Erotic Salad - the Movie - featuring Patti D'Arbanville
Shot well over 30 years ago, in the late 1960s, Erotic Salad stands as an historically unique film. First of all, it depicts New York City in the "swinging 60s", when everything was "Mod", and "SoHo" was merely "Soho". But more importantly, it reflects the early days of the so-called "Sexual Revolution".
It is also a film that does not take itself too seriously. Taking a poke at everything from Playboy Magazine to Antonioni's Blowup, to the reigning "pop psychologists" of the 60s (who assured us that in matters of sex, "anybody can do anything he or she wants as long as it doesn't hurt the other person"), Erotic Salad is definitely "one of a kind" - a sort of cinematic "Mad Magazine", with the impudence, humor, and sometimes devastating insights of the under thirty generation.
Erotic Salad was a "crossover" film. One that used young, amateur actors, had a tiny budget, and so, by definition, was part of NYC's avant-garde "underground" film genre: inventive, irreverent, and always challenging the "status quo".
Erotic Salad is all these things, but was unique, because it was also a 35mm feature film - one of the first feature films to depict nudity in a casual, matter-of-fact manner. In the final scene of the film, for example, nine young attractive men and women (completely nude), perform on the stage of Bill Graham's Fillmore East. In filming this scene alone, Erotic Salad pushed the envelope with regard to the existing repressive obscenity laws governing feature films. Laws which were sacrosanct, inviolate, and had been on the books, literally, since the invention of the movie camera.
Interestingly, Erotic Salad was made well over a year before Playboy Magazine dared to show pubic hair. Soon after the release of Erotic Salad in 1967, it started to become acceptable to permit full frontal nudity in a publicly exhibited feature film.
Written, directed, and photographed in 1967 by the late filmmaker and artist Robert Robert (a long-time resident of Greenwich Village and SoHo, from the early 1960s until his tragic death in 1998 in a scuba diving accident in the Caribbean), Erotic Salad was shown briefly in 1967 at Greenwich Village's Bleecker Street Cinema, and then played at the Cameo Theater in New York City in early 1970. Later that year the film mysteriously disappeared, until a video copy was discovered 25 years later while Robert was cleaning out a cluttered closet in his apartment.
Making use of off-Broadway actors, Erotic Salad featured Daniel Landau in the role of Martin Kleshay, confined to a wheelchair and lost in fantasies of being a great photographer for the imaginary erotic magazine Fettish.
Also featured in Erotic Salad is Patti D'Arbanville, in her first known film performance, a year before her 1968 appearance in Paul Morrissey's film Flesh (also known as Andy Warhol's Flesh). Patti went on to a successful acting career, appearing in numerous films and TV shows during the next three decades.
Technical assistance was provided by filmmaker Bruce Torbet, writer and producer of the excellent, but virtually unknown, 1967 documentary film Superartist - Andy Warhol, featuring Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick at work on some of Warhol's film projects at the Factory.