Thursday, July 10, 2014

Another Day, Another Man (Doris Wishman, 1966)

What's with all the close up shots of women's legs and feet? Seriously, who in their right mind wants to see women's legs and feet shoved in their face over and over again for seventy minutes straight? And not only that, all the women's legs and feet are encased in stockings. I mean, enough already. Ha, Ha, I'm just kidding around. Pretty funny, eh? Yeah, I'm quite the card. You have to admit, though, I had you all fooled there for a second, didn't I? What's that? Oh, you knew I was kidding all along. Hmmm, I wonder what gave me away? Nonetheless, the movie I'm currently writing about is Another Day, Another Man, written and directed by Doris Wishman from 1966, and it's the kind of film that would make Jess Franco stand up in the middle of the theatre after the words "The End" popped up on the screen and declare it to be the leggiest thing they have ever seen (yeah, it's that leggy). Actually, now that I think about it, there's a kernel of truth to what I said earlier about there being too much legginess. You see, there are moments during this film where even I thought to myself: Really, another close up shot of Barbara Kemp's legs? As this on the cusp of being sensible thought zipped through my mind, it would occasionally bump into the legs and stockings-obsessed reprobate that rules over the inside portion of my brain with a shapely nylon-covered fist.

Of course, my depraved thoughts would eventually overwhelm anything coming close to resembling a sensible thought. But the fact that I was questioning Doris Wishman's camera placement at all was a bit of an eye opener for me.

Yet, despite these sensible thoughts, I have no choice but to declare Another Day, Another Man pretty much perfect as far as cinematic entertainment goes. Sure, the film relies too much on archival footage, but as far as perverted camera angles; unnecessary close ups of legs, feet and inanimate objects; never having the person reciting dialogue appear onscreen; and scenes that boast distressed blondes cradling their faces in her their hands go, this is pure Doris Wishman-based awesomeness from start to finish.

If you don't mind, I'd like to explain the whole not having "the person reciting dialogue appear onscreen." Instead of bothering to match the actors mouth movements with their respective dialogue during post-production, Doris simply doesn't shoot them when they talk. For example, if newlyweds Steve (Agustin Mayor) and Ann Bundy (Barabra Kemp) are speaking to one another, the one doing the talking is usually off-screen. In other words, rarely do we ever see an actor uttering words onscreen. It's a technique that was clearly devised to cut corners (they can dub in any dialogue they want without having to worry about it their film turning into a badly dubbed kung-fu flick). But from an artistic perspective, it does give her films a decidedly off-kilter aura about them.

And no one, and I mean, no one, gives inanimate objects as much screen time as Doris Wishman does. House plants, telephones, ashtrays, garbage pails, creepy clown paintings, radios, flowers, they all get their moment to shine in this film.

Is a beehive hairdo considered an inanimate object? The only reason I ask is because the beehive hairdo Barbara Kemp sports in this film seems to exist as a separate entity.

I don't know about being a "separate entity," but there's absolutely nothing inanimate about it. Tall, thick, ultra conical and robust as all get out, Barbara Kemp's beehive hairdo is a natural wonder to behold. However, did anyone notice that Steve, who, in case you forgot, is her husband, doesn't compliment her hair once in this film? Not once. Not even a... "Why, honey, your hair looks absolutely stunning today." Though, now that I think about it, he should really think about dropping the "today," as she might interpret it to mean that hair didn't look stunning the day before. Yeah, definitely the lose the "today."

Anyway, Steve needs to find a way to acknowledge all the hard work his wife puts into her hair without having it backfire on him.

As the credits start, we hear a familiar ditty playing on the soundtrack. Why, it's the music of composer Syd Dale. Most fans of (s)exploitation cinema will recognize this track immediately, as it's featured in the intros for all movies Something Weird Video release on video.

