Anybody who’s a fan of cult movies knows that it can sometimes take years for a certain title to hit DVD. When it comes to a midnight favorite being released to Blu-ray, however, the wait can take even longer: there’s a delicate process of restoration and remastering to go through — something your average Joe usually doesn’t invest their time, effort or money on without the generous monetary backing of a major studio keen to cash in on the longtime success of said film.
Of course, when that Joe is actually a feller named Bruce, it’s a different situation entirely. In 2002, Bruce Kimmel’s ‘70s cult hit The First Nudie Musical found its way to DVD in a bonus-laden special edition, but the source materials used weren’t in the best of shape. Sometime later, Bruce discovered the film’s original internegative. Seeking to re-release his brainchild in High-Definition, Kimmel took an intelligent approach to manufacturing a Blu-ray and relied on his own fans to fund the transfer (something a lot of other filmmakers should take a cue from), releasing this Blu-ray under his own Kritzerland label.
An uproarious send-up of goofy nudie films from the ‘60s and classic musicals of the ‘30s, The First Nudie Musical tells the peculiar plight of a struggling movie producer, Harry Schechter (Stephan Nathan), whose film studio has been reduced to making porn flicks. A moment of inspiration — inadvertently caused by his wisecracking secretary Rosie(Cindy Williams) — prompts Harry to concoct the world’s first pornographic musical: something that could feasibly lead to him (ahem) pulling out of the smut picture racket for good.
The catch here (there’s always one, right?) is that his reluctant, greedy backers have only given him a short window of opportunity to realize the project — and on the condition that they will take over the studio should the film not be completed before then. To make matters worse, one of the backers (Hy Pyke — who, thankfully, does not get naked here like he did in Dolemite) appoints his naïve and virginal nephew, John Smithee (Kimmel), to direct the piece. Those sleazy backers.
And so, the race is on: Harry and Rosie try to rush a musical together with a perverted composer making up the tunes as he goes along — with John’s utter innocence over life in general stopping them dead in their tracks every step of the way. Diana Canova (Soap) plays a heavily-accented Cuban cutie, Alexandra Morgan inhabits the role of the diva here, Leslie Ackerman is the ingenuous ingénue who agrees to get nekkid providing she doesn’t have to take her clothes off (with Annette O’Toole providing her singing voice), and the great Alan Abelew is oh-so-memorable as “George. George Brenner.” Ron Howard makes a cameo as a confused young actor (a choice piece of casting that has haunted him ever since) and Frank Doubleday (from John Carpenter's Escape from New York and Assault on Precinct 13) also pops up in a few scenes.