Festival Girls, The (1962)

2.0 out of 5

The Festival Girls, an Italian and American exploitation quickie, was the final film for director Leigh Jason and following in the wake of The Choppers starring Arch Hall Jr. Starring Barbara Valentin, the pneumatic Austrian star of Radley Metzger's Carmen Baby, this self-reflexive feature mines a similar rich seam to that of the work of Russ Meyer as our starlet is shown lounging around in underwear and bikini's as the camera plays upon and dwells upon her physical form.

Featuring stock footage inserted for a Venice Film Festival scene we get treated to a surprising amount of topless action and rear shot nude scenes in an extended strip-club segment along with cat-fights, fast cars and other assorted cheap thrill action. With a taglines claiming that the film was banned "even in Europe" and wilder than La Dolce Vita this is a film aware of it's core audience and is suitably pitched.

An approximation to The Hucklebuck is played at a genre typical wild party and the film resolves itself on a crowd pleasing high note. With the production values of Rock Rock Rock! and largely pedestrian performances all round this was a film that was unlikely to take second prize at the Venice Film Festival as we are expected to believe that the even more wooden film within a film did.

Fans of vintage drive in type fare albeit with a certain dirty mac brigade orientation should lap up this one and this would appeal to those who enjoyed Lorna or vintage norkfests such as Mondo Topless.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics