Street of a Thousand Pleasures/Review
From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
In all my years of watching and taking notice of exploitation film from yesteryear, I've noticed the boundaries where certain films within their market have gone past its limits to the absolute fullest. There's Cannibal Holocaust which made its notorious reputation surpassing the conventional horror genre with its envelope-pushing of unrelenting violence. And then there was Deep Throat, a commercial success which broadened the gates of hardcore pornography. But somewhere in between that realm of those two coveted film genres lies a candidate for extreme soft-core. What could be so threatening of soft-core, you might ask? The fact is, when you show someone Street of a Thousand Pleasures, they might point out how montonous and boring it is. That's because--Even though people don't want to seem to admit it--the film is an onslaught of the senses the way the previous movies mentioned were. Aside from a couple of action-filled fiery explosions which aren't presented in this film, I'd say that even Beavis and Butthead would consider this movie to be their Citizen Kane. Don't believe me? I'll try my best with the evidence.
What started out as a 40-minute (Or longer) film-reel that was most likely suited for the rising "Video arcades" (A place where you could pop a coin in and observe fantasies of the flesh for a certain duration of time before you added more change to the machine for more satisfaction) was an eye-opening film where a hand-held, 16mm wielding camera-man was venturing through a staged Middle-Eastern harem (Or market) where oblivious and completely naked female bodies were being served as sex servants. The camera-man would do his best to pretend it was you who was exploring and observing this haven of euphoria. Complete with the caressing of their bodies and with a "Zoom-in" effect of kissing their bodyparts. Not a bad idea at all, given the time. What was also a boost for this film-strip was the inclusion of knockout pinup hotties of that era. Including such jawdropping, pin-up favorites like Uschi Digart, Michelle Angelo, and over a ton of un-credited bonafide beauties (As producer Harry Novak would say, some of these gals were "Moonlighting" from their jobs of being dancers,strippers,airline stewardess,and waitresses to get their five minutes of fame in their nude glory) As fate would turn out, a feature-length movie to incorporate this footage was greenlit! So here we go with the added plot...(And who's to complain about this movie having no plot?)
A field geologist (John Tull) can't wait to escape from his nagging wife in Los Angeles and get some much desired relaxation by traveling into the Middle East to conduct business with a Shiek. Upon landing, the geologist (Also named "John") saves the Shiek from an assassination atttempt from another Arab that the sheik had warned John about prior to landing.
The shiek tells John:
"You have saved my life! I am in your debt...I must repay you in some way! Ah! I shall take you to the place where they barter slaves!"
And just like that, we're thrust into the "Hand-held" world of the sight-seeing of naked slave women! As the footage plays out, John does his ad-libbing over the tremendous amount of footage narrating what he's seeing (Being that the footage is so long, it's no surprise that John's comments are bound to be repeated over and over) but then something interesting starts to happen. There was already a clever attempt at trying to match the hand-held footage with the "new" footage that we're seeing concerning this re-constructed plot, but as fate would have it, we get treated to MORE additional eye-candy! What I mean by that is that normally an exploitation film would just re-use existing scenes to cover up for most ground (This was certainly done from the 30's all the way to the 70's) but, to the filmmakers credit, some worthwhile new footage was shot and added--Which I'm assuming was filmed by William Rotsler. These scenes show MORE new, naked babes. And if John's venture into harem- room after harem-room was starting to bore the popeye/raincoat crowd, the audience gets rewarded by observing John score with one of the babes. That "Babe" just so happens to be Malta! Who was yet another well-known pin-up, softcore hottie! To date, not only is this the hottest I've ever seen Malta look, I've never seen her this animated in a role before! Afterwards, John continues to do his tourist act to check out MORE rooms (Which means MORE naked chicks) and finally he's told by his Sheik tourist-guide to settle down and watch a nude dance done by one of the slaves. Not missing a beat, John gets to bang this chick after she's done dancing. But before John climaxes, the Arab assassin strikes again! This time succeeding in killing the sheik. John notices the crime and runs off with an American slave (Before having to scuffle with the assassin--Which results in an interesting-looking tackle, by the way) Free from the middle east, John's content on taking this slave back home where she could be all his. But the movie ends reminding the audience of how much of a nagger John's wife is. Wait 'til she sees what he's brought back.
So even though I gave the entire "plot" to this classic away, I want everyone to take notice of what occured in those prior 65 minutes. As I said before at the top, this movie is a pure onslaught of massive nude exhibition. Exploitation-film history has made us aware about the "Innocent" nudie cuties that were shot (And legalized) in the early/mid 60's. But there were still restrictions regarding full frontal nudity at that time. But here, in this particular movie, there were no rules to take notice of. With all the shapes,shades,colors,and naked breasts per-minute, Street of a Thousand Pleasures gets my vote as the ULTIMATE nudie cutie ever made. It might not be the sharpest of the nudie cuties ever made. And it might not be the most original nudie ever made. But it is the most unforgettable...Whether people want to admit it or not.
Reviewed by Laydback