Comedy, Satire, Western

Fanny Hill / The Phantom Gunslinger (1964 / 1970)

Comments Off on Fanny Hill / The Phantom Gunslinger (1964 / 1970) 23 February 2014

fanny hill blu ray

Studio: Vinegar Syndrome

Theatrical Release: 1964 / 1970

Blu Ray Release: December 10, 2013

Director: Russ Meyer / Albert Zugsmith

Not Rated

Review by James Klein

Vinegar Syndrome’s double feature of two Albert Zugsmith produced comedies was one that I was eagerly anticipating and that is because of Russ Meyer’s little seen Fanny Hill. This early Russ Meyer film, made at the same time as his breakout exploitation film Lorna, was one that Russ himself never liked and wanted no part of having the film released on home video. Due to tensions on the set between him and Zugsmith, this rarely seen comedy was one Russ was never a fan of. After watching the movie, I can see why this doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of Russ’s filmography but it is one that should be seen by his hardcore fans.

fanny hill

This black & white period piece stars the child-like Leticia Roman as Fanny Hill, a virginal young lady whose an orphan on the streets of 18th century London. Being a klutz and quite naive, she ends up meeting the elderly Madame Maude Brown, a sweet older woman who just happens to run a distinguished brothel. Unbeknownst to Fanny, she believes she is taking the place of a deceased relative of Maude Brown’s and finds it in her heart to play along in the role. What she doesn’t know is that she is being set up to pleasure the many horny men that frequent Maude Brown’s establishment.

fanny

As Fanny keeps finding herself in various high jinx’s, she ends up meeting a young man named Charles (Ulli Lommel) who is just as innocent as herself. The two end up falling in love, wanting to be married. But Maude Brown wants no part of getting rid of her virginal beauty so she finds a way to get rid of Charles so that Fanny stays with her at the brothel.

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Fanny Hill is an odd film in that it does have the trademark close up shots that Meyer is known for as well as most of the women wearing low cut outfits, exposing their massive chests. But Fanny Hill has an almost innocent PG-rated tone throughout the whole movie. The movie doesn’t know if it wants to be a sexy comedy or straight up slapstick. I will admit that I did laugh at certain moments such as characters falling down in fast motion or the strange lunacy climax set during a wedding. Fanny Hill does have an innocent charm to it but just feels like it wants to push the boundaries of bad taste but is afraid to do so. This is where Meyer and Zugsmith clashed and ultimately Zugsmith won.

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Fanny Hill is an amusing little fable with some funny moments but it can easily be forgettable, especially if one is talking about Russ Meyer’s filmography that consists of Faster Pussycat Kill Kill, Supervixens, and Up!

Phantom gunslinger

The added bonus on the blu ray is another Zugsmith comedy that is just complete batshit insanity. It is a western starring Troy Donohue that feels as if it was made by people tripping on acid. I have no idea what the hell this movie is really about but it needs to be seen regardless just for the sheer lunacy. Troy Donahue plays Phil P. Phillips, a man just straight out of divinity school who tries to stand up to the towns bandits who seem to have taken his small town hostage. However most of the movie is just straight up gags and slapstick that does work some of the time and yet other times will make you scratch your head and wonder, “What the fuck is going on?”

Phantomgunslinger

The Phantom Gunslinger has plenty of pratfalls and Three Stooges-type humor that I found funny and entertaining. There is also midgets, food fights, a man dressed like Hitler just because, and plenty of speeded up site gags of characters running around and falling down. But at 99 minutes this gets old really fast and one wonders how the hell was this even made. How did this get released to any theaters? It sure can test the patience once it gets to the one hour mark.

phantom gun

The blu ray picture looks pretty astonishing given the obscure films. The picture looks really good and while I noticed quite a bit of hiss during Fanny Hill, the 2.0 mono soundtrack is just fine for both films. The blu ray also contains two more DVD’s, each one featuring the film. However, on the Phantom Gunslinger DVD, there are two interviews as an added bonus. One features the co-star of Fanny Hill, Ulli Lomell who discusses the making of Fanny Hill while shadow boxing at a playground! The other is a traditional interview with film historian Eric Schaefer discussing Zugsmith’s career. The final special feature is the reversible cover. One can select the Fanny Hill cover art or the Phantom Gunslinger cover art.

phantom

Fanny Hill Rating: ★★½☆☆

Phantom Gunslinger Rating: ★★½☆☆

Blu Ray Rating: ★★★☆☆

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