The Wild and Wicked (1956) (NTSC)

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Due Out for Sale 22-Oct-2010

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Cult Short Film
Rating Rated E
Year Of Production 1956
Running Time 57:58 (Case: 60)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By W. Merle Connell
Studio
Distributor
Gryphon Entertainment Starring Joy Reynolds
Geri Moffatt
Marko Perri
Norman Wright
Case Amaray-Opaque-Dual
RPI $19.95 Music Will Price


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 mono (1536Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     Education or exploitation? Under the guise of educating the public about the perils of sexual promiscuity, such as sexually transmitted diseases, unmarried mothers, prostitution and homosexuality, filmmakers from the 30s to the 50s sought to get away with raising otherwise forbidden topics in a titillating way, “sexploitation”, as long as there was a message and moral at the end. Gryphon have released a 6 film, 3 DVD collection entitled Horny – Sexplotation Films from the 30’s to the 50’s, which is a fascinating look at how sexual issues were portrayed in films during those three decades.

     In The Wild and Wicked (aka Flesh Merchant) Nancy (Joy Reynolds) is a country girl fresh off the bus in Hollywood, looking for fun and the bright lights. She visits her sister Paula (Lisa Rack) and admires Paula’s apartment and mink but Paula warns Nancy about the perils of the city and wants to put her back onto a bus to return home. But Nancy wants none of it; she takes a card she finds in Paula’s apartment and goes to an “art” school under the control of Bernie Sokol (Norman Wright) where she agrees to pose nude. As a result, Nancy is offered a job at “The Colony”, an exclusive gentleman’s club run by the aggressive Vito Perini (Marko Perri) where Nancy is roomed with Easy (Geri Moffatt), an older woman loosing her looks. At first Nancy is naive, slapping the face of her first customer when he wants her to pose nude in the woods for him, but she soon gets into the swing of things, enjoying the gifts, the alcohol and the attention. When Easy disappears another girl is brought to the club: it is Paula, who has been in Sokol’s employ all along. She is aghast at finding Nancy already there enjoying the wicked life and matters quickly come to a head.

     The Wild and Wicked is directed by M. Merle Connell, whose credits included Test Tube Babies (1948 - also in this box set), Untamed Women (1952) and Not Tonight Henry (1960), one of the earliest colour near nudie films. Despite its limitations, The Wild and Wicked is interesting enough as a piece of 1950’s risqué filmmaking. It has only a couple of flimsy sets, Joy Reynolds is limited but pretty and pert, and the film features copious swimsuit clad women, a flash of female nudity, a strip scene on a chair (that shows nothing), a car chase, a shoot out with Police and a moral, all in just under 60 minutes! It does also include some grating Italian caricatures and the moral is not subtle. Despite Nancy enjoying the wild and wicked life, in the character of the fading Easy, and Paula’s disillusionment with her sordid life, the message is pretty clear: Paula laments that she has “no laughter, no living, no life” and longs for a life back home with a husband and kids. In the climax Paula roundly condemns both the “gentlemen” and the other girls at the club before the fade to black as the Police arrive to shut down The Colony.

     The Wild and Wicked is an interesting piece of 1950’s risqué film in the guise of a warning about the evils of prostitution. In featuring flimsy sets, swimsuit clad women, a flash of female nudity, and a strip scene on a chair, the film plays with what it is possible to show and tell in the 1950’s, and of course in the end the pimps are caught and the moral delivered. Still, this one definitely falls under the heading of sexploitation and one wonders if Nancy, having been shown having such a good time, will settle back down into domesticity and give up her wicked ways!

     The Wild and Wicked is included in the 6 film, 3 DVD collection Horny – Sexplotation Films from the 30’s to the 50’s, a box set from Gryphon. The films are: Sex Madness (1938) and The Wild and Wicked (1956) on disc 1 with the additional short film Boys Beware (1961), Damaged Lives (1933) and Gambling with Souls (1936) plus the short film How Much Affection (1957) on disc 2 and Test Tube Babies (1948) and Child Bride (1938) with the short film What Makes a Good Party (1950) on disc 3.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The Wild & Wicked is presented in a ratio of 1.33:1, and is not 16x9 enhanced. The original ratio was 1.37:1 and certainly at times the cropping is obvious.

     There are numerous scratches throughout the print, and both positive and negative artefacts, aliasing on blind slats and reel change markers. This is a very soft print, with detail very much lacking so that at times people are quite indistinct; all those girls in swimsuits can hardly be hazier! Blacks are really various shades of gray and shadow detail indifferent; contrast and brightness varied quite considerably and at times the film took on different hues. There are also a lot of examples of macro blocking, and a couple of missing frames.

     The layer change occurred at 47:25, resulting in a slight pause.

     There are no subtitles.

     The summary? This is a 50 year old unrestored print, and it looks it with contrast and clarity the greatest drawback. However, it is by no means unwatchable although it is hardly better than films in this box set that are 20 years older. Note that the scores given have been adjusted, as it is not valid to compare this print with those of modern films.

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

Audio

     Audio is an English Linear PCM track at 1536 Kbps. It comes with a hiss, especially noticeable in places without music, a few crackles and the occasional drop out and pop. Dialogue is mostly OK, effects are predictably flat, dull and tinny. There is no surround or sub woofer use.

     The score is by Will Price. It is not overdone but sometimes come over quite sharply.

     I did not notice any lip synchronization issues.

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

Extras

     There are no extras as such, but on the same disc as Sex Madness and The Wild and Wicked is the short film (10:11) Boys Beware (1961). This is an educational film produced with the co-operation of the Inglewood Police Department and Inglewood School District warning boys about the dangers of “sick” homosexuals. It uses a number of case studies to illustrate the predatory behaviour of these “mentally ill” men who prey on unaware boys. Black and white, which does turn slightly yellow at 3:14, with some small artefacts. Sound tinny, but hiss free.

R4 vs R1

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

     I cannot find a record on sales sites of The Wild and Wicked being available. I have read a report of a US Region 1 release where the distributor “augmented” the film by nudie inserts, hardly a recommendation. Our release seems to be the film as originally presented.

     I cannot find any equivalent of the Horny box set package in any other region.

Summary

     The Wild and Wicked features flimsy sets, swimsuit clad women, a flash of female nudity, a strip scene on a chair, a car chase, a shoot out with Police and a moral, all in less then 60 minutes. This one definitely falls under sexploitation!

     The video and audio are as one would expect from a 50 year old unrestored black and white, non-mainstream film.

     The Wild & Wicked is included in the 6 film, 3 DVD collection Horny, a box set of sexploitation tales from the 1930s to 1950s from Gryphon for a RRP of $19.95. The films taken together are a fascinating window on how sexual topics were portrayed in films during those three decades.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, November 28, 2011
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42inch Hi-Def LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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