Starring: Max Gillies; Serge Lazareff
Director: Richard Franklin
Rated: R (18+)
Distributor: Madman Entertainment/AV Channe
On Tuesday 12th April on Showtime I’ll be presenting Richard Franklin’s latest outing Visitors and, in preparation for the accompanying interview with the Melbourne-based director, I watched his very first film The True Adventures of Eskimo Nell. Made in the early ’70s this bawdy, black and white buddy flick is loosely based on a ballad about a notorious Inuit ‘womper’, or insatiable sex pot. But does my namesake really exist or is she a figment of a one-eyed voyeur’s imagination?
In the film, the first verse of the infamous poem is recited:
When a man grows old and his balls go cold and the end of his prick goes blue,
And it bends in the middle like a two-string fiddle, he can tell you a tale or two.
School boy humour? You bet, complete with a steady stream of fart jokes. However the R rating unfortunately excludes its target audience. Franklin says that it was conceived as a Western Comedy along the lines of Blazing Saddles but it doesn’t deliver nearly as many rip snorting gags as that Mel Brooks classic.
What this film is most widely remembered for is a full frontal appearance by the then sex bomb extraordinaire – Abigail from TV’s Number 96. She plays Esmerelda, the spirit of the leopard, who pops out of a box with our leading man Mexico Pete (Serge Lazareff) during a sideshow performance absolutely starkers . When she saw the scene on the big screen she ran to the Murdoch press and attacked Franklin with the alluring banner headline; ‘He Used My Body’.
This, of course, was the era of the blokey Australian larrikin with characters like Bazza McKenzie and Hoges leading the charge. Compared to those dubious role models, Mexico Pete and Dead Eye Dick (Max Gillies) seem quite tame. Still, they have their moments and along with Sprogga (Graham Bond) add their names to the list of characters who defined the prevailing culture. There are some token women, foremost among them being the titular Nell, played in flashbacks and dream sequences by Victoria Anoux who, incidentally, is film reviewer Peter Thompson’s beautiful wife. Nell also appears in the form Paddy Madden, a significantly more buxom wench from Canada. The film is part of ‘The Sexy Oz Retro Collection’ which also includes the sex comedies Fantasm Comes Again and Pacific Banana, starring Graham Blundell. For a glimpse into our horny heritage check out the entire set.