Written by: Carroll Jenkins on June 27th, 2010
Theatrical Release Dates: USA, 1966 (Unholy Matrimony), USA, 1968 (My Third Wife George)
Directors: Arthur John (Unholy Matrimony), Harry Kerwin (My Third Wife George)
Writers: Forest Russell (Unholy Matrimony), Edmund Kerwin, Wayne Rafferty (My Third Wife George)
Cast: Billy Green Bushk, Monica Davis, Alan Dellay, Uta Erickson, Barbara Kemp, Sharon Kent, David Kirk, Patricia McNair, Lane Smith, Sam Stewart (Unholy Matrimony), William Kerwin, Ingrid Kerr, Duke Moberdy, Joseph Sexhauer, Doug Blake, Regina Koo, Erika Von Zaros (My Third Wife George)
DVD released: June 5th, 2007
Approximate running times: 78 Minutes (Unholy Matrimony), 70 Minutes (My Third Wife George)
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame (Both Films)
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English (Both Films)
DVD Release: Something Weird Video / Image Entertainment
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $9.98
Unholy Matrimony: A newspaper editor planning to publish an article on wife-swapping is strong-armed in an alley. Now determined, he assigns his ace reporter (who enlists his reluctant girlfriend) to infiltrate the scene and expose the swinger blackmail racketeers.
This is a great B&W noirish feature with stark photography and camera angles. The script is quite sophisticated and humorous, in a sleazy and crude way, of course. The biggest downsides are the moderately long office talk / exposition scenes and the rather drab library jazz background, but when it’s cooking it smokes. Also the lead actress never fully reveals her hidden charms (lots of other starlets do, however).
The leads are good and play their parts appropriately, but it is the episodic set pieces and the incredible supporting cast, many of whom went on to long careers in television, that really stand out. Billy ‘Green’ Bush (The Savage Seven) has his hands full in a bedroom scene. It’s so ‘realistic’ he has to hold his knee in a cover position even though he’s wearing boxer shorts. Uta Erikson (A Thousand Pleasures) is striking as a cowgirl wielding a whip after her guests have been given LSD spiked champagne. But the show-stopper of the film is the car keys party, which includes Lane Smith (Over The Edge) as one of the husbands. The admission price is fully justified by the pool party and the underwater topless loop-the-loop swimming. Great breast stroke.
Uta Erikson appeared in most of Michael Findlay’s roughies, and Unholy Matrimony has two scenes that qualify for that label: a nightmare rape, and the LSD enhanced S&M sequence. The other prime influence is the crime procedural that came late in the noir cycle, such as Without Warning. Parkway recording artists The Warmest Spring appear; too bad they didn’t play the punkier flip side (Hard, Hard Girl) instead.
My Third Wife George: A 40 year old virgin learns about sex, but not much about relationships. He learns how to drink a lot, too.
No gore here from schlockmeister H. G. Lewis (Blood Feast, Two Thousand Maniacs), but this is a very credible sex comedy. Shot in black and white in Florida, it features ample nudity and a rather convoluted plot (considering the source). LSD comes again into play as our Walter Mitty type lead gets practically raped by three hippie girls. He is forced to have sex with his temporary secretary at gun point while a photographer takes pictures for his wife to get a divorce settlement. The assorted and bizarre situations are all done with tongue planted firmly in cheek (though there is other tongue action displayed as well).
Both are typical Image / Something Weird special editions: full screen, with no subtitles or closed captions. The image is sharper on Unholy Matrimony, while the audio fares better for My Third Wife George. Of course, that’s not a fair comparison since Unholy is live sound and Wife is silent with overdub narration except for a few scenes (mostly in the bar). Extras include a nudist wedding where the colonists congratulate the happy couple. Lots of old men and young beauties parade past the camera. The best part is where a female visually appraises the groom’s equipment and then smiles her approval.
A great B&W softcore double feature from the roughie era; one from New York and the other from Florida, this release is full of surprises.
Note: the Image / Something Weird partnership has expired, but most releases are currently available at reduced prices (including the official Something Weird site). Until they go OOP, that is.