An artifact from a bygone era, when the most modest display of female flesh was sufficient to lure horny men into movie theaters. Burlesque films were as straightforward as they come, compilations of striptease and specialty dance acts shot in a bare-bones style (flat lighting, minimal camera set-ups, little sync sound), interspersed with vaudeville comedy and shown in adults-only theaters. This was the first shot in color, and features a couple of well-known peelers, brief appearances by "Queen of Curves" Bettie Page, and a walk-on by future B-movie actress Jeanne Carmen. In a spectacularly silly framing story, a council of cultural experts is choosing examples of contemporary show business to place in a time capsule. They agree that burlesque doesn't make the cut, and a mocked-up Variety front page wails, "Future deprived of bumps and grinds!" The prudes are persuaded at gunpoint (by a truly dismal trio of comedians named Jack Diamond, Mandy Kay and Charles Harris) to watch a burlesque film, and are treated to a series of vignettes, including a comic act by Georgia Sothern, who lounges in a revealing outfit, dresses (behind a screen) for a big night out, then strips down again to her spangly bra set. There's also a bizarre number by Rosita Royce, a proud graduate of the "You gotta have a gimmick" school of stripping: Trained doves peck at her clothes until they fall off. Page is seen (and heard) in a comic sequence in which Diamond and Kay dream of their favorite pin-up girl, and later takes a bubble bath as part of an attenuated harem girl interlude. Carmen appears fleetingly as a French streetwalker in an Apache dance sequence that features the team of Marinette and Andre. The film closes with an eight-minute featurette called "Cinderella's Love Lesson," in which famed ecdysiast Lili St.Cyr is transformed by a fairy godmother (or someone all we see is a wand that swoops in from out of frame) from a scrub girl into a well-dressed beauty with a high-born swain, only to have her glad rags vanish piece by piece when the clock strikes midnight. The film is missing its last few minutes, in which the cultural arbiters, wowed by these artistic acts, agree to include burlesque films in their precious time capsule. It's all tame as can be by today's standards, but will charm fans of vintage erotica.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: An artifact from a bygone era, when the most modest display of female flesh was sufficient to lure horny men into movie theaters. Burlesque films were as straightforward as they come, compilations of striptease and specialty dance acts shot in a bare-bones… (more)