Reviews

Reviews

The Immoral Mr. Teas

The Immoral Mr. Teas

Russ Meyer

USA, 1959

Credits

Review by Rumsey Taylor

Posted on 03 August 2004

Source RM Films VHS

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Russ Meyer’s landmark nudie film, The Immoral Mr. Teas, platforms what would become one of the director’s persistent characterizations: a dumb, soft-spoken male, thoroughly oblivious to the come-ons of the many women he comes in contact with in the duration of the film. Meyer’s permanently dumbfounded males serve to frustrate the libidinous women around them. There is either no sexual release, or man cannot satisfy the wild woman, who, in turn, will typically achieve solace with another, similarly undernourished woman (this scenario does not debut until later in Meyer’s filmography). This character serves to ground an element of idiosyncratic sexual fantasy that typifies Meyer’s films — that the female is the more sexually interested of the sexes, and, as such, the more shallowly discriminatory and sexist.

Mr. Teas sports a goatee, double-chin, and straw braid hat (in other words, not the sort of man you would imagine soliciting interested glimpses from the opposite sex). He envisions women in compromising, visionary solutions each time he experiences temptation. These sequences are abstractions in what is a visually-straightforward film. Each time this occurs, Mr. Teas experiences guilt, and eventually visits a psychologist. Of course, the Dr. is an attractive female, and he cannot concentrate on her diagnosis because he is distracted by the vision of her without clothing.

The Immoral Mr. Teas is fascinating as a cultural artifact, a film that relays a culture’s sexual inhibition despite the fact that it was made to challenge that very trait. It is entertainment without any pretense, with visual strengths that would be more successfully employed in Meyer’s later films.

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