Fairy Tales (1978)

fairytales_6Starring Don Sparks, Sy Richardson, Robert Staats, Brenda Fogarty, Linnea Quigley, Irwin Corey, Robert Harris, Simmy Bow, Martha Reeves, Frank Ray Perilli, Angelo Rossitto, Bob Leslie, Jeff Doucette, Lindsay Freeman, Nai Bonet, Angela Aames, Anne Gaybis, Lee Arries

Directed by Harry Hurwitz

Expectations: Fairly high, after how surprisingly enjoyable Cinderella was.

On the general scale:
onehalfstar

On the B-movie scale:
twohalfstar


Hot off the heels of Cinderella and her snapping pussy, Charles Band was eager to recapture the audience that craved erotic musicals based on fairy tales. But instead of picking just one and running with it, he decided to lump a whole bunch into one movie. For me, this makes Fairy Tales a far less successful film as the narrative has no drive other than to take us from one scene of nudity to the next, but I guess that’s kinda the whole point in a movie like this.

The poster and the trailer proudly display what type of movie Fairy Tales is, but as the stately opening credits played I imagined a couple of clueless parents bringing their kids along for an old-fashioned good time. “Old King Cole was a merry old soul, and this one’s going to be a lot of fun, kiddos!” I know this type of movie wouldn’t have played a general cinema in the ’70s, but just imagine! They’d storm out in a huff during the first scene when the royal doctors experts sex-perts sing the flaccid prince a song of how he must rise to the occasion and get to producing an heir by Thursday or he’ll lose his kingdom. The first nudity comes just six minutes in, but our imaginary family would be long gone by then, with lyrics ushering them out the door like, “They only make semen white and urine yellow so that you know whether you’re comin’ or goin’.”

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Cinderella (1977)

cinderella_1977_poster_01Cinderella (1977)
AKA Cinderella: The Movie, The Other Cinderella

Starring Cheryl Smith, Yana Nirvana, Marilyn Corwin, Jennifer Doyle, Sy Richardson, Brett Smiley, Kirk Scott, Boris Moris, Pamela Stonebrook

Directed by Michael Pataki

Expectations: Very low.

On the general scale:
onehalfstar

On the B-movie scale:
threestar


[As a slight disclaimer to those who might be interested in seeking this one out and laughing at its absurdity fresh and untainted: I suggest doing so before reading the review. This movie is such that I found it hard not to reveal many of the ways it takes license with the classic tale, and that’s pretty much the whole enchilada with this one. So you’ve been warned!]

Against all odds, Cinderella, the ’70s softcore version of the fairy tale produced by Charles Band, is a memorable, enjoyable experience. I’ve purposefully held back on reviewing this and a few other films in the Band lineup, thinking that they’d be hard to get through (or perhaps impenetrable, to use a dick joke in the spirit of this movie). I also couldn’t imagine the idea that a softcore musical would be any good, but now I see the error in my thinking. Not only was it good, it was a “snapping” good time. And up front I should mention that “good” is most definitely a subjective term here, as I imagine most people would find this largely stupid and pointless.

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The Glass Shield (1994)

Starring Michael Boatman, Lori Petty, Richard Anderson, Michael Ironside, M. Emmet Walsh, Ice Cube, Elliott Gould, Bernie Casey, Don Harvey, Sy Richardson, Natalia Nogulich, Wanda De Jesus, Victoria Dillard

Directed by Charles Burnett

Expectations: Moderate. Corrupt cops usually makes for a good movie.


I tried to research these movies a bit beforehand to avoid this, but apparently, unlike the characters in this film, I didn’t dig deep enough. The Glass Shield may showcase Ice Cube at the forefront of every poster, DVD cover and promo material I came across during my evidence gathering phase for Ice Fest, but he’s literally only in it for a few minutes and has just as many lines. Argh. It’s not just frustrating because of Ice Fest, it’s also frustrating because Ice Cube plays a man on trial but we don’t know anything about him. Pretty much all we know is that he’s innocent and wrongly accused by some corrupt cops, so that’s probably why the movie revolves around his trial and not around his character.

Deputy Johnson (Michael Boatman) is fresh out of the Police Academy (No, not that Police Academy) and is assigned to a station full of mustachioed white men who immediately treat him as an outsider. He finds a friend in Fields (Lori Petty), the previous outsider of the force and the only women assigned to that station. One night, Johnson assists another officer when he arrests Ice Cube at a gas station while he ain’t doing a got-damn thing but filling up his VW Bug with gasoline. Ice admits to having a gun under the front seat for protection and is immediately arrested by the officer. This starts the tangled web of corruption and murder trial proceedings to follow, and while I’d love to say that it’s a joy to unravel it, it’s more of a chore.

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