Radley Metzger, 1965
Starring: Reine Rohan, Denyse Roland, Marlene Sherter, Peter Parten
The Dirty Girls is Metzger’s first solo feature length film. Though he made the compilation Dictionary of Sex (1964) before this, this is the first film that would foreshadow some of his later erotic masterpieces. It follows the exploits of two prostitutes, Garance and Monique, one located in Paris and the other in Germany. The two women are not connected, other than by their professions, and the film has an episodic feel. The first section deals with a ditzy “working girl” and a variety of her clients who attempt to represent a wide scope of general johns. We then switch to the Munich whore and her daily adventures.
These women are completely unlike the strong female characters in Metzger’s later films and are one of the primary reasons that The Dirty Girls pales in comparison to many of his later works. It is also campier with some silly scenes involving a swimming pool and some fully clothed attempts at debauchery, not a lot of nudity, and some very circumspect sex scenes. The most graphic moments are a little bit of lesbianism, some S&M and an attempted rape, though it seems laughable by today’s standards. Apparently these moments were scandalous in 1965, but I don’t think there are many women “of 1000 pleasures” to be found in The Dirty Girls.
This low budget film makes good use of European settings, prefiguring some of Metzger’s lush locations and cinematography in his later films. There is an occasionally good use of humor, but it is mostly awkward and there is an unfortunate subplot with a business man. The characters and dialogue are difficult to take serious. On the other hand, the smooth voiced, very serious male narrator is unintentionally hilarious.
The Dirty Girls is interesting primarily because it provides a glimpse at the transition between early ‘60s mondo films and the Golden Age of Porn in the ‘70s and early ‘80s. Despite the unfortunate title, this isn’t nearly as dirty as it implies. I would only recommend it to Metzger or ‘60s/‘70s erotica completists. There are some nice period elements, such as classy visuals, a jazzy score and a romanticism of all that is European. One of the loveliest scenes in the films involves one of the ladies making out with herself up against a mirror.
This was released on DVD by Image Entertainment as part of their Radley Metzger series. It marks a vast improvement over previous releases, though the image is not perfect. It’s very out of print by this point, but you can find used copies online for a reasonable price. The DVD includes trailers and a nudie reel of scenes that were restored back into the film by Image (they were cut for the theatrical release).