Now That’s What I Call Quite Good: The First Nudie Musical

the first nudie movie indexReleased by Paramount back in 1976 The First Nudie Musical is a semi-legitimate attempt at a musical sex comedy, notable for a fairly decent supporting role from Laverne and Shirley’s Cindy Williams who would go on to sitcom stardom that very year after a couple of appearances on Happy Days, and it also features Ron Howard in a small cameo though you’ll either be relieved to hear that he doesn’t strip off at any point in the film or disappointed, and hey, I’m judging no one.

In the film Stephen Nathan plays porn producer Harry who has reluctantly been making dodgy movies for years, but his last couple of films haven’t been hits and thus his financial backers are getting restless. Luckily he has his secretary and eventual romance interest Rosie (Cindy Williams) by his side to support him, and he comes up with the supposedly brilliant idea to make a musical porn movie, though this is of the soft porn variety thankfully so only has bits of nudity rather than full on sex.

Twenty odd years later Matt Stone made the porn comedy Orgazmo and it doesn’t come close to being as funny as this is, The First Nudie Movie works as a much more insightful satire of the industry as the producers are utterly devious individuals, Harry is forced to hire John Smithee (writer and co-director Bruce Kimmel) by one of them despite his not having any experience, and the shooting of the porno is packed with a great deal of enjoyable silliness as well.

Included in that are some great songs, they’re rough and raw but oddly appealing because of this, and many of the lyrics are of the laugh out loud variety, like one which features some dancing dildo’s and contains the jauntily sung line “We’re just dildos out on a spree”, and after John messes about on a crane it includes a delightfully funny dildo disaster. Even funnier are some of the lyrics that the songwriter rejects, like “I’m not deformed, I’m not a cripple, so tell me why won’t you let me hold your nipple” which might not be politically correct but are so silly it’s impossible not to find them endearing.

Kimmel and co-director Mark Haggard are also strong on the physical comedy side of things, the auditions for the movie contain some bizarre solo sex acting that’s very funny stuff, while one of the characters, Juanita, has a boyfriend who is the 1970’s version of Crispin Glover, so weird but amazing then, and his penchant for getting out his flick knife never fails to amuse. Kimmel also has a ball as the hapless director too, who delivers ridiculous motivational speeches like “Shit we can make a fucking good bitch of a bastard movie if we all pull together and work as a whore loving cunt penis team”, and which go to prove once again that he doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing.

On the downside it’s a shame there’s quite so much nudity, a bit of careful camera work could have removed the need for a lot of it, or the cast could have just kept their underwear on a bit more often. At least it’s not as exploitative as the other two major porn musicals, The Other Cinderella and Alice In Wonderland – An X-Rated Musical are, with the latter being especially frustrating as it’s surprisingly decent with some great songs, but the occasional full on sex scenes meant it only ever played in porn cinemas.

Perhaps there could have been a few more songs too, and longer ones at that, and a subplot involving an actress new to Hollywood fizzles out rather strangely, but otherwise this is a surprisingly enjoyable film. It’s a very silly affair that refuses to take itself seriously and is all the better for it, and so even if you’re not a huge fan of musicals it should be something you’ll find yourself chuckling at time and again.

★★★1/2

Alex Finch.
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