“Sin City’s Old Town comes crawling up on to dry land.”
Got to suspect Frank Miller might have been aware of this 1966 sexploitation flick when crafting his story of a red-light district run by the prostitutes, because it’s easy to imagine this 62-minute film turned into a segment in Sin City 2. For that’s basically what you have here: Madame Sue leads the New York hookers in an informal collective, finding them customers and ensuring things run smoothly. But a local small-time thug wants in on the action, demanding 10% of the revenue; knowing that would just be the start, Sue declines, and her business rival starts offing the girls, trying to scare them into compliance. But you can only push Sue so far, before she proclaims “We’re gonna get guns and other weapons.” and goes to war…
Robert Rodriguez could knock this out of the park. Mahon, with far less resources and almost no acting talent, not so much (great poster though!). The shoestring operation is apparent across the board, but a couple of examples should suffice. They apparently couldn’t afford external mics, so when Madame Sue meets the mobster trying to shake her down in a public place, we don’t get to hear what they say – as with much of the plot, Sue has to describe it in a voice-over. While she’s far from the worst actress – check out the trailer for examples of delivery so wooden, it could make a charming set of living-room furniture – it doesn’t help that she has a heavy Eastern European accent, making it impossible to determine, for example, whether the mobster’s name is Carnaby or Carnegie. The indoor sets are little better, they seem to have had access to one apartment and a nearby stairwell, from which Carnaby/Carnegie appears to run all his business.
There are really three sections to this. In the first, the girls wander around topless as we establish their overall business. In the second, the girls wander around topless (and occasionally soap each others’ backs in the shower) as they get stabbed, strangled and offed. Finally, they put some frickin’ clothes on and start taking revenge, culminating in a rather nasty, if non-lethal, fate for Carnaby/Carnegie – the trailer will show enough to illuminate you, if you don’t mind spoilers. This is all very basic, and even at barely an hour, drags its feet badly for much of the time – as with many grindhouse flicks, you’re much better off just watching the trailer. However, considering its era, this is actually pretty advanced, Sue and her sidekick in particular being depicted as far stronger and more independent than most “nice” girls of the era. Credit duly given for that.
Dir: Barry Mahon
Star: “Madame Sue and her Times Square girls.” For real, that’s the only acting credit!