• Prince And The Nature Girl, The



    Released by: Retro-Seduction Cinema
    Released on: September 12th, 2017.
    Director: Doris Wishman
    Cast: Sandra Sinclair, Stephen Bloom
    Year: 1965
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    The Movie:

    This fifty-three minute feature, directed by the late, great Doris Wishman in 1965 – her last nudist feature – makes its home video debut through this DVD release. This previously thought to be lost film was sourced from a print that turned up in Germany of all places. For this restoration, the German language track has been left off, and a newly reconstructed track, dubbed using the original script, has been provided.

    The plot – what little there is of it – tells the story of a man named Albert Prince. He’s a businessman who hires two twin sisters, Eve and Sue. Aside from their hair color – Eve is blonde and Sue is a brunette – they are identical twins. Eve is the party girl type, she’s loose and fun loving and always up for a good time. Sue is her opposite, she’s calm, quiet, reserved and very dedicated to her job.

    Prince takes a shine to pretty blonde Eve, a shine that becomes even shinier when he runs into her, seemingly completely by chance, at a nudist camp retreat called Sunny Palms Lodge. They hit it off and a casual romance seems to be in bloom, while back in the city poor Sue pines away for the man her sister seems to be courting, sans pants. When Eve splits town to go to a wedding (she’s got to head to Ohio to be the maid of honor!), Sue gets a call from Prince in her sister’s absence and sees this as a chance to make her move with Mr. Prince… all is fair in love and war, we’re told.

    “The devil himself knows no cunning like that of a woman in love!”

    Featuring some newly shot footage using Wishman’s apartment for the interiors and a nudist camp in New Jersey for the exteriors as well as a LOT of recycled footage from a few of Wishman’s other nudist films, this movie is a mess. Even by Doris Wishman movie standards, it’s pretty haggard. The plot is flimsy at best and continuously interrupted by strange and fairly static shots of ‘things’ in Wishman’s apartment. The scenes of frolicking nudists are alright. Most of the girls are pretty enough and we get some decent footage of people doing things like playing volleyball (this seems to happen in EVERY goddamn nudist film ever made!), swimming, picnicking and just sort of hanging out (sometimes swaying back and forth for some reason) and being naked and awesome. There are also a lot of prolonged shots that just sort of make us look at plants in this movie.

    In typical Wishman fashion, the cinematography is bland, the pacing is alien and the performances are wooden (though to be fair it’s tough to really judge that accurately given the fact that we’re watching it by way of a recreated dub). But the movie has its own sort of strange charm. There’s lots of footage here of people just ‘being naked’ – doing routine things like gardening and chopping wood – while nothing else happens to push the plot further. The dialogue is sparse, Wishman knew she was patching together a bunch of leftover stuff and that the plot probably wouldn’t make much sense (though to be fair in the commentary they wonder if the German version used here wasn’t truncated – and with the short running time on this DVD, it could have been!). And it doesn’t. And yet, as awful as all of this is – and it is truly awful – it’s fascinating in the way that a lot of Doris Wishman’s movies are. Unlike some of the stronger sex films she’d go on to make, that she really kind of seemed disinterested in, this one has her personality all over it. If a glimpse into her apartment isn’t enough, it has that weird pacing, those strange camera shots, that awful editing that no one in their right mind would otherwise agree to… it’s pure Wishman. And as such, you can’t help but love it (even if her nudist film masterpiece remains Nude On The Moon).

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    The Prince And The Nature Girl arrives on DVD in a fullframe transfer taken from the only known surviving 35mm film elements. Presented in what appears to be its original fullframe aspect ratio, the image quality here is… less than perfect. Like most releases from the label, it’s interlaced, but aside from that it suffers from obvious color fading, fairly constant print damage. Having said that, it’s watchable enough. Some more restorative work might have gone a long way but honestly, this is about as niche as it gets. Detail is about as good as it probably can be. There aren’t any noticeable issues with any compression artifact (the film’s short running time helps here) nor is there any obvious edge enhancement. There’s no use in pretending this looks great – it doesn’t – but the fact that it’s on DVD at all more than fifty years after it was released and having been considered lost for so long is reason enough for some of us to cheer.

