• Hideout In The Sun (Retro-Seduction Cinema) DVD Review

    Released by: Retro-Seduction Cinema
    Released on: October 30th, 2007.
    Director: Doris Wishman
    Cast: Earl Bauer, Dolores Carlos, Greg Conrad, Richard Falcon, Walter Film
    Year: 1960
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    Hideout In The Sun - Movie Review:

    The late, great Doris Wishman’s debut feature film arrives on DVD for the first time thanks to the efforts of Retro-Seduction Cinema. While Wishman would certainly go on to make stranger and more interesting films than this nudist camp/crime thriller hybrid, the fact remains that this is a historically important exploitation film and it’s fun to see the early signs of the trademark ‘Wishmanisms’ show up in the picture.

    Shot on location in Wishman’s base of operations, Miami, the film follows Duke (Greg Conrad) and Steve (Earl Bauer), a pair of hoods who decide to hold up a bank. The job gets botched when an attempt to change cars results in a dead battery. With no other choice, the pair spot a dame walking out of the grocery store and, at gun point, they take her hostage and jack her car. As luck would have it, this girl, named Dorothy (Delores Carlos), works at the Hibiscus Country Club which turns out to be a fancy nudist camp. Duke and Steve decide that this sounds like the ideal place to hang out and lay low until they can find their way to Cuba, so off they go.

    As the pair becomes accustomed to life at the club, Dorothy starts to fall for Steve, while he’s growing accustomed to wandering around in the buff. To make sure that none of the other nudists start to suspect anything he decides to pretend he’s Dorothy’s husband and before you know it, he’s having a ball doing all those things that nudists do – sports, swimming, enjoying a cocktail or two – it’s all good! Unfortunately, Duke is hiding out in Dorothy’s house refusing to go nudist and basically freaking out. He can’t get used to the lifestyle change and rather than blow his cover he decides to make a break for it. What is poor Steve to do? Stand by his woman and his new lifestyle choice or go back on the lam with Duke? Dilemmas, dilemmas!

    Compared to the more exploitative fare that Wishman would churn out in later years, Hideout In The Sun is quite playful. There are no moments of real violence nor is there much in the way of sex – even the nudity is pretty harmless, with most of the full frontal bits conveniently covered up by objects in the foreground of the frame. It’s interesting though to see some of the traits that Wishman would become known for show up even in this first film of hers. Strange, random camera work that doesn’t seem to go anywhere coupled with inane dialogue and truly wooden acting are staples of her filmography and this debut feature exemplifies her ‘talents’ for those areas. It’s obvious that Wishman is just winging it here, there’s very little evidence of any technical ability on display and the film’s pacing is awkward to say the least, but that’s a big part of the film’s charm.

    Don’t expect much out of the plot besides the basic synopsis above, as there aren’t really any shocking revelations nor is there much of a twist ending (though without spoiling it, the snakes are a nice touch!). The bank robbery elements really only exist to get us to the nudist camp in the first place at which point the film becomes a meandering naked travelogue of sorts. The opening scene could have been cut in half and been more effective but it’s moments like this, that stand out as curiously out of place, that endear the director’s work to so many of us. Plenty of post-production dubbing is obvious, but when much of the footage shows the actors from behind (another curiously bad technique) it’s likely that this was done to salvage the film rather than out of artistic intent.

    In the end the film is interesting more than it is entertaining. It’s far from provocative in this day and age and instead functions more as a time capsule of sorts. Wishman fans will certainly devour it as her stamp is all over the film but to call the picture good in the traditional sense of the word would be lying. It’s a horrible film, but it does have its charm and its place in history.

    Hideout In The Sun - DVD Review:

    Hideout In The Sun looks pretty good in this 1.33.1 fullframe transfer (the film’s original aspect ratio left intact) save for the fact that once again the transfer has not been properly flagged for progressive scan, a common problem with E.I. releases. Taken from the only known surviving elements (Wishman’s own 16mm print) the movie looks pretty good despite some splices and scratches here and there. Colors are strong though flesh tones look just a little orange. Black levels fare reasonably well and detail levels, for an older nudie cutie, are solid. An alternate 1.78.1 anamorphic widescreen version of the film is also included on the second disc. While this version is cropped, the differences are pretty minor as all we’re missing for the most part is superfluous headroom at the top of the frame.

    The English language Dolby Digital Mono mix on this disc has a bit of hiss in some scenes but is otherwise pretty decent. The score sounds good and the dialogue is always easy to understand. Levels do fluctuate a tad from time to time but these fluctuations are minor – don’t expect reference quality but fans of vintage exploitation films will find nothing to complain about here.

    Here’s where this release really excels. Aside from the fullframe and widescreen versions of the movie, we’re also treated to a great audio commentary track (over the fullframe version only) courtesy of Wishman biographer Michael J. Bowen joined by the mysterious Ash Spicer. Anyone who has heard Bowen talk about Wishman (he provided the commentary on Let Me Die A Woman for Synapse) before knows that the guy knows his stuff and the pair provide an interesting discussion about where this film falls in Wishmans’ filmography and do a good job of explaining its unusual history.

    Also on Disc One is a great seven-minute video interview with Wishman, conducted in 1998, where she talks about her career with a wicked sense of humor and a fairly honest attitude. A quick, six minute video interview with David Friedman allows the infamous exploitation mogul to talk about his relationship with the late Ms. Wishman. He tells a few fun stories and both interviews add some value to the package. Less interesting but still keen as a curiosity item is a vintage newsreel from 1960 that helps to put the time that the film was made into perspective.

    Closing off the first disc are trailers for other Retro-Seduction-Cinema releases like The Sexploiters, The Sexperts, as well as Sarno’s Moonlighting Wives, Inga, Swedish Wildcats and The Seduction Of Inga.

    Disc two contains Postcards From A Nudist Camp, which is basically a twenty-seven minute compilation of clips from various older European nudie films set to music and sound effects. There’s no real plot here but it is genuinely amusing to watch some of this material, time has not been so kind to it. A few more trailers are also found on this disc so watch for promo spots for Sarno’s Daddy Darling as well as Naughty Nudes of the Sixties, The Busty Stags Collection and The Curiously Obsessive Peepshow.

    Inside the packaging (a slipcase over a two-disc keepcase featuring identical artwork) is a great little booklet of liner notes from Bowen who details the origins of the film and how it came to be released. Also in here is the transcription of an interview Bowen did with Wishman before she passed away.

    Hideout In The Sun - The Final Word:

    Doris Wishman’s obscure directorial debut gets a very respectful release from Retro-Seduction-Cinema that presents the picture in decent quality and with plenty of interesting extras to accompany it. The film itself is important more for its historical significance than anything else but it’s still a fun and harmless little trash film that serves as a rather charming time capsule of a bygone era. If that’s too pretentious for you, watch it for the naked ladies.