But enough about the technical stuff, now on to my movie review!
For anyone who has even heard of the name Jayne Mansfield, this film is a MUST-SEE event!
This is one film that defys description... but I'll try.
Jayne, who was dead at the time this film was released, is breathlessly portrayed by a sound-alike as she narrates this film, which is part travelogue, part soft-core pornography, and part gory-drama.
The high point of the film is near the end, where we see a simulated car crash scene, depicting where Jayne loses her head in a horribly gory "smashup" on a highway. The narrator of this segment quickly states "Jayne was nearly decapitated". Autopsy records clearly show that Jayne was actually only "scalped", but if you know anything at all about the publicity-hungry Jayne Mansfield, you know that she'd prefer the full-on gore of decapitation to be the official version of her untimely death at age 33.
Following the simulated death scene, we're taken on a bizarrely interesting tour of Jayne's famous Pink Palace on Sunset Boulevard, which sadly was leveled by realty developers in 2002. The house is amazing, particulary the bedroom scene in which Jayne's gold lame` pumps are laid out at the foot of the bed, as the narrator states "Jayne's shoes... who can fill these shoes?" Well every drag queen in the room is sure to shout out "I CAN!!!"
Jayne was a fabulous-looking buxom blonde in the Marilyn Monroe mold, who sadly lasted in Hollywood for only about 15 minutes of real stardom. Once the public realized that Jayne was a bit "over-hyped" (to put it kindly), her career sank into the muck of the outer limits of sleazy show business.
By the time Jayne died on the highway, she had not much of a career left to salvage, and sadly the booze and pills had started to ravage her beautiful face and body. (The cellulite alone was devastating!)
I strongly recommend this film to anyone with a twisted sense of humor and a taste for the absurd, and for anyone who appreciates the phenomenon that was Jayne Mansfield.
Jayne lives on in her children, primarily in the spirit of her daughter Mariska Hargitay of TV fame ("Law & Order S.V.U.), who at age 3 was in the backseat of the car when Jayne lost her head.
This is a truly bizarre film, I hope you enjoy it as much as I have during repeated viewings through the years. If nothing else, the theme song will take on a life of it's own in your head and will haunt you for longer that you will want it to!
The one thing I will say of the film is that it is a deftly stitched patchwork of clips from Mansfield's life, narrated by a "voice-alike". It is mainly a film following Jayne on vacations around the world, and in asmuch it almost seems like it was shot all at once for the express purpose of making this film (and, nothing is ever said that it wasn't, nor does the narrator let on that she is someone else other than Jayne). The only unsettling aspect of the film is the ending, which is an unexpected and quick cut to her death in the car crash. Narration is taken over by a man at this point, and the tempo of the film, which had been titulating and vapid to this point, is now made much too heavy.
Ok, to the bonuses! Various trailers of long-forgotten films are included as on any SWV DVD, and the company does well in using ones that most directly relate to Mansfield movie (they must have 1,000s of trailers for them to match so nicely on each DVD). A second full-length, 90 minute film called "Labyrinth of Sex" is present, and is really not bad. It is mainly narrated by a doctor that goes on about why sexual deviances arise in individuals, and where they lead. This movie borders on exploitation, being over-the-top, as well as being grounded in truth. My guess is that the movie was pure propoganda at it's time of release and was meant to be looked at as pure truth, it now shows it's obviouscampy quality. Whatever the case, it is entertaining.
A small, pointless short film called "Parisian Rendezvous!" is on the DVD as well, but is so without merit I will pass on further comment.
Last item on the DVD in many ways COULD be the best thing on the disc, and argueably the best feature in the entire SMV catalogue: a reported first film of Marilyn Monroe called "The Apple-Knockers and the Coke". The roughly 7 minute film had been lifted from a negative and released on this appropriate "dumb blonde" DVD. SMV though states on the back of the cover that it MAY not be Monroe, but it certainly does appear to be her. The actress in question has wavy brown hair and a smile almost without a doubt making this Monroe. There is likely no way to verify this "home movie"'s date or if it even really is Marilyn, so even if it could be agreed to be her, it likely never could be stated in print. Ah, as forwhat she is doing....it is pretty much her in a bikini in a very small stage setting, the base of a fake tree. As we move through the film, the actress eats and apple and drinks a Coke, slowly undressing as she goes. Most of the time she is topless, but eventually she strips completely and shows her pubic hairs.
Almost any of the SMV DVDs is going to appeal to a very small following, but this is still one of their better DVDs and definitely one of their best for archival biographical information.
A Marilyn Fan