Erotic Salad - by Al Hansen
A first feature length film by Robert Robert, a tall, lean Jimm Stewart shaped filmmaker, has lumped and humped a fantastic number of ideas and laughs and sexy broads into Erotic Salad.
They say young novelists and filmmakers always make the mistake of getting encyclopedic. Well, Erotic Salad could be accused of being an encyclopedic sexploitation film because there aren't many perversions or fetishes he has left out.
And we saw it at a sexploitation house, but it is more than that because Robert Robert is a contemporary guy and his filmic expression manifests a hip, tough, sardonic look at today's ideas about identity crises, creative expression itself, and through all of these we see Robert making fun of us and himself. We are all in this together and why can't it be a groove? Are answers necessary?
The main character is a weak cripple in a wheelchair, a camera freak for whom his expensive 35mm camera and photo mags are like security blankets. He never leaves the house, and who would dress up for him?
So his wife is into this hair in a bun slattern thing. Each continually fantasizes. The wife is into flagrant sex fantasies in any direction avilable. Her reading matter is sexual also. The cripple is asexual and in his fantasies he is always Mr. Kleshay (cliche, of course), a crisp, perhaps closet queen dynamic pro picture shooter whose office is tended by a marvelous little fuck-you-baby mod honeybun secretary.
One of the whirligigs within the whirligigs (where Genet's whirligigs are around reality and homosexuality, Robert's are about the unreality of undertaking to investigate reality) is a spoof of David Hemmings in Blowup, the Antonioni B movie.
Dan Landau is the cripple and also Mr. Kleshay: "O.K.'s not art" and "I can't drink water without a pill." His wife Virginia and several other dynamite chicks are hard to figure out, as all used phony names because of identity crises caused by appearing nude in a film Mom and Dad might hear about. They are a GM carload of goodlooking broads and if you dig women and hip lines, this movie is loaded with them.
It's not a slick film. It's from downtown, and it's a rough underground job. Absolutely no chromium plating. You recognize a lot of people from the "loft belt" and gallery going, and Max's Kansas City.
It's a lot like jazz - it has that kind of honesty and flow-sie. If Robert runs out of glue he uses staples, or tape or rope or a nail... a lot of times he seems to get it going again by kicking it, you understand what I'm saying?
A great double bill would be Erotic Salad with And Brand, Wynn Chamberlain's underground spoof of TV commercials that picks up this side of the line that Putney Swope doesn't cross.
One name I'm sure of is sultry, undulating, perverse Samantha Face who is the head fetishist - another is one of the biggest potential film talents around. She is a little dynamite blonde named Patti D'Arbanville, who always uses her own name.
Patti is a native Village kid who, if she gets it together, will be a very big name in movies or show business or whatever direction she points her head in. She plays the Lolita-Annie Fanny version of Shirley Temple as the go-fuck-yourself mod bird secretary.
(Reprinted from the East Village newspaper KISS - April, 1970)