Russ Meyer, R.I.P.


It is with a heavy breast that I must announce that the King of the Nudies has gone to his reward. This appreciation by sometime collaborator Roger Ebert is probably the fullest recognition of Meyer's genius you're likely to read. Although I don't really want to recommend any single picture (I like all of them: Even the relatively stiff, dour, and actory Finders Keepers, Lovers Weepers has the familiar cutaways to car crashes), Beyond the Valley of the Dolls is the most celebrated and probably best place to start. Still, the other great Ebert script, Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens, is even better in my opinion, featuring an industrial-films style narrator, a weird dialogue combination of English major poetry and pseudo-Marxist rhetoric, the great Kitten Natividad as Lola Langusta ("hotter than a Mexican's lunch!"), and the inevitable appearance by Martin Bormann.

But you pretty much can't go wrong with a Meyer picture. Through more than 20 movies, he managed to be exploitative, hilarious, and over the top, without ever being campy. Beyond the excellent production values and the 100-percent-natural tits, I think it's no exaggeration to say movies like this could never be made again. Meyer's been in retirement for a long time, but it's still sad to see this great period of movie history come to an end.