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Take Me Naked / A Thousand Pleasures 
Written by: on September 13th, 2009

Theatrical Release Dates: USA, 1966 (Take Me Naked), USA, 1968 (A Thousand Pleasures)
Directors: Michael Findlay, Roberta Findlay (Take Me Naked), Michael Findlay (A Thousand Pleasures)
Writers: Michael Findlay, Roberta Findlay (Take Me Naked), Berla L. Moke (A Thousand Pleasures)
Cast: Kevin Sullivan, Roberta Findlay, Michael Findlay, Sally Farb, Bert Gray, June Roberts, Darlene Bennett, Bob Goon (Take Me Naked), Janet Banzet, Uta Erickson, Michael Findlay, Linda Boyce, Kim Lewid, Donna Stone, John Amero, Roberta Findlay (A Thousand Pleasures)

DVD released: September 21st, 2004
Approximate running time: 69 Minutes (Take Me Naked), 70 Minutes (A Thousand Pleasures)
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame (Both Films)
Rating: NR
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English (Both Films)
Subtitles: N/A
DVD Release: Something Weird Video / Image Entertainment
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $9.98

For the uninitiated, the team of Michael and Roberta Findlay were top dog in the realm of NYC roughies. These are sexploitation dramas with lots of nudity, misogynistic violence, and lesbianism. There are seven films in the cycle, all in B&W, and all directed by Michael as Julian Marsh; Body Of A Female, Take Me Naked, The Touch of Her Flesh, The Curse of Her Flesh, A Thousand Pleasures, The Kiss Of Her Flesh, The Ultimate Degenerate.

With Body Of A Female currently lost (remade as The Ultimate Degenerate), Take Me Naked is atypical but provides glimpses of themes and styles that would be ‘fleshed out’ with the next film, Touch Of Her Flesh. Michael appears in a supporting role while his wino friend peeps on a lonely lesbian next door. That frequently nude neighbor is non other that Roberta Findlay!  Roberta is ‘pleasingly plump’, but she also has an intensity that compensates for her ‘average’ beauty. Only glimpses can be found of her in the subsequent features, making this appearance very revealing. Take Me Naked is more an art film, the ‘soundtrack’ being readings from classical poetry (!), the lesbian scenes are rather tame and filmed through a frosted lens, and the violence is limited but still packs a punch.  For Touch Of Her Flesh, Michael Findlay moves into the starring psycho role while Roberta moves behind the scenes to helm the excellent cinematography. They would maintain this formula for the other films in the cycle.

The central theme throughout the ‘Julian Marsh’ cycle seems to be that women wrongfully excite men who cannot have them because they really all want to be lesbians, anyway. A Thousand Pleasures ratchets this up to the point where a lesbian couple needs a ‘sperm donor’ so they can found an Amazonian society with no males. They do tolerate the gay chauffeur / henchman, who is just one of the truly bizarre characters in residence.  These include a full grown retarded woman called ‘Baby’ who sleeps in her crib (think John Waters saw this?), her nanny Belle, and the voluptuous and sex obsessed Anne, later dubbed ‘Boobarella’ by Findlay’s character.

The DVD:

Something Weird has found access to original negatives of many films that were previously though lost, including the three ‘Flesh Trilogy’ films, and that appears to be the case here. When Belle reads magazines you can read over her shoulder. Full screen B&W and the dialog is exceptionally clear for post-synched audio. The soundtrack is classical library music with a soul / pop number by the Bit-A-Sweet.

The ‘Flesh Trilogy’ disc from Image /  Something Weird had no extras, but this one is chock full. First, trailers for all the films mentioned here except ‘Curse’, plus Sin Syndicate and Satan’s Bed. Also two segments from features, one from Mnasidika (1969) which is a color reworking of themes from Take Me Naked via the Sons of Hercules.

Each of these films improves upon the former in terms of production values, cohesive narrative, effective editing, and especially violence and sexual depravity. Given this upward trend (in quality, at least), it seems obvious that The Ultimate Degenerate was filmed between Pleasure and Curse, leaving A Thousand Pleasures and Kiss of Her Flesh as the ultimate products in the evolution of the Findlay B&W roughie.

NOTE: The Something Weird / Image partnership has expired, but most of the catalog is currently available at discounted prices. This disc and the ‘Flesh Trilogy’ are both highly recommended (but not to everyone), and the Ultimate Degenerate is also available to complete your collection. Please refer to the Findlay reviews at DVD Drive-in for in-depth and authoritative analysis. That’s where I found out about them.

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