Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Rock Hudson with co-eds
PRETTY MAIDS ALL IN A ROW (1971). Director: Roger Vadim.

In a California high school, a horny 17-year-old named Ponce (John David Carson), student manager for the football team, finds the body of a pretty female student in a bathroom. The football coach, and assistant principal "Tiger" McDrew (Rock Hudson), although married, is sleeping with many of the high school girls, and even encourages the new teacher Betty Smith (Angie Dickinson) to make nice with the virginal, always excited Ponce -- the two begin an affair. Soon there are more murders, with Capt Surcher (Telly Savalas) leading the investigation. Roddy McDowall is the principal, weird Susan Tolsky is his secretary, Keenan Wynn is the police chief, and William Campbell (Dementia 13) is another cop. Not being a far-out black comedy or farce, Pretty Maids is just one of those strange, bad movies that seems to exist only in its own unreal universe. There is absolutely no suspense, and the identity of the killer certainly comes as no surprise. Hudson, Dickinson and Carson all give good enough performances, but the movie is superficial and uninspired and not even especially entertaining. Director Vadim could have directed this in his sleep. Carson also appeared in Empire of the Ants.

Verdict: Even a "mad slasher" movie is more fun than this! *1/2.

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