    The English language Dolby Digital Mono sound mix is of decent enough quality. It’s unfortunate that the German language track has been left off of this DVD release. The dubbing here is obviously newer than the film itself, it sounds too clean to match the visuals here, but it works. The music used in the feature works quite well. As you’d guess for a newly created track, it’s clean, clear and free of any hiss or distortion. Even if most of us wouldn’t be able to understand it without subtitles, it would have made for an interesting curio!

    Extras start off with an audio commentary featuring Doris Wishman biographer Michael Bowen and filmmakers Michael Raso and John Fedele. This track starts off with a quick rundown of who Wishman was and what her career was all about, how she was quite prolific in sex and exploitation films in the sixties and seventies and how she turned to horror pictures after that – which was historically significant as there were very few women making these movies at the time. Bowen then talks about how he got to know Wishman towards the end of her life, her dealings with different distributors, how Wishman shot almost all of the interior shots featured in this picture in her apartment and her entries in the nudist genre (we also get a quick history lesson in the nudist film phenomena and related censorship issues). They also talk about the market for nudist films and how it was pushed aside as censorship standards started to relax a bit in the last half of the sixties and especially into the seventies. Bowen, who does the bulk of the talking here, shares information about some of Wishman’s collaborators such as cinematographer Nouri Haviv, how a lot of the footage in this movie is made up of ‘outs’ (meaning outtakes from other films), her penchant for recycling whenever possible, and quite a bit more. Bowen also notes that when Wishman passed away he acquired several boxes of her ‘outs’ and that there’s a lot of shots of flowers and plants in them. Somehow, that makes wonderful, beautiful sense.

    From there, we get a trio of bonus black and white nudist themed short films starting with Nature Girl, a fourteen minute piece starring a rather fetching and leggy Joan Arnold. She leaves her car at the side of the road, grabs her picnic gear and heads into the woods to paint… without any clothes on! Well, a smock and some stockings at least (which is a good look for her). And by painting we mean that she mostly kind of poses for the camera and shows off the goods. Later she goes swimming and then she sunbathes a bit.

    Up next? Nudism – A Way Of Life is an eleven minute silent short that shows off various women posing nude, typing nude, dancing nude, doing housework nude, riding horses nude, photographing other women in the nude, drawing other women in the nude, being nude in the dark, being nude not in the dark and hanging out at the Sunshine Ranch where there are swingsets and stuff.

    The third and final short is Rock Lodge Nudist Camp, a fifteen minute short where we see nudists arrive at the titular camp where they – GASP – play volleyball and get photographed playing volleyball. Then they play tennis, take a boat ride, sit on some big rocks, go for a swim, and then stand on a ‘wobbly raft’ for a bit before falling into a lake.

    Additionally we get a ‘short media segment’ entitled Atomic TV, a four and a half minute piece that covers the 1999 Maryland Film Festival where some of Wishman’s films were screened. She appears on camera here, standing alongside John Waters, briefly. She also talks to the camera for a few minutes about her work and her new project ‘Dildo Heaven’ – she’s a kook, and this footage is fucking great. Michael Bowen shows up here alongside Wishman as well.

    Outside of that we get a trailer for Dorish Wishman's Hideout In The Sun, animated menus and chapter selection.

    Included inside the keepcase alongside the DVD is an insert booklet containing an essay on the film by Michael Bowen.

    The Final Word:

    The Prince And The Nature Girl is a genuine cinematic obscurity, a movie long thought lost now finally made available – if it’s not in perfect shape, we can forgive that. As to the movie itself? It’s amusing and terrible and wonderful in that grand Wishman tradition, and Retro-Seduction Cinema has done a nice job assembling a decent selection of extra features to accompany the film’s home video debut.