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DVD Review: What Do You Say to a Naked Lady? (1970)

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What with there being security cameras everywhere these days and entire websites devoted to watching people undress in shower rooms, the humorous factor of being caught by a hidden camera has become somewhat nonexistent. As such, the phenomenon of Allen Funt’s once-revered Candid Camera has become nothing more than a faded memory for many individuals. But performing simple TV-friendly gags on unsuspecting patrons weren’t the only pranks the late Mr. Funt amused audiences with: in the late ‘60s, when the world was dealing with a variety of tensions, Allen started working on something that would eventually be known as What Do You Say to a Naked Lady? — wherein he filmed the general public’s reaction to nudity or sexually-oriented situations.

Don’t let the movie’s original MPAA rating discourage you, though. What Do You Say to a Naked Lady? isn’t a pornographic feature — it just features a bit of nudity (from both sexes). A nude woman walks out of an elevator, a woman in her bra and panties strolls down the street, Funt leaves women sitting in front of a naked male model for an extended period of time, etc. Allen Funt also has a candid interview with a prostitute, asks adults and children what they know about sex, arranges for an interracial couple to make out in public in a business and then asks them how they felt about it. While their reactions may be culturally unacceptable in today’s world (well, except for some parts of the South, of course), it’s interesting to note that the man is none other than an as-yet undiscovered Richard (Shaft) Roundtree!

All fairly copious moments of nudity aside, and despite the fair share of ridicule it has received over the years, What Do You Say to a Naked Lady? ultimately emerges as being little more than an interesting time capsule entry about the ‘60s and the sexual and cultural enlightening America still needed to go through at the time (though we’re not quite out of the woods yet). In an almost ironic turn, the movie was actually released in February of 1970 — something that probably didn’t help any — by which time the movie’s soundtrack of Steve Karman’s original, witty (and often downright annoying) folk ballads were also just about obsolete. Widely unavailable for years on home video, MGM issues a presumably uncut version of this naked look at humanity as part of their Limited Edition Collection of Manufactured-on-Demand titles.

The DVD-R presents the movie in its original widescreen aspect ratio (enhanced for widescreen TVs) and the presentation is quite decent considering the film was mostly shot with hidden cameras. The only special feature available (which is not a common thing with these MOD DVD-Rs, so don’t go complainin’) is the original theatrical trailer.

Best recommended for curiosity seekers.

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About Luigi Bastardo

Luigi Bastardo is the disgruntled alter-ego of a thirtysomething lad from Northern California who has watched so many weird movies since the tender age of 3 that a conventional life is out of the question. He currently lives in Chico, CA with four cats named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Margaret. Seriously.