The young, recently married couple I mentioned earlier meet in Central Park. Implying that he has good news to tell her, Steve puts off telling Ann, who is wearing a fur coat, until they get to their spot. It turns out "their spot" is a giant rock, which Ann climbs on top of, causing her legs to dangle in a pleasing manner. Informing Ann that he just a got raise, Steve is excited because they can now move into their own apartment. In a bizarre twist, however, it would seem that Ann has kept her marriage to Steve a secret, as her boss doesn't want married women in the office. When I heard her say this, I was all like, What?!? I know, it's 1966 and all, but I don't think he's allowed to hire people based on their martial status.

Promising her friend and roommate that she would meet with her, Ann blows off her husband's dinner plans to have a chat with Tess (Mary O'Hara), a "really stacked" blonde hooker. Their chat doesn't really go anywhere, as all Tess does is smoke and pace about the apartment.

Well, that was a waste of time, it's time for bed. And you what that means? Yep, it's time for them to change out of their clothes. Yeah, don't bother going to your bedrooms to change, just get undressed in the middle of the living room. Take your time ladies, there's no rush. As they're removing their stockings, Ann tells Tess that she should stay away from Bert (Sam Stewart), her unruly pimp.

"No lectures please, Mrs. Prim," Tess fires back at Ann, as she rolls one of her stockings down her leg.

Okay, when I said "take your time ladies," I didn't think you would take what I said seriously. This has got to be the longest scene to feature two women getting undressed in film history.

Carried over the threshold of their new apartment, the second Steve puts down Ann, she starts exploring every nook and cranny of the place. I'm surprised she didn't become violently ill the second she saw that couch (blegh). The scene ends with Steve telling Ann that she's wonderful and the camera zooming straight towards Steve's crotch.

We finally meet Tess' pimp Bert in the next scene. And judging by the way he talks to Tess, he's obviously an asshole.

Sitting on Steve's lap in their new kitchen, Ann drones on and on about her dreams and aspirations. This does not bode well. I mean, the way she went on like that lead me to believe that things will probably not end well for the happy couple. I know, it's still early. But you should have heard her, she was laying it on pretty thick. Though, I could only gauge the thickness of her laying on technique by the timbre of her voice, as Doris' camera was mostly trained on Ann's legs during this scene.

From marital bliss in a state of the art kitchen, to curvy blondes lounging in black negligees, Another Day, Another Man does an excellent job showcasing the dichotomy between the lives of Ann, an upstanding citizen with killer gams, and Tess, a crass streetwalker.

In order to kill some time, Bert narrates a lengthy sequence that sheds some unnecessary light on how he became the pimp he is today. Focusing on his efforts to turn out Dolly (Darlene Bennett) and Daisy (Dawn Bennett), a pair of brunette twins, the sequence uses footage taken from what looks like another movie all-together.

The star of Bad Girls Go to Hell, Gigi Darlene, also makes an appearance as a woman Bert picks up at the bus station. Watch the intricate hip work Gigi employs as she shakes her moneymaker in nothing but her bra and panties, it's downright hypnotic.

When Steve falls ill, Ann reacts to this news by becoming a prostitute. I know, it doesn't seem very logical, but that's what she decides to do. That being said, I have yet to see a woman in a Doris Wishman film do anything that comes close to being logical. I was going to say, there must be other jobs in New York City. But then again, working as a prostitute does pay 200(!) bucks a week.

What ensues during Ann's stint as a prostitute is a veritable cornucopia of stockings, legs, cleavage, legs, feet, shoes, garbage pails, house plants, legs, black lace body stockings, thongs, cartons of milk, ankles, beehive hairdos, heels and black lace panties.

Managing to be sexy without showing a single nipple, Another Day, Another Man is erotic cinema done right. Campy and weird in the best way imaginable, the film is technically a cautionary tale. But, I, for the life of me, had no idea what to be cautious about after the film was over. Hold up, I think I do. When a loved one mysteriously falls ill, don't immediately become a prostitute. Wait a couple of hours. In other words, think about what you're getting into. The more you know.

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