Jack Garner: Cinema, Dryden will screen films by B-movie maestros

05:00 AM, Aug 31, 2013

"Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" (1970), directed by Russ Meyer and written by the late Roger Ebert, focuses on the Carrie Nations, a band searching for fame and fortune in Los Angeles. It screens Sept. 28 at the Dryden Theatre. (20th Century Fox/Photofest)/


Written By Jack Garner

We’re talkin’ trash in this week’s column.

Well, in truth, the movies showcased aren’t trash to everyone. Many people think they’re good films, maybe even great films. And many hold the filmmakers — Russ Meyer and Roger Corman — in high regard. In fact, Corman is coming to Rochester in November to receive the prestigious George Eastman Award.

But first, Russ Meyer is the center of attention at “Frank De Blase Presents: Sin-o-matic Night at the Cinema,” a slate of sleazy mayhem at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Cinema Theatre, 957 S. Clinton Ave. Scheduled is the Meyer classic, Faster Pussy Cat! Kill! Kill!, a $45,000 B-movie from 1965 that is often cited as the masterpiece of the sexploitation genre of films.

Starring the buxom babes that are typical of a Meyer film, it offers action, explosions, cornball dialogue, and a crazy script. If you do consider it a bad film, it’s a gem of a wildly entertaining bad film. Some, however, think it is celluloid genius. Sleaze-master director John Waters (of Polyester and Pink Flamingos) has called Pussy Cat “the greatest film of all time.”

Meyer is most famous for his use of super-buxom starlets in his films. The late Roger Ebert says Meyer once told him, “What the public wants are big laughs and big (breasts) and lots of ‘em. Lucky for me that’s what I like, too.”

De Blase’s Sin-o-Matic Night will also include animation from well-known local animator and caricaturist David Cowles, posters available for signing by Doug Mac, and copies of De Blase’s new book, Pine Box for a Pin-up.

De Blase promises more Sin-o-matic nights with B-movie classics and sexploitation gems in months to come.

Admission is $10, and advance tickets are available at the Cinema box office. Proceeds will go to outfitting the Cinema with a new digital projector.

Meyer fans — new or experienced — will also note that his Beyond the Valley of the Dolls is being shown at the Eastman House Dryden Theatre at 8 p.m. Sept. 28, as the fifth of five female ensemble features in its “Before Bridesmaids” series screening this month.

Beyond the Valley of the Dolls brings us Carrie Nations, an all-girl rock band heading to Los Angeles in search of fame. Interestingly, this film features a rare script by Roger Ebert, and is considered the first foray into sexploitation by a major Hollywood studio (20th Century Fox).

ROGER CORMAN is coming to Rochester on Nov. 2 to receive the George Eastman Award. If you find yourself wondering why the director of X: The Man with the X-ray Eyes and A Bucket of Blood will join the company of Martin Scorsese, Audrey Hepburn, Meryl Streep, and Jimmy Stewart, consider this:

• Corman has also been a distributor and made sure American audiences got to see Francois Truffaut’s The Story of Adele H, Ingmar Bergman’s Autumn Sonata, and the German classic, The Tin Drum.

Corman gave early jobs to and helped launch the careers of Scorsese, Jack Nicholson, Francis Ford Coppola, Jonathan Demme, Ron Howard, Peter Bogdanovich, Peter Fonda, James Cameron, Joe Dante, John Sayles and Robert Towne.

• He taught them and other future filmmakers economical and efficient ways to make movies.

• His early biker films, like The Wild Angels and The Trip paved the way for the American classic Easy Rider.

• Corman created a series of eight entertaining Edgar Allan Poe adaptations, including House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Raven, and The Masque of the Red Death, giving late-career jobs to veteran actors Vincent Price and Peter Lorre, among others.

As an Eastman House spokesman said, “When Corman receives the George Eastman Award, he will be honored for many things.”

As a lead-up to the Corman honor, the Dryden will screen a number of films, including The Story of Adele H, Autumn Sonata, The Tin Drum, A Bucket of Blood, X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes, The Wild Angels, The Trip, The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, The Raven, House of Usher, and The Intruder.

And don’t miss the superb newly created documentary Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel, being shown with Bucket of Blood as a double feature at 8 p.m. Oct. 3.

For schedules, go todryden.eastmanhouse.org.