3 May 2005 | NMBtoNYC
Lainie Kazan's first feature. The same year as "Funny Girl"
Barbra Streisand's understudy from "Funny Girl" who two decades before becoming the heir apparent to Shelly Winters as a respected character actress, was for a brief moment in history a sixties Jewish sex symbol! Lainie plays a California nightclub singer (was there such a thing? perhaps. But not with her Streisandesque singing style) who is looking for a little excitement. And we are the lucky recipients in this forgotten camp classic. Over the course of one forgotten but pleasurable B movie several of the lead male actors make out with Lainie. They fight over her. One discusser her to another and comments, "That Lida Martell is some woman." All of these old fashioned Nixonian men's men carry on about her like she is Raquel Welch. One actor beats her up, pulls her hair and then forces himself on her and she likes it. She serves the men drinks like she is a Playboy bunny. She sings the classic song, "Sunny" in a makeshift nightclub that looks like it is on a C level cruise ship and sings in a mode more suited to "Valley of the Dolls" than a men's action movie of any time. She has a bathing suit scene. She has an interchange with a man in a nightclub showing off her ample bosom discussing her romantic philosophy as if she thinks she is saying the most brilliant lines ever written. She has a scuba diving scene. She screams at the top of her lungs twice. Playing bit parts in the movie are Mike Farrell (later on "Mash") and Bo Hopkins (action star in the following decade). This movie is real campy fun.