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Private Parts (1972)

Cast: Gene Simms, Gene Simms, John Ventantonio, more...
Director: Paul Bartel, Paul Bartel
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Warner Home Video
Genre: Comedies, Black Comedy
Running Time: 86 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
    see additional details...

A teenage runaway gets more than she bargained for when she moves into an old hotel in this wildly offbeat shocker from director Paul Bartel. Cheryl (Ayn Ruymen) fled an unhappy home in Ohio for the sunny skies of California with her best friend in tow; however, after they have a falling out, Cheryl is left with no place to stay. Remembering that her Aunt Martha (Lucille Benson) runs a hotel, Cheryl arrives at the King Edward, a decaying residential inn located in one of L.A.'s less desirable neighborhoods, and persuades Martha to give her a room for a few days. Cheryl soon discovers the King Edward is home to a wide variety of eccentrics -- defrocked priests with muscle-men fetishes, falling-down alcoholics, senile old women, and a voyeuristic photographer named George (John Ventantonio). Cheryl, who indulges her own voyeuristic impulses by sneaking into the rooms of her fellow boarders, is attracted to George and enjoys playing dress-up as he watches her though a peephole, despite Aunt Martha's warnings not to interact with the other guests. But when Cheryl decides to cross the line into physical action with George, she learns his obsessions are more dangerous than she imagined -- and that both he and Aunt Martha have some rather surprising secrets. Private Parts was cult figure Paul Bartel's first feature film; it was produced for MGM, but was released through their Premier Productions subsidiary, perhaps in deference to the film's kinky sexual content. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Martha My Dear by DLeonard April 15, 2008 - 6:39 PM PDT
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
They don't make 'em like this anymore.

Private Parts was the first feature film for Paul (Eating Raoul) Bartel, and it is an odd little film combining elements of 70's exploitation, Bartel's usual luridness and dark humor, and some genuinely creepy situations.

Acting slightly more na´ve than she actually is, Cheryl has become a resident of her aunt Martha's seedy and eccentric filled Los Angeles hotel. While most of the folk Cheryl meets seem harmless enough, someone is going around hacking up nosy visitors. The plot may be a familiar one, but this movie will take you places you could never imagine, mostly due to the strange relationship that emerges between Cheryl and George, a neighbor who is an avid photographer.

For a 70's cheapie, the film looks great, and it completely captures the grimy feel of its hotel setting. As Cheryl playfully makes her way through the locked doors of her neighbors, it's easy to become anxious wondering what she may encounter. The cast on a whole is also exceptional with Lucille Benson as Aunt Martha a particular stand out. Lucille Benson's portrayal is an expert mix of sweetness and an unsettling sternness.

This is the type of unusual gem that just isn't made these days.

Similar to:
Eating Raoul - Once again Bartel mixes ghoulish humor and kink in his story of the na´ve Blands stuck in a world of swingers.

The Tenant - Polanski's thriller also incorporates an odd building filled with eccentrics.

May - The relationship of Cheryl and George plays close to being the inverse of May and Adam.

Monsieur Hire - A much darker exploration of voyeurism.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.70)
10 Votes
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