Vixen! (Russ Meyer / U.S., 1968):

The heroine’s all-libido credo certainly applies to Russ Meyer’s camera: "When I’m attracted, I respond." British Columbia ("bush country") is the ironical setting for a furiously inspired anthology of lusty American fixations, from boob-leering to Commie-baiting. Vixen (Erica Gavin) is the ravenous tigress in hot pants and painted-on slashes for eyebrows, whose torrid pas de deux with a trout early on displays a little knowledge of Freud. A gonzo nymph first seen mounted by a Mountie, she shags half the province by day and at night comes merrily home to her stolidly oblivious husband (Garth Pillsbury), who pleases her "where it counts the most." Their guests are a couple (Robert Aiken, Vincene Wallace) who’ve lost the taste for topless foreplay. (He: "You’re wearing those to bed?" She: "Do you think they’ll get in the way of anything?") Vixen to the rescue: She boinks Aiken in the stream, then moves on to tipsy, scarlet-clad Wallace in a dazed, tender, epically funny girl-on-girl sequence, and afterwards their conjugal ennui is cured. She hops into the shower with her brother (Jon Evans) but quivers with repulsion at the thought of his black chum (Harrison Page) ravishing her: "Buckwheat can wait outside!" Vidor’s Ruby Gentry is the model, though Meyer’s smuggling of rabble-rousing politics suggests an alliance to the Fuller of The Steel Helmet, too. The lunatic peaks include parallel editing braiding the eponymous racist minx’s cabin romp and the Irish proselytizer’s (Michael Donovan O’Donnell) spiel on Western decadence, and Page’s defense of Vietnam War draft-dodging ("They ask me to kill or be killed when they won’t even let me get a job or eat in a restaurant") in the middle of a hijacked flight to Cuba. A lambent work of flesh and abrasion, attuned to both Gavin’s snap and Wallace’s sniffle, and ultimately patriotic towards "the lesser of two evils." With Peter Carpenter.

--- Fernando F. Croce

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