Doris Wishman

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

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Doris Wishman (June 1, 1912, New York City – August 10, 2002, Miami, Florida) was an American film director, screenwriter and independent film producer. Some of her most notable films include: Hideout in The Sun (1960), Blaze Starr Goes Nudist (1962), Bad Girls Go to Hell (1965) and the shockumentary Let Me Die A Woman (1978).

The self-taught Ms. Wishman was sometimes known as "the female Ed Wood," however, this seems an unfair comparison. Wishman made films that certainly do not follow the traditional rules of American and European film-making. However, one would be hard-pressed to describe her directorial style as "bad." She is known for rarely, if ever, showing the faces of actors while they are delivering lines, which made the post-production addition of sound easier, but also gives a dreamy, unreal feel to her movies. As does her penchant for focusing on the inanimate objects in a room, at the expense of more organic scenery.

Ms. Wishman began her career in nudist features such as Blaze Starr Goes Nudist (1962) featuring burlesque legend Blaze Starr. Other titles include Hideout in The Sun (1960), Diary of a Nudist (1961), Nude on The Moon (1961) Gentlemen Prefer Nature Girls (1962), Playgirls International (1963), Behind the Nudist Curtain (1963), and The Prince and the Nature Girl (1964). She eventually abandoned the genre, with other directors such as Russ Meyer and David F. Friedman it had lost its commercial viability.

In the mid-60s, Ms. Wishman began working in the sexploitation genre, making the movies for which she became primarily known. One of her best-known films from this period is Bad Girls Go to Hell, which contains many elements found in sexploitation plots, as well as many of her personal stylistic markers. Other films from Wishman's sexploitation period include The Sex Perils of Paulette (1965), Another Day, Another Man (1966), My Brother's Wife (1966), A Taste of Flesh (1967), Indecent Desires (1967), and Too Much Too Often! (1968). All are shot in black and white. Two subsequent features, Love Toy (1968) and The Amazing Transplant (1970), are shot in color and signify a move toward the burgeoning soft-core genre.

By the 70s Ms. Wishman experimented with a number of genres and genre crossovers. Most notable from this period is her collaboration with big-bust model and strip-tease performer Chesty Morgan, which bore fruit in Deadly Weapons (1973) and Double Agent 73 (1974). These are among two of her best known and most popular titles. Let Me Die A Woman (1978) is a semi-documentary about transgender people which featured a cameo by future porn legend Harry Reems. Ms. Wishman closed out the 70s with two hardcore porn films featuring porn star and performance artist Annie Sprinkle (Satan Was A Lady (1975) and Come With Me, My Love (1976). Her last film before being financially forced into retirement was the slasher picture A Night To Dismember, completed circa 1983.

Ms. Wishman had a resurgence of interest in the 1990s. She completed three additional films, the sex comedy Dildo Heaven (2002), a neo-sexploitation feature Satan Was A Lady (2002) (not to be confused with the 1975 hardcore film of the same name), and Each Time I Kill (2002), a dead teenagers film completed six weeks before she succumbed to lymphoma. She was featured posthumously, alongside Roger Corman and David Friedman in Schlock! The Secret History of American Movies.

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