Thrown together from new and old footage as a way to revive his finances after the box-office failure of FASTER, PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL! (1965), MONDO TOPLESS is a silly but enjoyable trifle noteworthy mostly for Russ Meyer's zany narration and technical polish. Those who enjoy looking at
women with large breasts will also be highly entertained.
Ostensibly a documentary about the "topless" craze that was then getting lots of media attention, MONDO TOPLESS simply intercuts footage of different performers, all shot by Meyer in his trademark style. Although various nightclubs are mentioned (the Atlantic Palace in Copenhagen, Le Cabaret Sexy
in Nancy, France, the Crazy Horse Saloon and Place Pigalle in Paris, and the Fair Lady Film Bar in Berlin), it's impossible to tell if Meyer actually filmed in any of those locations, as all of the interiors are shot so close that they could easily be Hollywood soundstages. Most of the women are
filmed in the outdoor locations Meyer has always favored, which adds to the ridiculousness of the film. Music is provided by a steady soundtrack of surf rock, and every scene includes the presence of a radio or tape player (Meyer's joke on the film convention of having background music appear out
of nowhere). The soundtrack also features the dancers making comments so banal it's as if Meyer were saying, "Does anyone really care what they think?"
What makes the film so amusing is Meyer's absurdly purple narration, delivered by an unidentified narrator who sounds like he's about to leap out of his skin at any moment. Topless, he bellows, is "The phrase and the craze that is changing the mood and the mores of people everywhere." He promises
the viewer "Scenes that can only be summarized as a swinging tribute to unrestrained female anatomy. You've only dreamed there were women like these until now, but they're real--unbelievably real!" The opening scenes, a brief travelogue of San Francisco (then known as the "home" of the topless
phenomenon), also provide Meyer a way to lambaste both documentary cliches and sexual symbolism, as we see such local landmarks as "the arrogant and imposing Coit tower, thrusting its bulk majestically to the sky, with the Broadway tunnel offering a yawning orifice through which to enter fabled
North Beach." MONDO TOPLESS is obviously the work of a man who has found his calling in life, and perfectly enjoyable for the craft that it represents. (Extensive nudity.)
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- Rating: NR
- Review: Thrown together from new and old footage as a way to revive his finances after the box-office failure of FASTER, PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL! (1965), MONDO TOPLESS is a silly but enjoyable trifle noteworthy mostly for Russ Meyer's zany narration and technical pol… (more)