Vixen! (1968)
By: J.R. McNamara on May 9, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
DVD
The AV Channel (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 4:3. English DD 2.0. 70 minutes
The Movie
Credits
Director: Russ Meyer
Starring: Erica Gavin, Garth Pillsbury, Harrison Page, Jon Evans, Vincene Wallace
Screenplay: Robert Rudelson
Country: USA
Russ Meyer, The King LEER of Hollywood, has been a gigantic influence on cinema, even though he is usually regarded by mainstream cinema as little more than a soft core pornographer. To dismiss Meyer as such is not fair, you can see his influence almost anywhere, not just in 'alternative' cinema, John Waters declares his influence regularly, but even in mainstream cinema: Charlie's Angels, either the TV show or the movies, probably wouldn't have existed without him. Tarrantino, the Farrelly Brothers, John Landis, many comic creators, fashion designers and others have all singled out Meyer as a key inspiration within their work. Having said that though, is not to alter the fact that Meyer was the first filmmaker to hit the 1 million dollar mark with his 1959 film the soft core porno The Immoral Mr Teas.

The key icons of his films have always been the square jaws of ineffectual men, and the bountiful bosoms of beautiful babes. On a surface level, Meyer's films may be perceived as sexist or misogynistic, but in actual fact, it is the chicks that hold all the power over the fragile male machismo. Meyer somehow managed to find the mid point between women's liberation and exploitation filmmaking, mixed them together with crazy storylines and almost moronic dialogue, added his amazing eye for strange camera angles and exterior cinematography, and came up with what can only be described as classic films of American cinema. In 1969, Meyer produced his first color film, Vixen! This film was perceived as taking cinema too far, and even though it features no full frontal nudit it received an 'X' rating, which opened the door for Meyer to get even more bawdy with his succeeding pictures.

This movie is about Vixen (Erica Gavin), a sexual predator living in the Canadian Mountains with her pilot husband, Tom (Garth Pillsbury). Tom is completely oblivious to her wicked ways, which includes sleeping with all and sundry, including her brother! What happens to Vixen? Don't worry; you will probably have dozed off by about the 40 minute mark!!

Vixen! is probably one of Meyer's more serious films, delving into subjects of racism, pacifism and incest, but loses its way with bad acting and Meyer's trademark nutty dialogue. The film was so successful though, that Meyer was approached by 20th Century Fox to direct Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. This film has some weird moments, which include a halibut head job, and the most uncomfortable lesbian scene ever!

A couple of things to look out for in this film: Erica Gavin's eyebrows, I am sure Brooke Shields is insanely jealous of the Groucho's above this girls eyes, and at about the 18 minute mark the unintentionally funniest line in any of Meyer's films: Janet, while disappointed with her husbands lack of performance, in a jealous rage exclaims ' I saw you looking at that girl's fanny all night' (remember, in the USA, a 'fanny' is a posterior, not the body part we call that here in Australia).
Video
The picture is OK, although the image regularly has heavy areas.
Audio
This feature is presented in mono only, but is clear and unblemished.
Extra Features
This DVD has a theatrical trailer for the film (1 minute 25 seconds).

Woman…or Animal? (19 minutes 26 seconds) is a quite fascinating chat with Erica Gavin and Harrison Page discussing their association with Russ Meyer during the filming of Vixen, and beyond. This interview is probably more interesting than the film itself.

There is also a commentary with Russ himself, which as usual, is an amusing collection of stories and anecdotes about the films production. His opening comment, which makes reference to this being the film that put him on easy street, due to its success, I find ironic, considering it is fairly boring when compared with his other films.

This disc also has trailers for Faster Pusstcat! Kill! Kill!, 2046, Show Me Love and Live Flesh.
The Verdict
This film is slooooooow! The hubbub it received in the sixties is completely irrelevant now. Seriously, this may have received an X back in the late sixties, but I have seen more action in an episode of Medium. Mind you, Erica Gavin's regularly released boobies are impressive, but when it comes down to it, Meyer's following films were much harder. This should probably be seen just as a comparison to Meyer's more exciting work. The most confronting thing about this film is the racist comments, which are rarely, if ever, seen in cinema anymore. Considering what came after it, Vixen is dull.
Movie Score
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