The Adventures of Lucky Pierre (Herschell Gordon Lewis / U.S., 1961):

Russ Meyer set the bar for nudie-cuties with The Immoral Mr. Teas, the least Herschell Gordon Lewis can do is to acknowledge it in the opening shrink-couch joke. The announcer heralding the picture's embellished virtues cannot quite contain his giggles and is finally carried away by two asylum orderlies, a continuous stream of disarmingly chintzy amusement follows. The ribald sketches have their Lucky Pierre in a thrift-shop Ben Blue (Billy Falbo) mugging away from under a beret, plus three or four disrobing maidens: Lewis's camera dotes on flapping comedy and mild nudity with the same demonstrative inelegance of the later gore bonanzas, down to the same score of cranium-splitting church organ and greasy bassoon. "Pardon My Pigments" finds the artist with three models who don't appreciate his cubist take on their bodies and take turns smashing the canvas over his head; "The Plumber's Friend" involves a mammoth pipe and a blonde in a bathtub, yet somehow manages to fumble the ejaculating-shower punchline. And so it goes. "For the Birds" places a sunbathing giantess in the way of a bird-watcher's binoculars, though the most self-reflexive notes of voyeurism are in "The Photographer's Apprentice" (models appear and disappear before snapshots are taken) and "Drive-In Me Crazy" (the screening of a whack-off epic is obscured by the trucks parked in front of the masturbator). Whether or not doused with copious blood, human flesh in Lewis's ingeniously debased comedies remains a tool for audience frustration. With William Kerwin.

--- Fernando F. Croce

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