Allen Funt, creator of the long-running TV series "Candid Camera," finds an even more candid use for those cameras in this documentary about contemporary sexual mores. Most of the film consists, in Funt's usual style, of people filmed secretly as they react to some bizarre situation Funt
has concocted. It's not terribly funny, but as a record of America in the late 1960s, it's invaluable.
WHAT DO YOU SAY... opens with the scenes that give the film its name. In various locations, passersby are confronted with a pleasant young woman, carrying on some business and seemingly oblivious to the fact that she is naked. Another woman in a mini skirt asks men to hold a ladder she needs to
climb; the camera records them as they (mostly) refrain from looking up her skirt. A pretty girl holding a notebook and clipboard asks men point blank if they will kiss her: neither the ones who refuse or accept ask her why. Residents at a senior citizen's center argue as to whether their new
reproduction of Michaelangelo's David should wear a fig leaf or not. A tailor gropes his female customers while sizing their clothes to see how many will complain. In a scene right out of a behavioral psychology textbook, different men, located at what they think is an employment agency, are shown
into a waiting room with four other men. The four are Funt's plants, and as they wordlessly disrobe, the camera watches to see if the fifth man will do so as well. (Most do.)
People line up at a storefront window to look through a painted-on oversized keyhole at a woman in a skimpy bathing suit; the same woman later walks down the street and no one looks at her. Middle-aged women react when left alone in an artist's studio with his naked male figure model. A white
woman and a black man (future SHAFT star Richard Roundtree) kiss passionately in a bus terminal; after they leave, Funt, posing as a ticket seller, asks people if they were bothered by this. Actresses auditioning for a part in a sexy movie are asked to portray sexual arousal. A sex education
lecture is delivered, first to a college class and then to a group of middle-aged woman, by a naked woman who discusses erogenous zones.
These scenes are interspersed with different interview segments in which Funt more simply gets people to talk about their feelings on the sexual revolution. He shows scenes to different people in a screening room and solicits their opinions. And he talks to young children to see what they know
about the birds and the bees (not as much as they think they do, as it turns out). Funt had a wonderful ability to draw out people's opinions in a nonconfrontational manner. It's entirely possible that he simply chose not to show any of the belligerent or obnoxious encounters he may have had, but
WHAT DO YOU SAY... is a likable documentary which suggests that the spirit of "Live and let live" was prevalent in middle America in 1969. The film's one major fault is a big one: a horrible folk-rock score in which what sound like rejects for the cast of "The Partridge Family" comment on the film
with mind-numbing obviousness ("These are real people you're gonna see/People like you, people like me," as the title song goes). (Extensive nudity, sexual situations, adult situations, profanity.)
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- Review: Allen Funt, creator of the long-running TV series "Candid Camera," finds an even more candid use for those cameras in this documentary about contemporary sexual mores. Most of the film consists, in Funt's usual style, of people filmed secretly as they reac… (more)