Jan 252024
 

Roman Scandals is a 1933 American musical comedy, pre-Hays Code film. Eddie Cantor stars as Eddie, an oddball handyman in the present-day, corruptly governed town of West Rome. Without explanation, Eddie is transported back to ancient Rome and gets tangled up in a plot to kill the corrupt Emperor.

For our purposes, it’s noteworthy for two of the musical set-pieces, both designed by Busby Berkeley, famed for his production numbers involving vast arrays of women in identical, often fetishistic costumes.

The first is an elaborate dance number set at the Roman slave market. Women, naked but for long blonde wigs, are chained to walls. Other, brunette women do synchronized dances in scanty outfits on a tiered display like a giant wedding cake. Reptilian-looking men in the crowd eye the captive women. One of the brunette women is dragged to the top of the display, and then jumps off and dies, ending the number.

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Jan 152024
 

Police Woman S03E21 “Bondage”, aired March 1, 1977, dir. Arnold Laven, wri. Irv Pearlberg & Frank Telford

Police Woman was a 1974-1978 cop show that starred Angie Dickinson as Sgt. “Pepper” Anderson, set in Los Angeles. Episode “Bondage” involved Pepper infiltrating the porn industry.

The opening scene is set in an old-timey looking room, with a woman tied up by the wrists, standing. A maid (in a completely ahistorical uniform) comes in to help her “Countess”. (The background sound of a camera whirring betrays that this is a performance.) A man in period-ish wig comes in, dismisses the maid, and rips the back of the Countess’ nighgown. (No actual nudity, of course.)

Manny the Director: “And cut!”

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Jan 142024
 

Dead Ringers (1988), directed by David Cronenberg, starring Jeremy Irons and Genevieve Bujold.

The film is based on a true story of a pair of identical twin gynecologists who died in a murder-suicide. Irons plays both Doctors Beverly and Elliot Mantle, and Bujold plays actress Claire Niveau, who catalyzes their disintegration.

In the story, Beverly does most of the work that makes them wealthy and famous in their field, while Elliot does the glad-handing and schmoozing. Beverly is fascinated by the “trifurcated uterus” of Claire, a troubled actress searching for a cure for her infertility. As they have done before, the confident Elliot seduces Claire and then passes her on to the shy Beverly, who claims to be Elliot. However, Beverly develops deeper feelings for Claire, and that reveals a hairline fracture in the partnership of the Mantle twins.

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Dec 172023
 

A Woman in Flames (Die Flambierte Frau) is a 1983 German film about a woman who leaves her husband to become an escort.

Eva (Gudrun Landgrebe) is a housewife whose husband criticizes and disdains her. When he ignores her at the party she set up, Eva suddenly packs a bag and walks out.

After learning how to be an escort from a friend, Eva hooks up with Chris, a male escort who sees both men and women. He aspires to run a restaurant with an art gallery.

Eva moves in with Chris, and they become like a husband and wife who are both sex workers.

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Nov 152023
 

I Love a Man in Uniform (also released as A Man in Uniform) is a 1993 Canadian psychological drama. IMDB

Henry Adler, a bank clerk and would-be actor, witnesses a police officer be shot. He seems excited by this.

Henry auditions for a secondary role, Officer Flanagan, on a TV cop show, Crimewave. He shows an aggressive and domineering side as he pushes around a female production assistant.

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Nov 132023
 

Lipstick is a 1976 rape revenge drama.

The first two acts are a straightforward drama. Chris McCormick, a famous model known for sexually provocative pictorials, agrees to meet with the music teacher, Gordon Stuart, of her teen sister, Kathy. Gordon, angered by Chris’ indifference to him and the glamour of her lifestyle, assaults and rapes her in her apartment, including tying her to her bed. Kathy briefly witnesses the end of this.

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Nov 022023
 

Walk All Over Me is a 2007 Canadian comedy/crime thriller.

Alberta, a young woman, flees a drug deal gone wrong in her small town. She arrives in Vancouver with only the clothes on her back and seeks out the only person she knows: her old babysitter, Celene.

Celene now works as a pro dominatrix, part of her “life plan” to become an actress. She reluctantly takes Alberta in. 

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