Deadly Weapons (1974)

This is one odd film. I must confess it's my first full viewing of a Doris Wishman movie, she of Nude on the Moon and Bad Girls go to Hell fame. It was certainly a distinctive cinematic experience! It's basically a gimmick film in the sexploitation arena, with the huge-breasted 'Chesty Morgan' holding court as the wielder of the deadly weapons - her breasts, of course - of the title. Was the film watchable, entertaining or dare I even say it, titillating? Well, yes and no. I can't fully endorse it, as I would a Russ Meyer film or innumerable other softcore flicks, but here and there, there's some enjoyment to be had.

Under the name 'Zsa Zsa', Chesty stars as Crystal, lover of the Mafioso Larry, played by Gaylord St. James. After roughing up some bald hood with his fellow mobster Tony (Porn Star Harry Reems, he of the giant moustache), Larry steals a book of names that in the underworld is worth anyone's life. He begins to blackmail his own boss with it, figuring he's been put in the line of danger too many times and deserves some extra loot. He give the compliant Crystal the book for safe keeping, but is found out by Tony, and the Big Boss orders him dead. At this point, we have not seen the face of the Mob Boss, just his hand with a scar the shape of a cross on it. Tony and a hitman known as "Captain Hook", because of his eye-patch, bump off Larry while he's on the telephone proposing, at last, to Crystal. Distraught, Crystal still has the presence of mind to remember what she heard over he phone, part of which were the hotels "Hook" and Tony are staying in, while the heat around Larry's murder cools off.

She travels to Las Vegas and tracks down Hook in his hotel. Convincing the ugly club-owner (this actor has God-awful scarring on his nose) with her breasts to hire her as a "burlesque" stripper, Chesty then proceeds to enact the most un-erotic strip routine I've ever seen, in order to trap Hook for vengeance. She really looks like she's in pain with her stiff non-movements. Anyway, she lures Hook back to her room and after drugging his drink with a tablet, proceedings to drop her top, raise her arms in the air and smother the stupefied hitman with her breasts. This is accompanied by the sounds of tenpins being bowled over. She then turns her attention to Tony, staying at another hotel in Vegas.

At first, she tracks him down to a poolside spot so we can see some nude underwater ballet by some broad, I think it was Tony's clinging lush of a girlfriend Eve, played by Denise Purceli. At first her attempt to chat him up fails, but Crystal runs into him again at a bar, enraging Eve enough to leave the hotel. As Tony chases her, Eve admits that she knows about the book and the hit, so Tony kills her with his necktie to hush everything up. Cue long death scene by an overacting Ms Purceli! Tony returns to his room to find Crystal waiting. Intrigued and turned on, he allows her to seduce him and is given the tablet in the drink and smothering breasts treatment. And the sounds of those tumbling tenpins. Her revenge complete, Crystal returns home and tells her loving father about the book and Larry's death. As Crystal begins to call the police, suddenly Dad is not so loving, and wants to get his cross-scarred hand on the infamous book! It's Father and Daughter to the death - who will survive?

As I wrote at the start of this review, this is one odd little film. To start with, you've got the weird stylistic touches of Wishman, who will often film an object as unrelated as an ashtray while characters are talking, I guess to minimise the dubbing chores. Chesty is obviously dubbed, I gather to cover up her thick Polish accent. There's a fair bit of violent action in this one, although the fights and blood are not that convincing. The music's all over the place, from Steppenwolf-like rock to public doman library music to thumping bongoes. The actors are pretty amateurish, with some fully-clothed sex scenes with the handle-barred Reems and Purceli being particularly non-sexy. Still, let's talk about our main attraction and sole purpose of the film, Chesty Morgan. Is she worth watching for an entire film?

Probably yes, but more in a compelling, can't-look-away sense than anything erotic. At seventy-three inches, Chesty's breasts are certainly huge but pendulous, drooping and veined. She wears an horrendous grey wig at all times, a tasteless frilly wardrobe and seems completely zonked out in most scenes. The only time her face comes to life is in the picture for this review - for a couple of seconds in the movie, during her burlesque strip, she smiles for a bit as she strokes a guy's bald head and seems to be actually enjoying herself. The rest of the time her eyes and face are completely dead. I can enjoy Russ Meyer's voluptuous Vixens but sorry, Chesty is just not sexy! Now, is all this to say that the film's not worth watching? Not really - there aren't many films like this that are both written by women (Judy J. Kushner) and directed by women. It's never boring, even when I found the rough-and-ready filmmaking grating to watch. You just never know what sort of delerium the film-makers are going to put before your eyes in the next scene. And how many films have bad guys being killed by a vigilante woman's over-sized breasts? Strangely enough, you could hardly even call Deadly Weapons a sex film - there's barely a sex scene in it. It's purely a breast film.

The seventies were certainly a time in movies where anything was able to be filmed, and adventurous people could end up seeing it if they went looking. The films of Doris Wishman were part of that amazing era, so I can only recommend this piece of bizarre viewing for those of you who like offbeat cinema.

© Boris "Still Struggling with the Catch" Lugosi 2005.

Home | Email

Review written: 10/04/2005 16:45:08