Written by: Carroll Jenkins on December 30th, 2014
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1965
Director: William L. Rose
Writer: William Rose
Cast: Barbara Wood, Frank Spencer, Gary Takata, Darlene Bennett, June Roberts, Judy Adler
DVD released: May 15th, 2012
Approximate running time: 77 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Something Weird Video
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $14.98
Synopsis: A gal on her own in the Big Apple has trouble finding work until she borrows a cup of sugar from the loft apartment upstairs.
Never accept sweets from strangers. The core plot is essentially the same as the earlier Scum Of The Earth, but the bedevilment is in the details.
This particular excursion into sleazy NYC roughie territory is played much more tongue-in-cheek than most of it’s ilk; though the humor is strictly deadpan and infused with tension and sleaze factors that are both diminished and enhanced by the sometimes frivolous soundtrack. There is a linear storyline with live sound for many sections but also some voice-over narration and some ‘silent’ sections with only musical accompaniment. Many of the segments / vignettes are not necessary to the plot but do contribute to the ambience of the overall product and proffer some of the most iconic actresses in the NYC underground ‘roughie’ film scene. Darlene Bennett has a delirious segment where her customer binds her in a garage and hoses her down via a standard garden spray nozzle. June Roberts appears with other two other starlet models of the era in a game of strip pool (billiards), one dude against three girls. One of them actually knows how to bridge her fingers appropriately and would have wiped the table clean, but in this male fantasy come to life the dude never even has to remove his tie. It even brags a glimpse of Gigi Darlene (Bad Girls Go To Hell) as a party guest sitting on a couch during the mind boggling grand finale party.
This film is obviously a labor of love by producer / writer / director William Rose (The Girl in Room 2A). He was also an accomplished cinematographer (Olga’s Girls as Werner Rose) and he no doubt had quite a big say in all aspects of production including cinematography which is sometimes excellent. He realizes solid performances from the entire cast.
A nice print that is quite enjoyable. There is some light speckling damage present and the image could be sharper and blacks more pronounced. There are some jumps and splice cuts, but these minor imperfections are what grade it as a ‘nice’ quality presentation.
The primary cruelty on display, apart from the implied prostitution, is forced bondage and punishment. That was also a primary factor in the later Mondo Keyhole, which shares many other aspects with Rent-A-Girl. Both films are rather genteel and disturbingly depraved at once, and both are highly enjoyable and recommended as such.
Note: Tim Lucas singled June Roberts out as ‘the ultimate Something Weird girl’ in his tribute to Mike Vraney. Quote: [Arguably, Something Weird’s most important salvage has been nearly all of what is known about that group of films called “roughies,” a black-and-white repository for postwar sexual aggression that, once revealed, demonstrated unsuspected ties to 1930’s and ’40s film serials, 1950s and ’60s men’s magazines, an occasional parallel to 1960s gore cinema, and a clear predecessor to the bolder horror cinema that followed in the 1970’s.] His article is available HERE.