Common-Law Cabin (Russ Meyer / U.S., 1967):

Russ Meyer’s original title (How Much Loving Does a Normal Couple Need?) is seen amid the marsh branches, where the narrator booms about a river "taking and leaving like a woman, but with a name like a man: The Colorado!" Stuck in an isolated, dilapidated tourist trap, the stubbled widower (Jack Moran) endures his fulsome lover’s (Babette Bardot) Gallic-accented cawing when not stewing over the topless frolicking of his pigtailed daughter (Adele Rein). A salacious gray boatman (Frank Bolger) brings in "suckers" looking for an excursion, the latest batch includes a hot-to-trot nurse (Alaina Capri) and her weak-hearted doctor hubby (John Furlong), plus a smirking rogue cop (Ken Swofford) who’s "cute like an anteater" and set on taking over the land. Swofford and Capri lock eyes and splash together in just about every pond in the island. Bardot meanwhile materializes atop a cliff like a whooping Amazonian vision, blonde tresses and grass skirt and a torch in each hand; later on Furlong expires beneath her thighs, naturally. And then, for no other reason than to add one more coupling to the crowded fable, a millionaire runaway (Andrew Hagara) drops by and follows Rein into her favorite skinny-dippin’ spot. "That’s the problem... everybody feels." Meyer’s dialogue is a breakneck magnification of Albee’s venom ("Must you pant? It’s an animal trait!" "It’s the bitch in me, dear, or don’t you remember?"), his technique is all French-postcard sunniness not far removed from a Wesselmann (one nutty composition has two clods with fishing poles and their backs to the camera while a bikini bunny go-go dances in the foreground). The results are nothing less than a nudie The Tempest, a sweaty marvel that avails itself of flashes of The Lady from Shanghai and Baby Doll before sailing off into the sunset, "a nice day to be alive and swimming."

--- Fernando F. Croce

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