If you mention breasts to any fan of sexploitation cinema, the name that instantly springs to mind is Uschi Digard. I first saw Uschi in Russ Meyer's Supervixens and have since seen her in dozens of 70's flicks including Superchick, Fantasm, and the first two Ilsa movies. As far as sex icons of the 70's, she was one of the most noticeable and memorable mainly due to her extra large breasts that became the fantasy of many. Any guy who has seen The Kentucky Fried Movie will most certainly remember the "Catholic School Girls In Trouble" segment that Uschi dominates. Although Uschi has appeared in a number of decent 70's flicks, she also appeared in a number of sex loops and short films that offer little other than seeing naked flesh for an hour or less. Similar to a lap dance, in today's post-porn day and age, I often wonder what the appeal is of these early efforts as the only reason they didn't usually 'go all the way' is because it was a world before Deep Throat and before that penetration taboo had been broken.
For whatever reason, one of the more notable directors of these tease flicks was Nick Philips. I have seen a few of Philips' movies and they have all consisted of unimaginative camera work, a free jazz soundtrack, no plot, sex scenes that are way too long, and a lame voiceover that is thrown in because no sound was recorded on location. This is the case with Fancy Lady as we follow Uschi throughout San Francisco while she analyzes the sex acts of Americans. You see, Uschi is a reporter from Copenhagen who is on assignment to do a story on the differences between Europe and the USA in the world of sex. Uschi wanders around and thinks out loud via the voiceover as she watches a pair of lesbians for 20 minutes and then a hetero couple for another 20. There are all sorts of inane comments she makes that sound like a commentary by a Scandinavian Jessica Simpson after ingesting Spanish fly. The sex scenes are extremely dull and the second one even contains a bored looking cat wandering around on the bed through the whole act. This was the most fascinating aspect of the whole exercise. Things slightly improved in the last 10 minutes when Uschi finally showed us what she was paid for in a quick masturbation scene but unfortunately it was too little too late. Shoe and leather fetishists may get more out of this than I did.
The second short feature in this collection is entitled Dirty Pool. Although it was a little more interesting than Fancy Lady, it still featured a jazz soundtrack and a voice over but seemed to move along a little better than the film from Philips. Director Ed Stevens kept the sex scenes shorter but this was still a plotless bore that is only saved from being a total write-off by the fact that Uschi spends a lot more time naked than in the other flick. Uschi stars as a woman who absorbs the sun's energy through her breasts which in turn makes her a nymphomaniac. Her husband enlists the help of a local stud with a jealous wife to take on some of her sexual energy. There is a lot of naked Uschi lounging, masturbating, and having sex in and around a swimming pool. If that sounds like a fun way to spend an hour, by all means have a blast. Also, bad poetry fans may get a kick out of the cheesy poems that Uschi's hubby and the stud's wife recite about her during the voiceover. For me, the only reason this flick seemed even slightly interesting is because I watched it directly after Fancy Lady. I think I could have watched Steel Magnolias in Chinese as a follow-up to that flick and been more entertained so this is not saying much.
I think that Dirty Pool was a better and more erotic flick than Fancy Lady and am surprised that Retro-Seduction Cinema chose to include it as a mere bonus feature on a collection that is supposed to feature Uschi. I would have thought it would be the other way around as the sex scenes were much more inspired. I am assuming that it is because of the fact that the company seems to be pimping out the entire Nick Philips library. I can't say I will be rushing out to see any more of his sexploitation flicks although I am slightly intrigued by what he would do with the horror genre and a plot in Criminally Insane, it's sequel, and others.
At the end of the day, this collection is for Uschi completists only and people should be aware that although this film is not hardcore, it goes as far as simulated sex can without showing penetration. For the casual fan, I would recommend sticking to her output in the Russ Meyer flicks and some of her more well known appearances. Another reason, you may want to check this DVD out is if you want to see what all the fuss is about and why Uschi was one of the most desired and iconic classic adult stars which you will discover during Dirty Pool. If you are looking for some decent movies, however, stay far away from these. (Josh Pasnak, 5/8/06)
Directed By: Nick Philips, Ed Stevens.
Written By: Not Credited.
Starring: Uschi Digard, Lynn Harris.
Seduction/EI - March 21, 2006
Picture Ratio: Full Frame (Fancy Lady), 1.78:1 Widescreen (Dirty Pool).
Picture Quality: Both of these still retain the grain and grit that almost need to be there in an old grindhouse movie. Fancy Lady looks surprisingly good otherwise. Dirty Pool is a little worse for wear but when you can constantly see the shadow of the camera on the actors, do you really care that much? I suppose that we should just be thankful that these films are being preserved.
Extras: First up we have a featurette entitled "A Look at Fancy Lady With Film Historian 42nd Street Pete" that seemed like more of an advertisement than anything. All that Pete did was explain the plot of the film and then go on to talk about how great Uschi and Nick Philips were. Next, we have an 8mm loop entitled "Phone Sex with Uschi" that consisted of her talking on the phone and masturbating for 6 minutes. The quality was bad but I guess this would be a treasure if you were really into Uschi. Finally, we have a trio of trailers for Philips films featuring Uschi: Fancy Lady, Pleasures Of A Woman, and Roxanna.
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