Wednesday 9 September 2020

On Blu-ray - David Hare explores the seamy side of the movie business - SHE SHOULDA SAID NO (Sam Newfield, USA, 1949) and THE DEVIL'S SLEEP (W. Merle Connell, USA, 1949)

Budding vedette Lila Leeds (above) is induced to take a reefer in the 1949 Exploitation classic She Shoulda Said No (AKA Wild Weed, and numerous other titles, as was always the case with these classics.) 

The movie is a kind of mea culpa after Ms Leeds endured her memorable dope bust by the LAPD armed with reporters from "Confidential" magazine who were there to photograph her with Bob Mitchum getting nicked at a real life Hollywood "tea" party.

Director Sam Newfield was a master at these kinds of things although the movie shows very obvious signs of major re-editing at the top and tail, where post-synched music is swung into Foley, overriding the dialogue, after Ms Leeds has only narrated the first sentence of her supposedly undercover "confessional” for the noble fuzz of that year of Our Lord 1949.

Kino Lorber has double billed this on a spanking new Blu-ray with a George Weiss production from the same year, The Devil's Sleep, an expose of the speed pill-amphetamine "racket", this time starring a Ms Lita Grey, one of the very first teenage wives of a certain Charles Chaplin. 

Weiss and his studio went on to manage one of the great stables of exploitation and kink material thru the fifties, right up to the Towering king of the genre, Ed Wood. Weiss' skills as a hands-on producer extend to his practice of incorporating "insert material" for differing degrees of local US State censorship boards to add spice to the pudding, sourced from god knows where and what borderline 16mm sources, like nudie-cutie female bondage material, (for the "dream Sequence" in Glen or Glenda), and so much more. Cinema would be all the poorer for humanity without the glories of exploitation pictures.

Meanwhile I keep trying to get a serious review written for the superb new Criterion disc of JeaRenoir's  Toni but these sleazy Z pics keep dragging me back to the gutter. I must be fully hooked, man!


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