Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Mystery Movie Solved! HUMDINGER!!! (1976)


Back in November, trusted Temple of Schlock correspondent Mike MacCollum took a break from bombarding us with PSYCHED BY THE 4D WITCH research to send out a text message in which he asked "Hey, is HUMDINGER!!! still a Mystery Movie?" We knew it was still a mystery to us, but we couldn't recall doing an actual Mystery Movie post about it (or other unknown quantities from Hemisphere Pictures, such as HANKY PANKY and WILLING WIVES). After a couple of minutes searching the archives we ascertained that we hadn't, and that Mike must've spotted the title in our PENTHOUSE PLAYGIRLS review, so we texted back "It sure is! Why, what have you found?" Within minutes we had the solution -- but before we share it with you, let's quickly recap what this HUMDINGER!!! business is all about.


HUMDINGER!!! debuted in U.S. theaters sans an MPAA rating in April 1976, but received a swift and fraudulent makeover in July to become CAPITOL HILL SECRETARIES after Representatives Joe Waggoner (D-Louisiana) and Allan Howe (D-Utah), in two separate incidents, were arrested for soliciting undercover police officers posing as prostitutes.

The co-feature, CONGRESSIONAL PLAYMATES, was a re-titling of the aforementioned Erwin C. Dietrich piece of crap PENTHOUSE PLAYGIRLS.

Mike's research turned up a Baton Rouge playdate in mid August '76 that was promoted with the newspaper ad below, which appears to be a CAPITOL HILL SECRETARIES ad with the HUMDINGER!!! title.
Further sleuthing by Mike uncovered a review by Sunday Advocate film critic Terence Adams, who went to see a movie called HUMDINGER!!! but instead got the CAPITOL HILL SECRETARIES title card attached to the head of - are you sitting down? - a dubbed European sex comedy set in 1814! And despite being lured in by a movie with the tag line "From Watergate to waterbeds," no one in the audience seemed to care when neither anachronism worked its way into a story that takes place in the immediate wake of Napoleon's defeat. From the plot details revealed in Mr. Adams' understandably confused review, Mike was able to identify the film as FRAU WIRTIN BLÄST AUCH GERN TROMPETE/THE LANDLADY ALSO LIKES TO BLOW THE TRUMPET (1970) a.k.a. SEXY SUSAN KNOWS HOW!, the fourth in a series of six Austrian-produced period costumers starring Hungarian actress Teri Tordai as Susanne “Sexy Susan” Delberg.

So that leaves two final mystery movies from Hemisphere Pictures, HANKY PANKY and WILLING WIVES, both of which first appeared in U.S. theaters in December 1976.
As for SMARTIE PANTS, we solved that mystery almost 15 years ago but multiple online sources still claim that it's the tenth installment of the “Schoolgirl Report” series of German softcore sex anthologies when it’s actually the fifth: SCHULMÄDCHEN-REPORT 5. TEIL – WAS ELTERN WIRKLICH WISSEN SOLLTEN/SCHOOLGIRL REPORT 5: WHAT PARENTS SHOULD REALLY KNOW (1973).

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