Sunday, January 04, 2009

Like A Crow On A June Bug

Spent the eve of Jan first watching three films in a row and then the eve of the second day repeating that habit.

One of the choice picks was Sixteen (aka Like A Crow On A June Bug), a film that I thought was going to be some sex-hicksploitation, but was much more sensitive than I expected.

Ma and Pa Irtley and their kin are handed eight thousand dollars for land rights to permit a new highway to go through their southern backwater habitat. The folks don't squander the money, but take the highway bus to a midway fair that has hit town. This is truly the first taste of "living it up" that they have had. Their youngest, J.C. (named after a sale that was on at J.C. Penny a week after his birth) goes on all the rides and gets sticky with cotton candy while the budding sexpot Naomi and Bruvver (her chaperone brother) start out exploring the fair together, only to get separated in the night.

The lost and distraught (following a nasty freak out in the haunted house) Naomi is taken in by a seemlingly helpful and caring daredevil motorcycle rider who deflowers her after hours in the fairground (in front of an audience of leering carnies). Meanwhile Bruvver becomes prey to a busty sideshow stripper, after the family's cash. After our rural Adam and Eve both bite into that apple of sin, they bring the devil back home with them.

is a simple morality tale playing out in a pocket of untouched old south that has since been lost. Looking at the various comments on the IMDB, this film seems to be lost on most viewers. Mercedes McCambridge (who provided Linda Blair's demonic voice in The Exorcist) plays Ma Irtley and gives a stern and strong performance (not at all looking like one IMDB comment claim that she, "Walks through this with a decidedly uneasy look...she must have been hard-up for fifty bucks when she agreed to star in this one.") and Simone Griffeth (Naomi) went on to play Sly Stallone's sexy navigator in Death Race 2000. Director Lawrence Dobkin had a long career as both a TV actor and director from 1958 til 2001 and was one of the narrator for the hit television series "Naked City" (1958) (1958-1963), who spoke one of the most memorable tag lines in the history of television: "There are eight million stories in the Naked City. This has been one of them".

Filmed in Valdosta, Georgia, Sixteen used many locals as actors, but when the film made its world premiere in Valdosta and was very much disliked by everyone who felt that it portrayed their lands and being populated by hicks. Touchy! Check the IMDB for comments from some of them. Wonder when the little burg got access to the information highway?

And I feel like I gotta say, found this over on Cinemageddon...

1 comment:

Michael said...

I had no idea that was Simone Griffeth! I was too taken with her outfit to read the fine print.

And what an amazing aka title!