11 December 2006 | openeyes
The History of Striptease In Reverse
Marilyn Jones plays an aspiring dancer reduced to stripping at a nightclub in Baltimore's famous Redlight District in this gritty thriller. When originally released, this film, shot in vivid neon-absorbing Super 16mm by Erich Roland, offered a nearly documentary-like presentation of the seedy nightclubs and their denizens. Now, however, it serves more as a historical document. In one of the subplots of the film, a venal developer, played by Academy-Award nominee Howard Rollins, Jr., tries to close down "The Block" to build an office complex. Soon after the movie's release, in a case of life imitating art, the city of Baltimore managed to tear down a portion of it to build an office complex. The film also serves historical document in regard to Marilyn Jones' performances. They show the history of striptease in reverse, starting with the modern, more functional, striptease of today and then hearkens back to the classic tease of Burlesque dancing of the type exemplified by Blaze Starr, who makes also makes an appearance in this film. (No, she doesn't get nude!) The plot itself is, in a sense, a subtle retelling of Victor Hugo's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" with Marilyn Jones' stripper as Esmeralda, David Caltrider's obsessed detective as Frollo, and Michael Gabel's simple-minded handyman as Quasimodo. This film offers much more than meets the eyes. Check it out if you get the chance!