Editor’s Notes: For Men Only / School for Sex, The Films of Maurice Pialat, & Carol + 2: The Original Queens of Comedy will be released on their respective formats May 17th.
For Men Only / School for Sex
For Men Only / School for Sex (Kino Lorber) is a double feature of exploitation films by director Pete Walker (Frightmare, Schizo, The Flesh and Blood Show), a pioneer of the British sexploitation genre. The mid-1960s saw the easing of censorship codes, and Walker was quick to realize that there would be a market for a new, more sensually graphic kind of film. He began producing 8-millimeter stag films, fairly tame by today’s standards, and eventually decided to try his hand at theatrical features.
For Men Only (1967) takes place at the Puritan Magazine Group, a family-friendly publishing company that surreptitiously publishes “men’s magazines. School for Sex (1969) is about a wealthy playboy who opens a finishing school for devious young women. In addition to the standard United Kingdom version, this release contains a sampling of more explicit nude scenes intended for more sexually liberated markets.
Rather than lascivious, these movies seem almost quaint as they gingerly test the waters of public taste. These days, both pictures would receive an R rating at most. Across the Atlantic, Hollywood’s Production Code was breaking down and studios were beginning to deal with more adult themes. Both films are interesting footnotes in the gradual liberation of the silver screen from censorship.
Bonus extras on the Blu-ray release include Glamour Loops, 64 minutes of rare black-and-white nudie films made by Pete Walker; “Get Cheeky With Peter Walker,” an interview documentary by Elijah Drenner; and a School for Sex trailer.
The Films of Maurice Pialat
The Films of Maurice Pialat (Cohen Media) is a collection of three feature films by the French director, screenwriter and actor, who was known for an unsentimental approach to his films.
The Mouth Agape (1974) is about the effect of serious illness on a family. Monique (Monique Melinand), dying of cancer, lies in bed in the apartment above the family-owned store while her philandering husband, Roger (Hubert Deschamps), carries on with life, pawing the female customers. Her son, Philippe (Philippe Leotard), remains aloof and impatient. Daughter-in-law Nathalie (Nathalie Baye) wonders if she is witnessing her own future decline. All four struggle to express or even feel their love for each other as they await the inevitable.
Graduate First (1978) takes place in northern France as teenagers sitting for the baccalaureate exam await the fateful day with a combination of anxiety and indifference. The past year has been the scene of their conflicts with adults and teachers who consider the exam as the pathway to employment. The disillusioned teenagers, however, see it more as a step into the world of unemployment.
Loulou (1980) stars Gerard Depardieu as the title character and Isabelle Huppert as Nelly, a married bourgeois woman who is attracted to his brash, innocent charm and considerable sexual prowess. Nelly leaves dependable but dull husband Andre (Guy Marchand) and moves in with unemployed ex-con Loulou. She soon becomes pregnant, but Loulou doesn’t alter his carefree lifestyle of carousing with his buddies and pulling off small-time robberies. Disturbed by his attitude, Nelly debates whether to keep the baby.
The movies have in common a naturalistic feel. The characters are down-to-earth and register as real people making their way through life as best they can, even when apparently insurmountable obstacles block their path. Pialat is exceptional at drawing us into his characters’ intrigues and showing how average people deal with the curves life tosses them.
Bonus extras on the 3-disc Blu-ray release include actor interviews, deleted scenes, and trailers. All films are in French, with English and French subtitles.
Carol + 2: The Original Queens of Comedy
Carol + 2: The Original Queens of Comedy (Time Life) features the TV special Carol + 2, which aired on March 22, 1966. CBS promised Carol Burnett her own special if she could deliver a major star. She asked Lucille Ball, who was one of her greatest influences, and Lucy agreed.
The resulting hour-long special also featured Zero Mostel, and contained bits that would foreshadow elements of The Carol Burnett Show, which premiered the following fall: Carol’s familiar earlobe tug, comic sketches, special musical numbers, and a slam-bang finale. Highlights include Carol and Zero in a wedding anniversary sketch of considerable marital angst, Carol and Lucy cavorting in a variation of Carol’s Charwoman character, and Carol and Lucy performing the rousing “Chutzpah.” This was the second TV appearance of the Charwoman, which became a staple of the series and was used in the show’s animated opening credits.
Also on this DVD release is the 1972 color TV movie of Once Upon a Mattress, starring Carol as Princess Winifred, with Ken Berry, Jane White, Bernadette Peters, and Jack Gilford. In addition, Carol discusses the origins of the Charwoman and introduces the very first appearance of this character in the television special Carol and Company, originally aired on February 24, 1963.