Sunday, December 14, 2008


This early nudie from the Lee Frost/Bob Cresse team, long considered “lost,” was released last Tuesday on DVD under a different title, with no fanfare whatsoever. The actual title on the print is LOVE IS A FOUR-LETTER WORD, with the shiny new computer generated alias added at the bottom of the screen to justify its use on the packaging. The photo gallery on the DVD includes no ad mats, 1-sheets, lobbies or any other promotional material carrying the LOVE IS A FOUR-LETTER WORD title, or the new title for that matter. An essay included on the disc claims that the new title is a “roadshow title,” without explaining the difference (if any) between the roadshow version and any other version of LOVE IS A FOUR-LETTER WORD, or why the DVD company is releasing the movie under the roadshow title instead of the one that’s actually on the print. Whatever. This is an issue to be settled between the DVD’s producers and the rights holders they’re apparently trying to bypass.

Never before available on DVD or any other home video format, LOVE IS A FOUR-LETTER WORD will delight Frost-Cresse buffs but won’t win the pair any new fans beyond a handful of ‘60s nudie newbies unfamiliar with their diseased m.o. At a lean 61 minutes, the film is a sampler basket of Cresse’s most notorious obsessions -- bondage, Asian women, lesbianism, spanking -- nicely photographed by Frost as a series of loops and then assembled to form a loosely structured joke with a sourpuss punch line. Just how amused you’ll be by the joke, if you even recognize it as one, will depend on your previous experiences with the gruesome twosome's output and whether or not you consider voyeurism a subject serious enough to warrant the mock REEFER MADNESS treatment it's given here. The theme is hammered home in the first two images: a close-up of leading man Forman Shane’s eye, followed by a medium shot through Venetian blinds of a woman undressing. Shane plays college jock Jerry, whose spurned sexual advances toward gal pal Shelia ("You only love me for my meatloaf!") doom him to a life of stag films, porno shops, prostitutes and a lot of window peeping. The voiceover during the Tijuana whorehouse scene is hilarious enough on its own, but when Frost cuts to a shot of Jerry getting an eye exam you'll swear there's a rimshot on the soundtrack. Centerpiece of the film is a sorority initiation in which two pledges are led into a room on dog leashes, tied up, blindfolded, stripped and then tormented with knives (fittingly enough, the same room was used again for SLAVES IN CAGES). Best sequence takes place in a peepshow booth and shows typically Frosty contempt for the audience, as the stag film Jerry watches grinds to a halt every minute, forcing him to dig another and still another coin out of his pocket. I laughed both times I watched it. Hell, I'm laughing right now just thinking abou-- [*click*]


OK, I know I have one ... more ... quarter ... in ... here ... somewhere...


Tim Mayer said...

The same room used in SLAVES IN CAGES? Perhaps Frost's own house?

Temple of Schlock said...

It must've been. It's also seen in the THE BLACK GESTAPO, as the home owned by the syndicate boss...who's played by Frost himself.