hudson rowing

“Pretty Maids All in a Row”

-this is a film I have waited a long time to see and it had me from beginning to ending; endlessly entertaining

-total 70’s piece; a teen/high school exploration picture with golden Hollywood leads intermixed. By a French director. Adapted screenplay by an ex cop turned sci fi writer

-there are so many jaw dropping beautiful women in this film, and they shed their clothes at the drop of a hat
+sexual revolution plus 70s film sticks equals Got damn!

-it’s very amazing that they got a legendary leading man like Rock Hudson to play a character who spends every 8 minutes sleeping with under aged girls.
+By a major studio! Impossible to imagine now

-it’s so achingly well shot

-the contrast between the kids trying to goof off and the adults trying to manipulate/bluff each other is a very interesting mix

-anywho, so; a murder of girls in a
high school happens, they gotta find the killer, meanwhile a kid is trying to control his boner while his mentor is trying to hide his (in all the girls)

-this film has elements of both director Roger Vadim (his fascination and inventive photography of women) and writer Gene Rodenberry (setting as a social construct, authority susceptible to corruption)

-I can see why both are involved in this film

-Rodenberry’s side seems more off the cuff; several recordings (captain’s logs?) by hudson’s character Tiger (a psychologist and pervert) noting how high school puts adult under intense control only comparable to prison, and how easily mentally manipulated they are

-I have a feeling there was more but Vadim was like “get out of the way of the boobs”

-with the exception of “Rear Window” and “Peeping Tom” this may be the best example of cinema’s baked in voyeurism.

-it does so in a extremely artistic and beautiful way, approaching each woman like the Venus de milo, but exploitative it is

-Telly Savalas is the head detective, and actually manages to steal some screen time away from the ladies;

- he is so throughly likable and it’s really no wonder he got American to watch him play essentially the same character for several years on TV

-he’s got the same oral fixation; cigarettes, candy, toothpick-he must chew on something

-note the extremely deadpan way he responds to (massive eyes) pretty maid who says their generation is open with their emotions and says “I love you” to him straight in the eyes
+ he accepts and shoots it down in the same action; that is some great (re)acting

-the way the first murder is revealed is great; the shoeless female leg in the boys bathroom ; beautiful stuff

-it’s hard to say which is a bigger dickhead move on the part of Tiger; seducing high school girls or manipulating the recently single (and sad) substitute teacher to have sex with an awkward male student
+no sentimentality in this universe

-somehow Rock Hudson mustache charms his way into not bring a complete monster

-his interrupting a student and reading King Lear, notably the part about why should he stick to one pretty maid, is sublime communication

-Angie Dickinson is great, and plays her part of a frustrated teacher caught between two vices with a innocence molded by hurt

-pretty sure the shot of the film is jump cutting from the majestic paintings of Hieronymus Bosch (as the teacher reads “Paradise Lost”) to her majestic underbreast and the student looking at it

-rarely has a film moved so deftly between high and low in a single cut

-a pretty close second is Angie dropping the soap in the bathtub where the student is laying, she puts her hand under the water and says “I think I got it”, and the student puts up his hand holding said soap

-I bust up when Telly Savalas tells Rick Hudson “I told my kids about your idea of high school being a prison. They sent back a message; ‘Right On, man! Right On’”

-props to Vadim for expertly cheating when we see Hudson approach a woman, playfully seducing her with words as the camera does a full 360, only to reveal it’s his wife (child following behind and now revealed)

-that really is the whole film, how the tone can rubber band from sweet innocent to suggestive murder and back again like nothing

-Telly Savalas can do so much with a look, even under those sun glasses

-ultimately the mystery of the murder mystery is very light, but that’s really the hook to enjoy this flexible artistic exploitation, that dazzles me as much as someone who lived the era

-a film that truly must be seen. I cannot imagine going to the grave without enjoying this bewildering yarn, and the boobies don’t hurt ether