Sunday, 10 January 2016

The Meyer Files #4: Europe in the Raw (1963)

Whenever Russ Meyer ran low on money, he would cobble together footage of various models he had, slap on some narration and release the final product as a 'documentary'. Europe in the Raw is the first of these half-assed productions which would reach their insane peak with 1966's Mondo Topless!

Meyer basically takes the viewer on a 'tour' of Europe's hot spots. This is mostly a load of malarky -- most of the scenes were shot Stateside and it's just a way for Meyer to justify wedging in whatever burlesque performer/model he has footage of. Their 'European' context is provided by narration and exhausting montages of various European capitals.

It's all well shot, and Meyer is starting to figure out how to make the colours really pop. However, it is better watched in pieces. Sitting through the whole thing is a chore.

And while the women are attractive, it's basically like looking at a book of old burlesque pictures come to life. There is no story beyond the 'documentary' excuse, and the whole thing lacks the gonzo energy and wild humour of Mondo Topless!

As a curiosity and a time capsule of attitudes toward sex and gender, it is interesting, but not for much else. Check it out, if you are interested in finding out what the Mad Men generation were into.

With the nudie cutie market over-saturated and on the wane, Meyer recognised that he would need something new for his next picture. The results would lead to his best work.

The Midnight Ramble will back on Friday when we move from the innocence of Russ Meyer's 'nudie cuties' into the swampy gothicism of his 'roughie' period: a series of black and white morality tales in which the focus shifts from the bodies of Meyer's leading ladies to the violence of the men who seek to possess and control them.

Russ Meyer will return with Lorna!

For previous entries...

The Meyer Files #1: The Immoral Mr. Teas (1959)

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