Sunday, February 08, 2009

LOVE IN 3-D (1973)

Because he helmed only five of the thirteen SCHOOLGIRL REPORT movies, I had mistakenly dismissed Walter Boos as little more than producer Wolf Hartwig’s backup director for those rare occasions when the mighty Ernst Hofbauer was unavailable. If Boos is remembered at all today, it’s because of his outrageous softcore EXORCIST cash-in MAGDALENA, POSSESSED BY THE DEVIL (U.S. title: BEYOND THE DARKNESS), but I think a full career reassessment is in order now that I’ve seen the eye-popping LOVE IN 3-D. Not only is it his magnum opus, but it surpasses ANDY WARHOL’S FRANKENSTEIN as the best of the “adults only” 3-D movies of the 1970s. Boasting a fully deserved MPAA rating of X, the episodic West German production was released stateside by Dimension Pictures in 1974, with a re-release in 1977 handled by Monarch Releasing. The field sequential 3-D print reviewed here under the title FIRST KISSES is missing credits and chapter titles but otherwise seems complete.

Top-billed Ingrid Steeger, the impossibly cute blonde who lit up many a Hartwig and Erwin Dietrich production of the period, plays nice girl Peggy in a 3-part story that neatly forms a framing device for four other stories all involving different characters living in an apartment building in Munich. “Love in Schwabing, Part 1” opens with Peggy’s arrival to apartment-sit for her sister Dagmar (Evelyn Reese), who is grabbing one last roll in the sack with her boyfriend before hopping a plane to Africa for a week-long business conference. The couple bangs away in front of Peggy while Dagmar’s parrot tosses out witticisms like “Cock-a-doodle-doo! Everybody screw!” and “Polly wants to crack her!” The sequence would be interminable in any other movie, but Boos and cinematographer Klaus Werner are smart and technically savvy enough to pack the scene with more amusing effects than can be found in the entirety of THE STEWARDESSES and its terrible sequel combined. By the time Steeger turns to the camera to wink at the audience -- blinking her eyes in mock focal readjustment instead -- the film’s playful tone has been firmly established.

“The first thing is to find a job!” Peggy coos as she strips down for a hot, soapy shower. “There must be something I can do!” Luckily, Dagmar’s boyfriend is too screwed-out to work a garden party with his bartender buddy Manfred (Achim Neumann), so Peggy goes in his place as a barmaid. Their employment is compromised, however, when Manfred assaults a couple of guests who toss Peggy into a swimming pool with a bunch of naked revelers. After a hair-raising ride back to the apartment, Peggy kisses Manfred goodbye and agrees to see him again for a proper date.

In “The Rope Trick,” slick womanizer Hugo (Nico Wolferstetter) spies the gorgeous model Nita (Dorith Henke) sunbathing nude on the patio below his apartment window. He locks her outside and steals her clothing with a fishing rod while she dozes. When she awakens and realizes she’s trapped outside with no clothing, he comes to her rescue by throwing a rope down to her so she can climb up to his window -- his bedroom window.

Zaftig barmaid Fanni (Dorothea Rau) flirts constantly with her drooling male customers, much to the annoyance of her boyfriend Ted, who decides to teach her a lesson in “The Revenge.” While Fanni excites every man in the bar, from good-looking Bob the Cop to the oversexed Enrico the Italian (Rinaldo Talamonti as usual), Ted hooks up with mouth-watering Indian beauty Susu (Anik Ellahee) as a ploy to make Fanni jealous.

Of course, once he gets to Susu’s place, Ted quickly forgets all about Fanni. “Hey, I want to do it Hindu, like the common sutra!” he tells Susu.

“The Kama Sutra!” she corrects him.

“Yeah, that’s the book!” Ted exclaims. “It says in there that a Hindu man should be able to make it at least four times a day! With you, baby, I would do it forty times a day!” (Meanwhile, Fanni and Bob the Cop are doing it forty different ways in Ted’s bed).

“Like Krishna, you see your quarry in sight, but can you shoot your arrow straight and true?” Susu asks teasingly as she peels off her panties.

“With a target like that I can’t miss!” Ted replies, hungrily eyeing her hip-to-hip hair pie. Once his taste of India is satisfied and Fanni gives Bob the Cop a happy ending, the two jealous lovers end up back in each other’s arms planning a four-way with their new bed partners.

In “The Frightful Experience,” sweet young Lissy (Ulrike Butz) goes to comfort her older friend Rosy (Elizabeth Volkman), the supposed victim of a sexual assault. Rosy ends up describing the experience in such detail that it becomes a reenactment designed to seduce the pretty (and pretty dumb) Lissy. Highlights include bondage, slow-motion bouncing on the bed, and an appearance by Rosy's horny husband George.

Peg, in a miniskirt that leaves nothing to the imagination, decides to surprise Manfred at his job in "Love in Schwabing, Part 2." Manfred works as a gymnastics instructor, and when Peg walks in she catches him getting a little too touchy-feely with one of his sexy students. There are some great 3-D effects in this segment -- and did I mention Ingrid Steeger in a miniskirt?

Christina Lindberg fans will be in heaven during “Neighbor on the Left,” the longest and best story. The only time Inge (Lindberg) and her boyfriend Rudi (Konstantin Wecker) don't fight is when they're having sex. Otherwise, they yell and throw things at each other until their "neighbor on the left" starts banging on the walls. While arranging a window display at her retail job, Inge catches the eye of a young man who humorously pursues her for a date. She finally relents and has a wonderful time with him at an amusement park (leading to some nice 3-D effects on a rollercoaster and a dark ride). Three guesses who the new beau turns out to be.

Peg forgives Manfred and decides to surrender her virginity to him in “Love in Schwabing, Part 3.” A low-flying airplane chases them away when they attempt the hookup in an open field, so they return to Dagmar's place, only to find that she's returned from Africa early and is already back on the bedsprings with the boyfriend. So they kick it out on the patio, with amusing results.

When Boos and Werner aren't hurling everything they can find at the camera, from punching bags and pillows to buckets of water and flying panties, they make damn sure that every shot highlights depth of field, whether it's a car swerving between trees or a person walking from one room (foreground) into another (background). Needless to say, they pay special attention to the process during the many hot sex scenes, putting all the other softcore 3-D films of the '70s to shame. This is the real deal, and the current crop of directors making so-called 3-D movies could learn a lot from watching this funny, filthy, five-star classic.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sadly, this was the only film featuring Anik Ellahee who has Bengali-Bangladeshi looks and the last name could be a play on Ilahi.