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Friday, 27 July 2012

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About... - Spotlight on... Trailblazers



***Note, some readers may find the content of this blog offensive**


"You hear these strange stories, you know, like there's a pill these women take, or sometimes guys will slam their head against a wall of hard rubber." - Woody Allen (as Sperm in 'Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask)')


'Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask)' is a 1972 comedy directed by Woody Allen. Based on the book of the same name by Dr. David Reuben, the film is an anthology of short episodes featuring cameo appearances by some of the biggest stars of the day including Tony Randall, Lynn Redgrave, Louise Lasser, Burt Reynolds and of course, Woody Allen (who appears in no less than 4 different roles). 


I have structured my blog into short episodes to mirror the structure of the film:

Main titles - 'Let's misbehave'

Woody Allen is a big fan of jazz, so it's no surprise he chose to open this film with a recording of Cole Porter's 'Let's Misbehave'.  I find Allen's interpretation of the song rather amusing, as we see thousands of breeding rabbits.


Watch the opening sequence - 'Let's Misbehave'




Woody Allen as The Fool in
'Do aphrodisiacs work?'
#1 - Do aphrodisiacs work?
Woody Allen plays The Fool to the King. The Fool finds out if aphrodisiacs work after he gives the Queen (played by Lynn Redgrave) a love potion. One problem... the Queen is wearing a chastity belt, complete with a padlock. While trying to remove the Queen's chastity belt, the Fool gets his hand caught, with fatal consequences.










#2 - What is sodomy?
Gene Wilder as Dr. Ross
The most disturbing (and possibly most unforgettable) of the seven episodes.  Dr. Ross (played by Gene Wilder) falls in love with one of his patients, Daisy... only thing is Daisy happens to be a sheep.


Dr. Ross wines and dines Daisy behind his wife's back at a fancy hotel, ordering "a chilled white burgandy, some cavier and some plain green grass" from room service. His fetish for sheep-loving eventually destroys his medical career, his marriage and every other aspect of his life. 


Here is a memorable clip from the 'What is sodomy?' segment




#3 - Why do some women have trouble reaching an orgasm?

Woody Allen & Louise Lasser as Fabrizio & Gina
A homage to the perversions of Italian cinema, this segment is spoken entirely in Italian (with English subtitles). Fabrizio (played by Woody Allen) is having trouble pleasing his wife Gina (played by Louise Lasser). After some experimentation he discovers Gina is only able to reach an orgasm in public. 


This segment drags on a little, but does have some very funny moments. 


#4 - Are transvestites homosexuals?

Sam Musgrave (played by Lou Jacobi) is a middle aged man who visits his daughter's fiancees parents. While visiting Sam feels the need to experiments with women's clothes. This is one of the funniest sketches in the film.


#5 - What are sex perverts?

Game show spoof of 'What's my Line?', called 'What's my Perversion?'. Filmed in black and white, four contestants must accurately guess the perversion of the panelist, in this instance, "likes to expose himself on subways". There is even a mock TV commercial for a hair product.
This is the most offensive of each of the chapters, ending with an image of a rabbi eating pork.


#6 - Are the findings of doctors and clinics who do sexual research and experiments accurate?

Sex researcher Victor (played by Allan) and reporter Helen (played by Heather MacRae) visit the evil and psychotic Dr. Bernardo (played by John Carradine), who is conducting sexual experiments on abducted humans. One of his experiments goes horribly wrong, generating a "gigantic tit", which terrorises the local town, crushing the innocent and spitting milk. This spoof of the scifi b-movies of the 1950s in my opinion is the slowest and least enjoyable segment within the film.


#7 - What happens during ejaculation?

Woody Allen as Sperm
Amusing segment positioning a man's brain as a NASA-like mission control centre operated by Tony Randall and Burt Reynolds. Woody Allen makes his fourth appearance in the film as a nervous and scared Sperm. 


A memorable and rather appropriate conclusion to the film.


Deleted segment - What makes a man a homosexual?

A photograph from the deleted sequence -
The Black Widow (Lasser) prepares to eat
the Common Spider (Allen)
An eighth segment filmed but cut from the film was called "What Makes a Man a Homosexual?" and featured Woody Allen as a common spider, with Louise Lasser playing a black widow. After making love, the black widow ate the common spider. The segment was not included in the final film as Allen was unable to write an appropriate ending. 





Controversy

Very funny and highly inappropriate, 'Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex...' was a very controversial film at the time of it's release. Although not visually graphic or explicit, the clever innuendo and provocative subject matter caused a stir.


Closing remarks

This film welcomed the world to the perverted yet intelligent mind of Woody Allen. After watching this film, it would come as no surprise to anyone when Allen later married his stepdaughter. Although not Allen's best film, 'Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex...' makes for an entertaining and amusing spectator experience.

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