(director: Russ Meyer; screenwriters: W.E. Sprague/Raymond Friday Locke/from the novel Streets Paved With Gold by Raymond Friday Locke; cinematographer: Walter Schenk; editors: Russ Meyer/Charles G. Schelling; music: Henri Price; cast: Hal Hopper (Sidney Brenshaw), Antoinette Christiani (Hannah Brenshaw), John Furlong (Calif McKinney), Rena Horten (Eula), Princess Livingston (Maggie Marie, whorehouse madam), Lorna Maitland (Clara Belle), Sam Hanna (Injoys), Stuart Lancaster (Lute Wade), Frank Bolger (Brother Hanson), Lee Ballard (Sister Hanson), Nick Wolcuff (Sheriff Able); Runtime: 92; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: George Costello/Russ Meyer; RM and Image Entertainment; 1965)
“Meyer proves he’s a square at heart, that he prefers big breasts over good acting and makes undemanding B films.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A revolting sexploitation comedy from cult director Russ Meyer (“Lorna”/”Beyond the Valley of the Dolls”/”Motor Psycho”). The Depression-era black-and-white film involves murder, rape, arson, depravity and a lynch mob. In the end evil is punished and true love prevails. Meyer proves he’s a square at heart, that he prefers big breasts over good acting and makes undemanding B films.
A penniless young well-dressed man named California McKinney (John Furlong) is hitchhiking from his home state of Michigan to the state he was named for after serving a five-year sentence for manslaughter. In rural Spooner, Missouri, he finds work as a fieldhand at a farm run by Lute Wade (Stuart Lancaster) and his attractive niece, Hannah Brenshaw (Antoinette Christiani). Sidney Brenshaw (Hal Hopper) is the long-suffering Hannah’s sadistic and drunken husband. He takes pleasure in harassing those under him and tries to no avail to get the mild-mannered Calif’s goat, but Calif refuses to become involved in his sicko games as all he wants to do is save up enough money to move onto California. In the meantime, Calif relaxes on his time off with big-chested local prostitutes Clara Belle (Lorna Maitland) and her mute sister Eula (Rena Horten). But Hannah falls in love with the good-natured Calif, and the dying Lute says he will leave his share of the farm to him because he detests Sidney and knows Calif loves his niece and will be good to her. Hateful fire-and-brimstone preacher Brother Hanson (Frank Bolger) is used by Sidney to rile up the hateful locals to lynch Calif for sinning with Hannah. But Sidney’s plan backfires. In a rage he burns his farm and attempts to frame Calif, and then he rapes and murders the preacher’s wife (Lee Ballard). But this also backfires, as a lynch mob is formed to take care of Sidney.
REVIEWED ON 10/30/2006 GRADE: C