Vixen! (1968)

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Released 14-Mar-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Russ Meyer (Director)
Interviews-Cast-Erica Gavin
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, 2046,Show Me Love, Live Flesh
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1968
Running Time 70:45
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (47:28) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Russ Meyer
Studio
Distributor
Eve Productions Inc
Madman Entertainment
Starring Erica Gavin
Garth Pillsbury
Harrison Page
Jon Evans
Vincene Wallace
Robert Aiken
Michael Donovan O'Donnell
Peter Carpenter
John Furlong
Jackie Illman
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Igo Kantor


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Vixen! was Russ Meyer's first colour film and is reputed to be the one that gained him attention from the major studios, leading to his most successful effort Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls. Highly controversial in content and sexually charged beyond redemption, this is Meyer's depraved filmmaking at its best.

    Don't let the opening scenes of lush Canadian forest and crystal clear waters fool you - this is no nature documentary. Vixen Palmer (that's Mrs. Palmer to you) and her pilot husband make a living as a charter service and also let out their cottage to passing tourists. Vixen (Erica Gavin) is the kind of flirtatious free spirit that does not discriminate in the bedroom, however her outward personality is something else. Insanely racist and armed with a boisterous vocabulary that would put Mark 'Chopper' Reid to shame, this is one woman that you don't want to be on the wrong side of, as is discovered by Niles (Harrison Page), an African American who has fled to Canada to avoid conscription for the Vietnam war.

    Despite jumping into the sack with anyone who crosses her path, Vixen is strangely devoted to her husband Tom (Garth Pillsbury), a naive dolt with the emotional dexterity of a grapefruit. This all changes when Niles uncovers an Irish Communist's plot to hijack her husband's plane, and Vixen is forced to question her prejudices.

    If there's one thing that can be said for Vixen!, it goes for the jugular in terms of taboo exposure. It's all here in spades: incest, racism, nudity, violence, Communism, promiscuity, lesbianism, interracial rape and the film even manages to find the time to lampoon Irish stereotypes. Bless my lucky charms! Every viewer is guaranteed to find something of offence in this hilarious jaunt's relentless buffoonery.

    This is probably the kind of film that does not necessarily require dissection by a critical eye, but I did it anyway, probably out of habit. The film's first hour is literally a handful of sex scenes, strung together by a very thin thread of character interaction and confrontation. The tense finale isn't particularly well acted, but by then most viewers would have realised the kind of film they are watching and will have hopefully calibrated their expectations accordingly. If you fail to accept the film for what it is, you'll be in for a big disappointment.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    There's little doubt in my mind that this video transfer is an NTSC conversion, judging by its corrupt frames and limited resolution. The film was shot in 35mm and the DVD image is presented at 1.33:1 full frame (open matte). Some sources suggest this film was screened theatrically at 1.85:1.

    The level of sharpness is consistent with an NTSC source and exhibits many jagged edges. Brightness has been boosted, which has in turn washed out the colour depth. There was no low level noise evident in the transfer.

    The surprisingly healthy constant bitrate of 8.6Mb/s means there is no MPEG compression artefacting to speak of, however some noticeable film artefacts do exist. I noticed many scratches and damaged frames, combined with a few instances of telecine wobble. Reel change markings are also present.

    There are no subtitle streams provided.

    This disc is dual layered (DVD9 formatted), with the layer break placed during the feature at 47:28.The transition is placed between scenes and doesn't appear to be overly obtrusive.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are two soundtracks accompanying this film on DVD, one of which is a valuable commentary by Director Russ Meyer. The default soundtrack is the film's original English language, presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono.

    The dialogue is reasonably clear and distinct throughout. I didn't notice any issues relating to ADR or audio sync at all. The dominant issue concerning this soundtrack is audio dropouts, most of which are concentrated around the reel changes. A serious dropout occurs at 6:41 and makes a considerable disruption to the background score.

    The film's score is contributed by Meyer regular Igo Kantor and matches the feel of most of his films from this period. The music is cheeky - even corny at times - but has a versatility that I admire.

    There is no subwoofer or surround activity to report.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The main menu is animated with a little background psychedelia. None of the menu pages are 16x9 enhanced.

Audio Commentary- Russ Meyer (Director)

    The late, great man himself recorded this commentary for the film's laserdisc release, I believe. He discusses everything, from amusing anecdotes relating to his work as a director to his relationships with certain actors. Russ speaks revealingly and very matter-of-factly and is often hilarious, which makes the commentary literally fly by. Topics touched upon include Production Assistant George Costello's relationship with star Erica Gavin, the decisions he made that shaped his career and the vast amounts of money he was forced to outlay in order to defend himself legally. There are also some very personal moments in which he discusses his service in World War II, the death of his wife Eve Meyer and his collaboration with renowned critic Roger Ebert, with whom he co-wrote Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.

Featurette- Woman Or Animal?: An Interview With Erica Gavin (19:27)

    In this featurette Erica Gavin reveals how she came to be introduced to Russ Meyer, as does actor Harrison Page. The infamous Trout scene is explored, as well as many other amusing anecdotes relating to the film. Gavin also manages to squeeze in a plug for her website; www.ericagavin.net. This featurette is 16x9 enhanced.

Theatrical Trailer (1:26)

    This your average, overly exploitative trailer showing highlights from the film. The voiceover is hilarious.

Trailers

    An assortment of additional trailers from Madman's Director's Suite series, strangely preceded by anti-piracy propaganda. Trailers include Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (2:50), 2046 (2:48), Show Me Love (1:21) and Almodovar's Live Flesh (1:40).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 release from RM Films only includes a gallery, biographies and filmographies. The featurette is not included, nor is the commentary.

    The Region 2 disc appears to have an additional photo gallery and a swag of Russ Meyer trailers. The local product will probably suffice for fans, however the Region 1 transfer is likely to be superior.

Summary

    Russ Meyer's Vixen! pulls out all the stops and is pretty entertaining. See it and decide for yourself.

    The video and audio transfers are marred by some film damage and the conversion from NTSC video to PAL.

    The extras are worthwhile.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Rob Giles (readen de bio, bork, bork, bork.)
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3910, using DVI output
DisplaySanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector, Screen Technics Cinemasnap 96" (16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete
SpeakersOrpheus Aurora lll Mains (bi-wired), Rears, Centre Rear. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Centre. Mirage 10 inch sub.

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