Fanny Hill w/ The Phantom Gunslinger

Director - Russ Meyer/Albert Zugsmith

Cast - Fanny Hill: Letícia Román, Miriam Hopkins, Ulli Lommel, Chris Howland, Helmut Weiss.

Phantom Gunslinger: Troy Donahue, Elizabeth Campbell, Emilio Fernández, Carlos Rivas, Germán Robles, Pedro Armendáriz Jr., Manuel Alvarado.

Country of Origin - U.S.

Discs - 3

Distributor - Vinegar Syndrome

Reviewer - Abraham Phillips

Date - 12/15/13

The Films

Fanny Hill: Cult filmmaker Russ Meyer takes on directorial duties in Zugsmith's adaptation of the notorious erotic classic Fanny Hill. Set in pre-Victorian London, young Fanny finds herself taken in by a madame at one of the city's most elite brothels.

 

Plot:

The Phantom Gunslinger: Troy Donahue stars as Phil P. Phillips, who is fresh out of divinity school and living in the frontier town of Yucca Flats. When a gang of seven criminals take the town hostage, it's up to Phil to save the village, or die trying, again and again...

 

My Review and Thoughts:

 

This beautiful crisp uncut and remastered Blu-ray/DVD comes with a classic drive-in Double bill movie feature. Not only do you get the one and only Fanny Hill but also the wild Western slapstick style The Phantom Gunslinger.

 

The studio Vinegar Syndrome has given the golden ticket treatment to these two wild and crazy wonderful 1960's films. This Blu-ray is a gifted double feature of laughs, slap stick comedy and wild over the top action and most of all, Russ Meyer's beauties of the era.

 

This is a three disc Blu-ray/DVD of wonderful top quality. I have seen Fanny Hill from an old VHS and a crappy cut DVD transfer. This transfer and sound and picture quality is what restoring forgotten cinema should be about. I had forgotten how fun and wild Fanny Hill was.

 

This is offered for the first time Uncut and remastered. It comes with Special Features such as an Interview with star Ulli Lomell and an interview with Film Historian Eric Schaefer. It also comes with Reversible Cover art.

 

This was my first time seeing The Phantom Gunslinger and what a crack up slapstick wonderful parody to the western genera. I swear I laughed hard it hurt because of the wild and wonderful cheesy beauty of this forgotten classic.

 

These two gems where produced by the one and only exploitation master  Albert Zugsmith who gave us countless classics like Touch of Evil and the wonderful The Incredible Shrinking Man, Sex Kittens go to College and many over the top wonders.

 

Albert Zugsmith teamed with the one and only Russ Meyer for Fanny Hill producing it. Albert produced and directed The Phantom Gunslinger.

 

Russ Meyer is in old-school classic genius when it comes to cult underground drive-in cinema. He is a master talent of his craft in the classic vintage sleaze department mixed with the extraordinarily campy beauty of a Grindhouse double-bill nature.

 

The more sleaze and erotic the more cult like beauty of his followers.

 

Fanny Hill is the one and only 1964 comedy directed by the cult cinema master himself Russ Meyer.

 

Now to start with this stars the one and only goddess Letícia Román that Italian film actress that gives the wonders of eye candy and the beauty to all her fans and stalkers and dirty old men.

 

This was her 10th acting spot and one of the most memorable performances. This 1964 cult masterpiece of comedy and erotic eye candy is something to remember and always hold close on the shelf for fans of cult status cinema.

 

She retired early from the business in 1968 and became a prominent real estate broker in Beverly Hills, California. She ultimately retired and moved back to Italy where she lives now but it will always be this film that she will be remembered for.

 

Fanny Hill is loosely based on the novel by the same name.

 

This is restored and basically gift wrapped in beauty for the movie buff and lover of slapstick erotic satire cinema mixed with Meyers big boobed beauties.

 

Poor broke naïve Fanny Hill is homeless, hungry and she spots a sign that says employment, girls wanted. Fanny lost both of her parents through disease and now poor uneducated Fanny adventures off in the world to find herself and to find a way to survive.

 

Fanny inquires about the job. What Fanny doesn't know is it's a brothel so ladies can entertain the gentlemen. She is taken in by Mrs. Maude Brown played by the wonderful and stunning Miriam Hopkins who is not a first time actress, for she is an old school golden era of Hollywood.

 

Brown uses her sly cunning talk to make Fanny think she's applying for a regular job. Brown swoons her by stating "oh you look like my beautiful dead daughter come back to life."

 

Quickly Fanny finds herself going to Mrs. Browns home. She introduces Fanny to her extended family. All beautiful scantily clad ladies.

 

This also stars Ulli Lommel as Charles. If that name sounds familiar, it should, for he is the writer, and director of tons of modern low-budget b-movie horror films like Zombie Nation (2004), Zodiac Killer (2005), B.T.K. Killer (2005), Green River Killer (2005), Killer Pickton (2005), The Raven (2006), Diary of a Cannibal (2006), Black Dahlia (2006), Curse of the Zodiac (2007), The Tomb (2007), Borderline Cult (2007),Nightstalker (2007), Baseline Killer (2008), Son of Sam (2008) and many many others. He also is a writer, director and actor of these and many others.

