another couple who grew up with us. We were all newlyweds at the time. My most vivid memory is of Allan Garfield, who was then obese, finding a special use for a still-warm corpse. You probably think that a fat, sweaty, low-rent detective fucking a corpse in a mainstream movie would still be pretty shocking today, so you can only imagine how our wives reacted back in 1971!
We have to give a nod of thanks to Troma, for bringing obscure and unique classics like Cry Uncle and Cannibal, the Musical (Trey Parker's full-length student film) to DVD. These are not films for the whole family, except maybe the Manson family, but they are bizarre and harmless fun, and are surely delightful curiosities that many of us want to see.
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