“With most grievous dispatch, I shall open the latch to get at her snatch!”
Seven humorous vignettes poke fun at a famous sexology book.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Episodic Films
- Gene Wilder Films
- John Carradine Films
- Lynn Redgrave Films
- Tony Randall Films
- Woody Allen Films
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary notes that critics at the time were divided in their response to this early Woody Allen film, which “severely tested audience’s embarrassment level much as Lenny Bruce did years before”. These days, of course, we’re so inured to discussing anything and everything related to sex that the vignettes will hardly get a rise out of most audience members — with the possible exception of “What is Sodomy?”, in which a doctor (marvelously played by Gene Wilder) falls in love with an Armenian sheep named Daisy. I think this may be the most thorough (albeit satirical) treatment that zoophilia has ever received on the big screen.
As with every episodic film, some segments are more amusing than others — for instance, “Are Transvestites Homosexuals?”, in which a middle-aged man (Lou Jacobi) dresses up in women’s clothing, falls completely flat. But the rest have at least a few moments of hilarity, with Allen managing to satirize multiple genres — including television game shows (“What’s My Perversion?”), space exploration (“What Happens During Ejaculation?”), sci-fi/monster flicks (“Are the Findings of Doctors and Clinics Who Do Sexual Research Accurate?”), medieval historical dramas (“Do Aphrodisiacs Work?”), and Italian cinema (“Do Some Women Have Trouble Reaching Orgasm?”) — within the space of just 87 minutes. Although he’s made some real clunkers in the past few years, Allen’s early comedic genius is indisputable.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- The truly hilarious final vignette, in which a group of white-clad sperm (the ever-neurotic Allen among them) get ready for blast-off
- Gene Wilder as the sheep-loving doctor
- Lynn Redgrave adding “-st” to the end of nearly every word she says
- Woody Allen as a too-cool Italian lover in spiffy shades
- “What’s My Perversion?” game show spoof
- An enormous milk-spouting breast roaming the country and wreaking havoc
Yes. Although not all segments are equally funny, this is an unusual entry in Allen’s oeuvre, and well worth checking out.