Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Hey, World, Liberate THESE: "The Sexually Liberated Female" (1970)

This faux documentary, released to capitalize on the runaway bestseller "The Sensuous Woman" by the pseudonymous "J," and written and directed by one of Jayne Mansfield's ex-husbands, is a goofy hoot.

Narrated by a breathless and oddly named Lindis Guinness, the sixty-five minute film tells American women that they need to step up their sexual game if they want to compete with the more sensuous (and in some ways, looser) European and Oriental women for the American Male's attention. If only our country wasn't founded by the Puritans, whose belief system was somehow ingrained into the American female psyche all of these generations example of the suspect science at work in the film.

Because most American women lay around all day, without employment or children to worry about, they should use things around the house to explore their bodies. One hilarious sequence involves a woman caressing hideous late 1960s decorous items like a lamp and that sexy vase. Sensuously rubbing yourself with an apple is funny enough, but choosing assorted vegetables to insert into your genitalia (watch out for that radish) is both hysterical and gross. The hardcore sex scenes are not sensuous at all, and filmed in the name of "instruction."

The uncredited cast of women go through the motions, with the woman who masturbates being the cutest one. A couple of women sport ill-fitting wigs, one of which almost falls off during an explicit sex scene. The anal sex scene is difficult to watch mostly because the couple looks angry at each other, and Matt Cimber's camera may be recording the beginnings of a physical altercation. A brief interview on Vinegar Syndrome's release of the film (the company had to make do with a pretty lousy source print) with Cimber indicates that Cimber wrote and filmed this as a lark, and was sued over the film. The director was triumphant, the film was a smash, and Cimber is correct: the film is a lark, and a relic.

"The Sexually Liberated Female" is also known as "The Sensually Liberated Female"- the opening credit's title as well as sounding a little more similar to the sexual manual that inspired it. Feminists today would probably protest this as misogynistic, but in all honesty it's funnier than a lot of mainstream comedies in your streaming queue right now. (* * *) out of five stars.

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