• Game Show Models



    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: November 12th, 2013.
    Director: David Gottlieb
    Cast: John Vickery, Diane Sommerfield, Dick Miller, Thelma Houston, Sid Melton
    Year: 1977
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    The Movie:

    Directed by David N. Gottlieb, 1977’s Game Show Models started off as a film called The Seventh Dwarf, but more on that once we move to the extras. The movie itself follows a guy named Roger Feinstein (Gilbert DeRush) who has an interesting as the employee of a Hollywood agency that casts attractive women as, you guessed it, game show models. Not above using the whole ‘casting couch’ approach when he feels like it, crafty ol’ Roger gets his share of lovely ladies more or less whenever he feels like it. In short, Roger is a pig. He’s not even particularly nice to the girls he beds, he can’t even be bothered to make eye contact when he screws them. Women, to Roger, are receptacles.

    Meanwhile, a pseudo-hippy type named Stuart Guber (John Vickery) decides he’s had enough of his artsy-fartsy girlfriend, Josie (Diane Thomas)¸and so he leaves her and sets out to clean up his act. One haircut and one thrift store suit later and he’s landed a job working for Roger and enjoying all of the perks and privileges that entails, specifically a model named Cici (Diane Sommerfield). Before long though, Stuart realizes that by tossing aside his girlfriend and his artistic integrity in favor of a paycheck and some cheap thrills he’s turning into the type of man he used to despise and he starts to wonder if maybe he hasn’t made a few fairly horrible decisions…

    Gottlieb obviously intended to make a film different from the picture that Game Show Models turned out to be (more on that when we get to the extras) as the picture plays out very much like a serious drama with obvious artistic intentions spiced up and spliced up with some tacky but welcome inserts, most of which involve naked ladies. The picture was distributed by Sam Sherman, who had a knack for this type of thing and a penchant for cashing in on nudity laden exploitation pictures so it’s really not all that surprising that things went in this direction considering Sherman’s involvement in the film.

    The game show connection is tenuous, though it does give the film an opportunity to make use of a gratuitous Dick Miller cameo (he plays the host here, and he’s fun in the part) but there is a pretty amusing scene where Roger comes up with a way of maximizing what he can get out of the ladies who have shown up for his casting call. He’s also able to work his way out of trouble by bringing certain parties to the set to enjoy the perks that the lovely ladies are able to offer. All of this is here for one reason and one reason only, to cram in some bankable nudity. So while Gottleib’s movie is trying to address issues like racial and sexual discrimination on the job and weighing the pros and cons of putting money ahead of what really matters in life, Sherman’s picture is focusing on bouncing boobs and beautiful bare bums. This makes Game Show Models an odd cinematic duck to be sure, but it’s interesting enough in its own strange and wildly uneven way, and hey, you can never go wrong with a quick appearance from none other than Cheryl “Rainbeaux” Smith.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Game Show Models debuts on DVD from Vinegar Syndrome framed at 1.85.1 anamorphic widescreen in a new restored 2K scan from the original 35mm negatives looking about as fresh and as clean as possible. Colors are reproduced really nicely here, all sorts of garish seventies hues pop in all their beautifully tacky glory while skin looks nice and lifelike, never too hot or too pink. There are no problematic compression artifacts to complain about or any noise reduction or edge enhancement problems. In short, this is a solid transfer. Fans should be quite happy with the presentation.

    The English language Dolby Digital Mono track on the disc is fine. Dialogue is a little flat but that is likely due to the age and technological limitations of a modestly budgeted seventies feature rather than the disc itself. Levels are well balanced and there aren’t any serious issues with hiss or distortion to note.

    The first disc includes an audio commentary with David Gottlieb, the film’s director, moderated by VS' Joe Rubin. David speaks about his intentions with the picture and gives us a pretty solid rundown of who did what and where. He obviously addresses the changes and inserts that were made to the film and offers up a pretty good assortment of trivia and anecdotal stories here that give us an interesting look into the low budget filmmaking scene of seventies era Los Angeles.

    The main extra on second disc in this two disc set is the inclusion of the original cut of the movie under the original title of The Seventh Dwarf. See, when Sam Sherman bought the film for distribution it seems that he felt there was too much focus on art and drama and not enough focus on hot naked ladies so he had some inserts shot and spliced into the picture to take care of that. It’s probably a pretty safe bet that by doing this, Sherman more or less ensured a return on his investment. If the original cut would have turned him a profit is probably debatable. It’s here, however, devoid of much in the way of sleaze and cheap thrills but rightly preserved for posterity’s sake and it does actually fill in some of the blanks as to what Josie got up to in Stuart’s absence. This version is a few minutes shorter than the nudity laden version on the first disc but included in an attractive 1.85.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that looks almost as good as the Game Show Models version.

    Aside from that, Vinegar Syndrome has included a collection of outtakes from the film and a decent sized still gallery of promotional material. Menus and chapter stops are provided on both of the discs in the set. Dig that cover art too.

    The Final Word:

    It’s interesting that The Seventh Dwarf took on the topic or art versus commerce only to fall victim to an exploitative reworking that was obviously done with the sole intention of making some money. Life imitates art and all that. More interesting for how it came to be and as a strange artifact of the drive-in era than anything else, Game Show Models is moderately amusing. What makes this package worthwhile more so than the quality of the feature itself is actually the extras, as we get the original cut of the film and an illuminating interview with the man who made it.