Friday, November 2, 2007

No. 22 - Inserts

Before Boogie Nights, there was John Byrum's 1976 film Inserts. Byrum wrote the Diana Ross vehicle Mahogany, then turned to the bygone world of Hollywood film making in the 1930's for his directorial debut. In his first film since Jaws, Richard Dreyfuss is Boy Wonder, a wunderkind auteur from the silent era who has fallen upon hard times with the inception of sound. He churns out stag films in order to stay afloat in booze.

What is noteworthy about this film is that it's an X-rated film that was released by a major studio, United Artists. And it certainly deserves its classification. This is not a film that Michael Medved would want to show to his grandma.

There were a number of 70's films that were set in 30's Hollywood, including Day of the Locust, W.C. Fields and Me, Gable and Lombard and Won Ton Ton, The Dog Who Save Hollywood. Perhaps the success of The Sting prompted this deluge of 30's-set films. Perhaps there was a feeling that the 70's had some sort of kinship with the 30's. In any event, this particular sub-genre came to a close by 1976. Inserts might be the last major studio film to carry the dreaded X, which was replaced by the equally dreaded NC-17.

No comments: