Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Spirit (Michael Schultz, 1987)

First things first, you gotta love slits. (Don't you mean tits?) What do you think I am, a baby cow? No, I said, slits! Ugh. Slightly annoyed that I found myself sitting in front of some kind of viewing screen, one that just happened to be playing the 1987 TV movie version of The Spirit, I hunkered down for what I expected to be yet another glorified episode of Murder, She Wrote. Now, granted, I've never seen Murder, She Wrote  (not a single episode). Nevertheless, it's the first thing I thought of when the film got underway. As you've probably already figured out, The Spirit isn't like any episode of Murder, She Wrote that I've ever seen. And I'm not just saying that because I haven't seen Murder, She Wrote. Just to be sure, I did a quick search and I couldn't find any links between The Spirit and Murder, She Wrote. Of course, most of my searches involved perusing my exhaustive network of resources related to sanitary belts and raised toilet seats (people with limited mobility need to poo too), and, for some strange not even close to being tragic reason, I flipped through the latest edition of the Farmer's Almanac. But still, I couldn't find any substantial connection whatsoever.

While all that's fine and good. Let's get back to the topic at hand, shall we? (Slits?) That's right, Timmy. Slits.

Historians will likely debate for years to come about whether or not my decision to watch the 1987 TV movie version of The Spirit based solely on the rumour that we get see the tops of Nana Visitor's tan stockings was worth the time and effort.

Well, I can say, without a hint of hesitation, that it was totally worth the time and effort. And I'm not just saying that because we get to see the tops of Laura Robinson's stockings as well.

The manner in which we get a glimpse of the tops of Nana Visitor's stockings is the stuff of stocking top legend. (Stocking tops have legends?) Of course they do.

This may sound a tad out of character, but I can't remember the movie review where I talked at great length about "makeshift slits." It might come to me, but right now I'm drawing a blank (Edit: Death Walks at Midnight). Anyway, the slit that causes the tops of Nana Visitor's stockings to be revealed is makeshift in nature. But since there was already a slit in place, I'm trying to figure out a way to describe its implementation in a manner that makes sense.

After giving it much thought (of course, some might say, too much thought), I've decided to use the term, slit addendum.

Being a fashionable woman near the end of the twentieth century, Nana Visitor's character likes to wear skirts that boast slits. Not only are they pleasing to look at, but slits allow the wearer to move more freely (and they make kicking perverts in the dick a breeze). However, when the slit grows larger as a direct result of outside forces beyond the wearers control, there's a good chance certain articles of clothing, one's that are designed to remain hidden, could be exposed. You're probably thinking to yourself, so what if "certain articles of clothing" are exposed. In most cases, yes, it's no big deal. But there's nothing trivial about stocking tops. In other words, society as a whole is at risk of being destroyed.

What I mean is, don't expect anything to get done when the tops of Nana Visitor's stockings are not being sheepishly sheltered by a funnel-like swath of rough yet smooth to the touch fabric.

Actually, that's not entirely true. You see, when Sam Jones, a.k.a. The Spirit, sees the tops of Nana Visitor's stockings, he not only gets things done, he manages to bust up an elaborate forgery ring, investigate his friend's murder, befriend a little kid, nearly get dipped in a vat of acid, create a new identity and turn his crypt into a swanky bachelor pad.

If that's wasn't enough, the elaborate forgery ring is lead by the never not leggy P'Gell Roxton (Laura Robinson). Seriously, how anyone can think straight in the presence of such legginess is beyond me.

Which makes you wonder about The Spirit's commitment to heterosexuality. I mean, watching the rugged go-getter  repeatedly go out of his way to avoid having sexual relations with Ellen Dolan (Nana Visitor), the police commissioner's daughter, and seductive super-villain P'Gell Roxton, seemed kinda odd. Or maybe his love of fighting crime is so steadfast, that he doesn't have time for the ladies. It's the only logical explanation I can come up with at the moment.

In case you haven't figured it out yet, Sam Jones (Flash Gordon and My Chauffeur) plays Denny Colt, a cop who is investigating the murder of a writer (Philip Baker Hall). Using his police skills, Denny concludes that Simon Teasdale (Daniel Davis), the pompous curator of the Roxton Museum, was the one responsible for the dastardly deed. Unfortunately, Denny is shot just as he's about to make an arrest. Since no one finds his body (the gunshot causes him to fall into ocean), everyone assumes Denny is dead. Figuring that a man with no name can fight crime more effectively, Denny takes advantage of his untimely death by donning a mask and becoming... The Spirit.

Ahhh, I can't believe I went so long without mentioning the tops of Nana Visitor's stockings. Sorry about that. But, yeah, that's basically the plot.

Obviously, this film was supposed to lead to more, either a television show or more TV movies. Nonetheless, I enjoyed its light-heartened tone. More in tune with the Batman television show from the 1960s (Adam West is Batman), you'll never mistake The Spirit for any of the ultra-serious comic book movies that are being made nowadays. For one thing, it's mildly amusing. And get this, it's sexy. Yes, the extended sequence where Nana Visitor tries in vain to keep the tops of her stockings shielded from view is one of the main reasons this film is sexy. But the film's sexy vibe is actually quite consistent throughout its spry running time. And that's the main reason you should watch this film.

Did anyone else find it ironic that Nana Visitor tried desperately to lesson the impact of her slit addendum, while Laura Robinson seemed to flaunt the excessive nature of her slit(s) with a shameless brand of au-slit-dacity?

Oh, and bondage fans will want to check out the scene where "The Spirit" and Ellen Dolan are tied up (the latter is placed in an iron maiden). It's very kinky... for late '80s network television. 

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