“I hope nobody’s watching me; I’m basically very shy.”
Jayne Mansfield narrates her travels through Rome, Paris, New York, and Hollywood, coyly marveling at the spectacles she sees.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Jayne Mansfield Films
The intended audience for this mondo documentary — featuring Jayne Mansfield gawking at and within all sorts of “naughty” spaces — is clearly either adult-film aficionados, and/or Mansfield fans; but all-purpose film fanatics may get a kick out of “Mansfield” (her voice-over was likely done by someone else) making hilariously self-aggrandizing comments such as the following: “I was in love with Rome, and Rome was in love with me… Once again, I was in my own brand of heaven. Admirers flocked around me.” I’m tempted to make the bulk of this review an overview of the humorous narration, which tickled me time and again (at least during the first half):
While strolling through the streets of Rome: “I didn’t mean to break up their game, but suddenly I was surrounded by 50,000 adoring, wonderful, handsome Italians. If I could have kissed each one, I would have — but I didn’t have time that day.”
While looking at nude statues of gladiators in Rome: “My statue became blood and flesh and muscle in my silly, wicked little daydream… Any one of them would be able to overpower me. I wondered if I would ever meet anybody who could be a tenth of a man those Roman gladiators were: they lived hard, died hard, and — from what I’ve heard — they loved hard.”
At a nudist colony: “I walked over to a lonely pile of rocks. ‘Jaynie,’ I said to myself, ‘It’s your turn!'”
The most uncomfortable moments are when Mansfield visits transvestite clubs and is so clearly unnerved by the “boy-girls” she sees; young film fanatics raised in a more pro-trans social environment may be shocked by the candid expressions used here. Also terribly upsetting, of course, are the abrupt final scenes showing photos of Mansfield’s death by car accident, and a tour of her house with her widowed husband and two young sons — talk about exploitative! However, Mansfield was nothing if not eager to show herself off to the world, so perhaps this was the most fitting exit for a 33-year-old buxomy “dumb” blonde (who received a college degree and had a high IQ).
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- An unexpectedly humorous travelogue through “Jayne Mansfield’s” mind
Yes, simply for its camp value, and as a historical document of Mansfield’s travails before her untimely death. Listed as a Cult Movie in the back of Peary’s book.