“I always wondered if you was any kind of a man at all.”
An ex-con (John Furlong) takes a job working for an aging farmer (Stu Lancaster) whose niece (Antoinette Cristiani) is married to a sadistic, alcoholic psychopath (Hal Hopper). As Furlong realizes he’s falling for Cristiani, he tries to distract himself by going to visit two local prostitutes (Rena Horton and Lorna Maitland) and their madam (Princess Livingston) — but Hopper’s rage and jealousy know no bounds, and when a local preacher (Frank Bolger) and his wife (Lee Ballard) treat Hopper like a “poor sinner”, he takes this designation and runs with it.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Deep South
- Russ Meyer Films
- Spousal Abuse
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that this “tawdry tale” may be director “Russ Meyer’s best film” — a dubious designation I can’t agree with, given that Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965) remains his most memorably oddball flick. Peary describes Mud Honey — what exactly does this (or the alternate title, Rope of Flesh) refer to? — as being “set in a small town in Missouri that’s full of stupid but shrewd, sweaty, hypocritical men and stupid, big-breasted women” (an unfair assessment, given that Cristiani is overly loyal rather than stupid), where “everyone is driven by lust, hatred and greed” (again, not entirely accurate — what about Cristiani and Lancaster?).
In his review, Peary reveals a major spoiler that doesn’t occur until the last 15 minutes of the film (unusual for him), thus making it hard for me to quote too much more of his assessment. However, I’ll cite and agree with his statement that this “sleazy fake morality play is surprisingly well made”, with “Meyer’s camera work… fairly creative”, the acting “satisfactory”, and the dialogue “flavorful”; we really are made to “believe that the characters live in this hellish version of Tobacco Road” — a place we’re oh-so-eager to say goodbye to once the dramatic, violent denouement comes to an end.
Note: Viewers will surely notice the distinctive presence of cackling “Princess Livingston” (what a name!), whose red-wigged, middle-aged dancing in Meyer’s Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970) stands out in a veritable sea of surreal, bombarding imagery.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Strong direction and cinematography
No — though naturally, Russ Meyer fans will want to check it out.