 

Interesting to note is Ulli directed a true disturbing horror classic that is a must see for any fan of amazing horror cinema and that's the 1973 The Tenderness of the Wolves which is based on the crimes of German serial killer and cannibal Fritz Haarmann.

 

Ulli did an amazing job in his performance. He was another golden character in this wild comical romp. There is a laugh out comical moment when Fanny and Charles are hiding in a haystack during a storm that was so clearly sexual in talk and comical action that it made me giggle and laugh out hysterical.

 

Fanny Hill is so naïve and should I say dumb, that she thinks Mrs. Brown is the kindest, safest and most respectable woman. What Mrs.

Brown is really trying to do is turn Fanny into a prostitute. Mrs. Brown knows this virgin girl will bring her much money. Mrs. Brown schemes and plots trying her hardest to sale Fanny but one scheme and plot after the other falls flat through comical means.

 

Russ Meyer directed a comical classic oddity that sadly if not for Vinegar Syndrome would be lost. Russ Meyer was a cult god of sleaze, erotic comedy and creator of truly bad ass cinema from Mudhoney (1965), Motorpsycho (1965), Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965), Mondo Topless (1966), Vixen! (1968), Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970), Black Snake (1973), Supervixens (1975) and so many more. Fanny Hill is one of those classic golden gems of this era of buxom beauties and shoe string budgets and horny men and yet Fanny Hill is so unlike Russ Meyers later work. There was no nudity whatsoever in this movie which is an odd reality for a Russ Meyer picture.

 

I loved Fanny Hill and it's one of those I highly recommend to be seen. This Blu-ray/DVD by Vinegar Syndrome is a must own and must see feature. They gave it the star treatment that this forgotten movie deserved.

 

There is one thing you are always going to experience in a Meyer film and that's large breasts. He had a true fixation on these and often the plot of his films revolved around these "two" stars.

 

Next Feature:

 

The Phantom Gunslinger is a priceless example of how to create a comedy around the idea of a satire western and the old stance of a lone gunman facing the horde of an enemy.

 

Now this is truly a twisted little concept of a movie. This is almost in the reality of a truly weird over the top classic Three Stooges type of film or skit. You have bad guys and Indians and donkeys. You have people getting shot in the head going to heaven, talking to God and then being resurrected. Gun fights to fist fights, bar fights, food fights all in a slapstick comedy reality.

 

It plays out like that old Laurel and Hardy, Three Stooges and black and white silent gunslinger flicks that add the humor along with the Western-style. This movie had no seriousness to it. It's like watching a Saturday morning cartoon, mixed with a movie serial, twisted around a Three Stooges reality.

 

This is truly an original forgotten, cool twisty film that makes no sense and yet that's the beauty of it. You have the slapstick comedy with objects and fists and people throwing themselves around the room, falling and jumping, acting out with pie throwing and one liners and goofy relations and emotions.

 

It's hard to explain this movie because it's a true oddity and I had never seen it before and it amazes me that I've never heard anything about it. Vinegar Syndrome introduced me to a truly weird film that left a lasting mark on my thinking.

 

I enjoyed this film for some odd reason it's hard to explain the reality of it unless you've seen it. You can take all the Naked Gun film series, mixing it with all the old slapstick type cinema, creating a truly classic drive in late night or Saturday Matinee comical romp; and it still could not explain this one of a kind film.

 

I have to give a shout out to the star of this movie Donahue. He created his character to a flawless, slapstick reality that makes the viewer fall in love with his character Phil. Donahue was a classic actor that has been apart of the world of lower budget cinema most of his acting career. He was a b-movie god. He starred in such amazing Drive-in films like Cyclone, Dr. Alien, Terminal Force, Omega Cop, Double Trouble and many others, over 90 acting roles. If your a John Waters fan then you might recognize him as Hatchets Father in Cry-baby. He was a golden actor in The Phantom Gunslinger. Sadly we lost him to the after in 2001.

 

Sadly the world of cinema lost both Directors. These powerful exploitation gods went on to that end game of life. Russ passed September 18, 2004 (aged 82) in Hollywood Hills, California and master Albert Zugsmith passed on 26 Oct 1993 in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California. It's sad when masters pass but as long as these masters works are fixed, created and displayed by companies like Vinegar Syndrome there legacy and art will live on.

 

A quick recap of the features which are priceless extras, making you want to seek out and buy this set by Vinegar Syndrome all the more.

 

Bonus Features:

+ 3 Disc Combo (1 Blu-ray (BD-50) & 2 DVDs) | Region Free | 1.85:1 AR | DTS-HD Master Audio

+ Restored in 2K from 35mm original camera negative

+ “The Zugsmith Connection” featurette with FANNY HILL star Ulli Lomell

+ Interview with film historian Eric Schaefer    + Reversible cover art for THE PHANTOM GUNSLINGER

 

Seek out this classic wild over the top double feature of pure entertainment. True oddities given to a new generation by the wonderful Vinegar Syndrome. Great cult features on a wonderful Blu-ray/DVD.