Peek-a-Boo

1953

Comedy / Musical

0
IMDb Rating 4.3 10 27

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
December 29, 2021 at 06:28 PM

Director

Cast

720p.BLU
634.89 MB
968*720
English 2.0
NR
24 fps
1 hr 9 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by tavm 6 / 10

Peek a Boo was okay for a filmed burlesque show

This is the last of the vintage films of burlesque shows I've been watching on a DVD full of them. There's comics, some singers, some legitimate dancing, and then there's lots of girls stripping to their pasties in varying quality. Some are pretty big but they give their all for the camera and audience though there isn't one for the filming. There seem to be some close-ups but for the most part, it's stationary in capturing the entire stage. I think I would have preferred more close-ups during some of the group dance sequences. The comedy routines are pretty funny if you're in the mood enough for what is presented on stage. I think I liked the last strip routine the most. So on that note, I say Peek a Boo is worth a look.

Reviewed by Michael-W 5 / 10

Comedy is salty, but strips hurt by recorded music

The following review is based on Something Weird Video VHS tape # 4117. "Peek-A-Boo" is also available on DVD from SWV as the second feature to "Hollywood Burlesque." The DVD version does not include Patti Waggin's strip act (0:53:40 on VHS).

This is an actual burlesque show, filmed in 1953 at the New Follies Theater at 5th and Main in Los Angeles, California. It is not a drama or a documentary, it is what you would have seen if you'd been sitting in the theater. The big difference from a regular show is that there's no audience. There is some topless nudity and sexually suggestive dancing, but no full nudity or pornography.

If I had to pick one word to describe this movie I would say: "Disappointing." It has all the ingredients for a good show but they don't pan out. The main fault is the music. Many burlesque movies used recorded music; sometimes the pit band (pre-recorded), sometimes just phonograph records. That let the filmmaker call directions to the stripper (don't know why that was necessary) and gave them perfectly-synched audio cheap. Trouble is, a large part of the stripper's impact was the live drummer catching her bumps and kicks with ad-libbed rimshots and cymbal crashes. When they just play the sheet music it loses that emphasis. Can't tell exactly what they did with this movie, but the piano is way too heavy, just crashing loud, and there are almost no drums. You hear a drummer in the chorus routines, but with a few exceptions none of the strip music has rimshots, there isn't one cymbal crash, in fact there may not even be the thump of a bass. Burlesque without drums is like flamenco without castanets.

The Duponts got better music, though it's a bit second-hand (maybe redone here). Their opening piece was played for the chorus in the 1953 "Bedroom Fantasy," where they also appeared, and their main piece was used for Chili Pepper's strip in the 1952 "B-Girl Rhapsody" (0:25:00). The Duponts do a fine job, as if the music had been written for them, interesting story routine and very athletic. Can't see clearly, but this looks like a different woman than in "Bedroom Fantasy," though could just be the result of makeup and acting.

Jennie Lee was a let-down. Although she starts out very effectively as Diamond Lil, the dance doesn't work. There's no punch. She doesn't even look like Jennie Lee some of the time, more square-faced than in photos and other films. Maybe the lighting is to blame. The music didn't help either. If you want to see Jennie at her struttin' star-quality best, dancing to a real pit band, catch her in the 1951 "French Follies." Like night and day.

Patti Waggin's strip is probably omitted on DVD because there's no audio for this segment. Nothing but silence all the way through. Maybe the record got broken on the way back to the studio. Too bad, because it's a great performance, a lot more physical and a lot stronger than her act in the 1955 "Too Hot To Handle." No cute stuff here; at the conclusion she's glistening with sweat.

The best feature of this movie is the comedy, more for historical value than as entertainment. The comics -- Jack Mann, Billy Foster, Johnny Maloney and straight man Leon DeVoe -- are pro's but the empty theater kills laughter. With a couple of hundred people in the audience they might have been very funny. The material is interesting because it has the double-entendres and urge to raunch that sound like the real thing, not the "Boston version" used in many movies. Thankfully, the only line the filmmaker seems to have censored was one by Billy Foster at 0:21:20, when he points toward the front row and says something. The sound track drops out abruptly. Lip-reading, anyone?

The rest of the cast: Sherry Winters and headliner Venus the Body Beautiful are not my cup of tea. Both work hard, but I couldn't give them high marks. Virginia Valentine just didn't have a good day at all. Suzette is hampered by the music but very light and sure on her feet, good enough that you'd like to see her with her normal accompaniment. The chorus is down to 9 women, and includes all the strippers except Jennie Lee and Venus (even Patti Waggin is there, surprising for a co-feature, and also appears in three skits). Vocalist Pat O'Shea only does one song, off-camera and so is probably recorded. Baseball pitcher Bob Lemmon (uncredited) makes a guest appearance at 0:08:20. FYI, Patti Waggin is credited as "Patti" and introduced in the finale as "Patti Brownell" (first husband?).

Film condition is pristine; crisp picture with no scratches or wear, clear audio, no extraneous material spliced in. Cinematographer is veteran William C. Thompson, apparently using the single camera that was normal for these films, though a couple of times there's a cut to a closer shot. Possibly they just had the cast run through some moves twice. Most of the comedy routines are filmed from too great a distance, but it does give you a more accurate sense of how it felt to be in the audience. Very good coverage of Venus's act.

Funny moment in the show's finale; each stripper walks onstage, then quickly steps back for the next one, all leading up to the star to close the show. When Jennie Lee's turn comes, she strollllllls on, swinging something from one hand, then steps to the footlights and takes a bow, and is still leisurely backing to the lineup while the next stripper is walking on. Jennie most likely always figured she was the star, regardless of what the marquee said, and she may well have been right.

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