Herschell Gordon Lewis
Review by Matt Bailey
Posted on 11 July 2004
Source Something Weird Video DVD
Goldilocks and the Three Bares has absolutely nothing to do with the fairy tale, but it is the first nudie musical, despite whatever the abominable 1975 film titled The First Nudie Musical had to say. Goldilocks (filmed in “Buffocolor” and “Seemorescope”) was made a full twelve years earlier, when making a nudie musical could get you thrown in jail. Judging this film solely on the basis of its songs, everyone involved in its making (including the inestimable exploitation film producer David F. Friedman and gore pioneer director Herschell Gordon Lewis) probably should have been thrown in jail. Fortunately for the viewer, the songs are not the main attraction.
The film tells the story (inasmuch as a nudist camp movie can tell a story) of a hack comedian (Blood Feast’s Bill Kerwin) and his third-rate singer friend who suspect that something is fishy when the comedian’s girlfriend disappears every weekend. The comic tracks her down to a nudist camp and… oh, who cares? It’s a nudist camp movie; you’re not watching it for the story. Suffice it to say there are a few ample bosoms and a wealth of ample backsides on display as well as a jaw-dropping ten-minute scene of nudists on horseback.
Back in the day, the nudist camp movie was the more accepted form of naked-girl movie, the kind that could be advertised in a newspaper. The nudie cutie film (think Russ Meyer’s The Immoral Mr. Teas), on the other hand, was considered, as the French say, de trop. These days, the distinction is largely academic, and most people probably couldn’t tell you the difference between a nudie cutie and a nudist camp film. Even though most of the film takes place outside of any actual nudist camp, Goldilocks is probably one of the heights of the nudist camp film (which, I know, isn’t really saying much in the broad history of world film). It is fascinating, however, as a historical artifact distilling the sexual mores of 1962-1963 America. Not much can be said for Lewis’ directing in this film (see the seminal Two Thousand Maniacs to see what he can really do), but the bright candy colors and the naïve charm of the picture still have a lot to offer some forty years after the film was made. Very few of these kinds of films survive in any watchable form today, so it makes the pleasure of seeing it even greater. The nudist camp film (or, if you prefer, volleyball epic) was also very short-lived, replaced by the nudie cutie almost immediately after this film was made. When the nudie cutie genre got worn out, new life was injected into sexploitation with the invention of variations such as the roughie, the kinkie, and (my favorite) the ghoulie. Friedman and Lewis were innovators and masters of them all. While it lacks the sheer lunacy of other nudist camp films such as Doris Wishman’s Nude on the Moon and Barry Mahon’s The Beast That Killed Women, this film is a great opportunity to see where the golden age of the nudie movie began before it slipped on the banana peel of relaxed obscenity laws and all but fell to its death at the feet of hardcore pornography.