Lobotomy Room Goes to the Movies is the film club devoted to Bad Movies We Love (our motto: Bad Movies for Bad People), with an emphasis on the cult, the queer and the kitsch. This month we’re really scraping the barrel with perhaps the worst film we’ve screened to date – Mae West’s infamous final film Sextette (1978)! Wednesday 23 November in the basement Bamboo Lounge of Fontaine's! Think of it as an unintended camp classick – or a freaky Diane Arbus photograph come to life!
Full respect to screen legend Mae West (1893 – 1980): in her thirties heyday, she was a gleeful pioneer of sexual liberation and a true original who wrote all her own wisecracking material. West was also one hip cosmopolitan sister, drawing on African-American and queer subcultures for inspiration. By 1978 though the desiccated 84-year old diva was living in a seriously self-enchanted bubble (think Nora Desmond in Sunset Boulevard) with a seemingly shaky grasp on reality.
Persuaded to make one last film, the geriatric sex kitten made zero concessions to her advanced age and cast herself as a much-lusted after bombshell surrounded by besotted male admirers (in some cases young enough to be her grandsons). Leading man is 34-year old Timothy Dalton as her husband - 50 years her junior. (Presumably the future James Bond would love to burn every last negative of Sextette in existence! The truly oddball cast also includes Ringo Starr, Alice Cooper, Keith Moon, Tony Curtis and George Hamilton).
/ “She won’t be satisfied until she’s loved by all mankind - one man at a time!”/
Bewigged, carefully shot in ultra-soft-focus, virtually immobile and never making eye contact with any of her co-stars, West frequently looks like she has been mummified or taxidermied. Just how nuts was West? When West and Dalton duet on the Captain and Tennille soft rock hit “Love Will Keep Us Together” (did I mention Sextette is a musical?), West insisted the original lyric “young and beautiful / someday your looks will be gone” be changed to “young and beautiful / your looks will never be gone!”
/ Any gerontophiles out there? /
Fun facts: Sextette is directed by Ken Hughes – who also directed sixties children’s classic Chitty Chitty Bang Bang! The awful musical numbers are choreographed by the same guy who did The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins! West’s gowns are by legendary Hollywood costume designer Edith Head! In the segment where West serenades a gang of semi-naked bodybuilders, some of the baby-oiled muscle men are alumni from the world of seventies gay porn! For everyone involved, Sextette represents the nadir of their careers!
/ Who's up for an evening of old-school muscle worship, Mae West style? /
Gasp in astonishment at the mind-boggling Sextette – one of the most wildly misjudged films ever made! See the movie that made The New York Times declare, “Granny should have her mouth washed out with soap, along with her teeth!"
Wednesday 23 November at Fontaine's. Admission: Free! Doors to the Bamboo Lounge open at 8 pm. Film starts at 8:30 pm. Arrive early, order your cockails and venture downstairs: I'll be projecting grainy black and white vintage homo porn and playing punk music before the film starts.
The trailer for Sextette:
Read more about celluloid atrocity Sextette here