• The Prince And The Nature Girl (Forgotten Films Entertainment) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Forgotten Film Entertainment
    Released on: October 12th, 2018.
    Director: Doris Wishman
    Cast: Sandra Sinclair, Stephen Bloom
    Year: 1965
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    The Prince And The Nature Girl – Movie Review:

    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. 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).

    The Prince And The Nature Girl – Blu-ray Review:

    The Prince And The Nature Girl arrives on region free Blu-ray in a fullframe transfer taken from the only known surviving 35mm film elements. Presented on a 50 GB disc in AVC encoded 1080p high definition, the transfer here is surprisingly solid. Of course, things could have looked better had they been transferred from the negative but for a transfer taken from a print, this looks nice. Detail is solid, depth and texture as well, and the short running time ensures that there are no problems with compression artifacts. It’s grainy, sure, but never to the point where it’s a problem and overall the image is surprisingly clean, aside from some mild scratches here and there. Colors look really nice and black levels are strong as well – overall, this is a nice, film-like presentation.

    DTS-HD tracks are provided in English and German language options with optional subtitles offered up in German. The dubbing here on the English track 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. The German track isn’t as clean, there’s some hiss in it, but it’s fine and as this was the track that accompanied the element used for this release, it only makes sense to include it here.

    The feature is available with an optional commentary from the Buio Omega Film Club’s Heinz Klett, Jo Steinback and Ingojira that, sadly does not have any English subtitles provided for it. Thankfully, the rest of the extras are English friendly.

    The main extra on the disc is Better Than Sex! Or: How To Make A Wishman Movie, which is a ninety-seven-minute piece shot on the set of Wishman’s final film, Every Time I Kill. This feature is worth the price of the disc all on its lonesome. Here we see Bowen, kinda-sorta acting as producer, do his best to give proper context to some truly off the wall behind the scenes footage. At this point, Wishman was clearly starting to show her age and not in the best of shape but that doesn’t stop her from doing her thing, commanding the shoot from behind the kitchen table of a house that was used for the vast majority of the production (it’s amazing what you can when you need to use the same room for multiple locations). We hear from lead actress Tiffany Paralta about how she got the part and her thoughts on the character she plays, effects guy Jim Hollenbaugh and, maybe most importantly of all, cinematographer C. Davis Smith, the same man who shot some of Wishman’s better known productions like the immortal Bad Girls To Hell, My Brother’s Wife, Indecent Desires and the two Chesty Morgan films, Deadly Weapons and Double Agent 73. He’s a seriously great sport about all of this and it’s his input, which is fairly constant throughout this, that really helps you get into Wishman’s head. Like the feature it documents this was shot on standard definition video (there wasn’t a lot of money here), and so the quality is less than perfect but for anyone with even a passing interest in Doris Wishman’s work this documentary is invaluable. We get a chance not only to see her at work but also to see her relaxing, interacting with those around her, reacting both positively and negatively to have a camera following her around and much more. It’s absolutely essential viewing for anyone who cares about Wishman’s work.

    The disc also includes a ‘supporting film’ in the form of Madchen In Der Sauna (or, if you prefer, Girls In The Sauna), which is presented in 1.33.1 fullframe and in high definition with DTS-HD audio provided in English (isolated music and effects) and German (optical and magnetic) with subtitles available in English. This one isn’t so plot heavy but it’s an interesting little vintage European sexploitation short presented in very nice shape. The basic ‘story’ here is that a lovely looking German student flies from her homeland to Finland to work on her thesis – which involves observing and then participating in all of the physical benefits that stem from using a sauna! It’s all very silly and very tame, but there’s no disputing its time capsule appeal. Lots of smoking, typewriters, plush pillows, travel agents and old dudes in sauna’s here if that is what you are into. Eventually, of course, our lovely foreign exchange students gets into the mood herself, at which point we witness her own sauna adventures, but mostly this involves sweating – bonus points for the frosted pink lipstick though! There are no English subtitles for this one but you don’t really need them.

    Doris In GelsenKirchen is a twenty-seven-minute piece that documents here visit to Germany with Bowen at her side. It starts with a rather informal dinner that goes in some strange directions and ends with Wishman on stage, mic in hand (sort of), before a screening of some of her films. When it’s over she meets some of her fans. Some great footage here of her, looking quite comfortable, on stage and talking about her life and times and accepting an award – she clearly had a great sense of humor even if she could be more than a little bit persnickety!

    Visit To A Queen spends just under nineteen-minutes documenting a 2000 visit to Nude On The Moon’s main location, The Coral Castle in Florida, by two German fans who managed to get Wishman to accompany them. It’s a great opportunity for fans of that classic picture to get a more modern look at what the location looks like now and to hear Wishman ramble on about what it was like shooting there. She’s fairly cranky here, not wanting to be shot in close-up or without her sunglasses on at first, but eventually she gets more comfortable and starts talking about her experiences on the location.

    The disc also contains a load of still galleries that show off the German pressbook, German poster and lobby cards, U.S. promotional materials, and a separate gallery of promotional materials for Girls In The Sauna. The movie also features an optional intro from the Buio Omega Film Club that runs just under two-minutes, a ‘German 1960’s review’ (an amusing five-minute reading of a vintage review in German with English subtitles that refers to the movie as Naked In The Summer Wind), a featurette called How I Caught The Summer Wind with a Mr. Weber (which documents the discover and restoration of the elements used for this release over the span of twenty-minutes -this is actually very interesting, and definitely done with a strange sense of humor, particularly if you have an interest in the more archeological side of film preservation). The disc also includes two ‘Weber Short Films’ (Weber’s Secret and Christmas Gifts, both of which are humorous though unrelated to the film and run less than four-minutes in length), menus (in your choice of English or German) and chapter selection.

    Included inside the keepcase alongside the disc is a full color insert booklet that contains essays from Heinz Klatt (who contributes two pieces), Michael Bowen, Jo Steinbeck, Christian Keller and Ingojira as well as some vintage photos relating to the film and credits for the Blu-ray release. All of this is packaged in a DVD-sized keepcase that in turn fits into a sturdy, full color slipcase featuring some beautiful vintage poster art advertising the release of the feature attraction. Adventurous viewers will want to flip the cover sleeve around to reveal a beautiful full color reproduction of what we can assume was the German one sheet for the movie on the reverse side.

    The Prince And The Nature Girl – 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 Germany’s Forgotten Films Entertainment has gone way out to give this an impressive special edition release. The quality of the presentation is quite strong and on top of that we get an impressive array of extras highlighted by a great documentary that covers the making of Doris Wishman’s final film.

    Click on the images below for full sized The Prince And The Nature Girl Blu-ray screen caps!