Beneath the Valley of the Ultravixens
By: J.R. McNamara on May 25, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
DVD
Madman (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 4:3. English DD 1.0. 93 minutes
The Movie
Credits
Director: Russ Meyer
Starring: Kitten Natividad, Ken Kerr, Uschi Digard, Ann Marie, Stuart Lancaster, Michael Finn
Screenplay: Roger Ebert
Music: William Tasker
Country: USA
Year: 1979

Russ Meyer, the 'Walt Disney of Skin Flicks' has a grand history of two things that feature in his films: a sardonic look at American culture, and chicks with mammoth mammary glands. When it came to filmmaking though, Meyer was a machine. He was a writer, director, cinematographer, editor and producer, whose output had him make 27 films in a career that lasted 40 years and all of this is without mentioning his battle photography of World War 2. Some say that Meyer's films are anti-feminist and misogynistic, but in actual fact, the women of Meyer's films are always the ones holding all the cards, always sexy, and rarely stupid. The men in Meyer's films are the ones who should be complaining, in general they are muscle-bound dunderheads, incapable of making a decision without checking with their testicles if its alright. Beneath the Valley of the Ultravixens, co written with Roger Ebert, is another one of Meyer's amusing satires of Mom and Apple Pie.

Narrated by Meyer favorite, Stuart Lancaster, the story of Beneath the Valley of the Ultravixens is about a small town named Small Town USA which, like the big cities, has secrets of its own. Even rural people can have unfulfilled desires that interfere with their regular day to day business. Lamarr Shedd (Ken Kerr) and his lovely lady Lavonia (Kitten Natividad) have a small problem with their sex life. Lamarr likes a sexual position that Lavona finds…shall we say, uncomfortable. Through a series of sexual misadventures with various townsfolk, they try to find a point where they can 'come together'…

Less a coherent storyline, than a series of soft porn vignettes, Beneath the Valley of the Ultravixens is Meyers parody of rural America. It is more or less what a lot of hard core porn eventually became… a loose storyline with sex scenes in between (you know what I mean, the pool guy, the delivery man, the wrong house etc etc). Meyer still does manage to get his point of America's hidden underbelly across, but the women in this feature seem to overshadow any parody he makes. That's not to say the comedy isn't witty, or ironic, and each sex scene is comedy gold in itself, but the subtleties of the humor over and above the slapstick sometimes pales to the background. The stars of this feature are his regular players who had been in other features such as SuperVixens, Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and Mudhoney. Tragically, this was to be Meyers last big screen feature. His eye for parody was lost in amongst the need for the viwers wanting more penetrative sex on screen, which Meyer was loathe to do. Also, the advent of video tape, and it's easy to access hard core porn turned his soft core stuff into dinosaur almost overnight and he actually didn't make another film for over 20 years.
Video
This full screen, pan and scan transfer is average. Cigar burns, artefacts… you name anything that an older film suffers from, this does too. It is not a shoddy picture, like some of the Something Weird Video releases, but it isn't a brilliant picture either.
Audio
It is a 25 year old independent film and it is in mono. No great shakes, but that's no surprise.
Extra Features
The Latin Brunhilde: Interview with Kitten Natividad (15 minutes 18 seconds) is a fascinating look at not just the soft core scene of the seventies, but due to her intimate relationship with Meyer (they were married for a time), a great insight into the man as well. A short but interesting piece about the woman who Russ himself describes as 'having a bush blacker than a blacksmith's apron'.

There is a trailer for Beneath the Valley of the Ultravixens (1 minute 59 seconds). Funnily enough, the trailer has a far better picture than that of the feature and is advertised as 'a comedy for adults'.

There is a commentary by Russ Meyer which is less a commentary on the movie as it runs, but more a series of recollections about the people who he made the movie with. He does reference the movie on occasion, but this is by no means a shot for shot styled commentary.
The Verdict
This is not my favourite Meyer film, but there is no doubt his eye for the visual metaphor still had 20/20 vision. The parody of American culture is present, but tragically is overshadowed by the amount of sex in the film, which I guess is the point….oh, and there are a lot of women with enormous boobs in this film. This is really for Meyer complete-ists or fans of seventies soft core only.
Movie Score
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