1/29/09

B.L.O.G. Presents: Ginger (1971)

By 1971 James Bond had already starred in seven adventures where the debonair secret agent globe hopped and whooped up on the various baddies that were thrown at him. Naturally the success of the series lead to many imitators including a few who were looking to make female Bond. One such film was made in 1966 called Modesty Blaise starring Monica Vitti and Terrance Stamp, and it was a broadly played comedy of the In Like Flint vein. Then in 1971 came a series of films featuring a tough, pretty, private eye played by Cheri Carffaro.

Cheri had come to fame when she won a magazine contest looking for a Bridget Bardot look a like. She married aspiring film maker Don Schain, who had directed 1967's The Love Object, and together they created their answer to James Bond. So from the shores of Brighton Beach, New Jersey came the dry martini drinking, bleach blond, leggy tough gal known as...
Ginger (1971) starring Cheri Carffaro, Duane Tucker, Calvin Culver, and Linda Susoeff. Directed by Don Schain.

Ginger is hired by a private detective agency to bring down the business of Rex Halsey (Tucker), a thug running a prostitution, narcotics, and blackmail ring on Brighton Beach. She quickly finds her way inside by seducing Rex's head blackmailer Rodney (Culver) and one of his hookers, the dejected Caren (Susoeff).

She soon begins to pick apart Rex's organization, dismantling one branch of it at a time. When Rex starts to suspect who the culprit is, Ginger's life hangs in the balance as she plays a deadly game of cat and mouse with the kingpin.

Film Facts

--Ginger was followed up by the sequels The Abductors and Girls are For Loving.

--Director Schain has gone on to be the producer for the High School Musical series.

--Cheri Caffaro would make all the Ginger films with Schain as well as the 1977 film Too Hot to Handle where she played a character named Samantha Fox.

--This film was the debut of Tracy Walker, a veteran character actor now, he may be most recognized for his minor part in Tim Burton's Batman. Walker played Bob the Goon who met his unfortunate end at the Joker's hand after the memorable line, "Bob, gun!"

Film Facts

Before I came across this flick on Netflix, I was not familiar with it at all, and while the film is extremely flawed, it is quite a shame that this film seems to be a forgotten exploitation gem. It not only plays out like a James Bond-lite story, but it contains many elements that I have never seen in sexploition films. There is more than a fair amount of bondage in the flick which includes a girl getting tied up with her own bikini top, a guy tied up spread eagled, and a girl handcuffed to the bed. It was surprising to see that fetish element brought into the narrative of this film, and it provided me with a fare share of chuckles.

Sadly this film never really rises above chuckles. The plot itself is ludicrous with Ginger being a 23 year old poly-sci major who gets into the private eye biz to avenge the death of her heroin addicted brother. With no experience and no skills to handle the job, she fights, schemes, and plots her way to bringing Rex down. Speaking of Rex, how tough can a ringleader be when he constantly wears a scarf around his neck that Fred from Scooby Doo wouldn't be caught dead in? The rest of Rex's crew don't fare too much better in the costuming department with all the cash in the budget apparently going to clothe Ms. Carffaro.

Speaking of clothes, all the girls in the film are seemingly happy enough to shed them for whatever reason. The best instance happens when Ginger takes on another girl in a brawl on the beach. After tying her up with her top as I mentioned, Ginger goes on to strip her completely nude. That's not even the only instance of people getting down to their birthday suits, but don't worry ladies, there's something here for you too. Clavin Culver (a.k.a gay porn star Casey Donavan) shows up his bits and pieces when Ginger ties him down to a bed.

I know I haven't touched much on the direction or acting in this flick, and there's good reason for it. The actors are clearly trying, and Carffaro is the best of the bunch. That's not really saying that much though. The directing is also practically non existent. Most of the shots are completely static, and there is no real style to any of the shots.

All that being said, Ginger is a film that really hits the spot if you're looking for an overlooked exploitation flick. I always hate to say things like "it is what it is" or the cliched "it's so bad it's good", so I won't. Yet if I did I would say both of those things. It will not entertain anyone looking for action, eroticism, or well, a story, but anyone with an appreciation for exploitation cinema will enjoy it.

Bug Rating
Sadly, I could find no trailer for Ginger or any of the films in the series. However I did find a clip from The Abductors, the second Ginger film, of the titular character shaking her maracas. So enjoy and join us back here tomorrow for the last in the It's a Jungle Out There series when I'll be covering Cannibal Holocaust.

6 comments:

  1. Wow, good find. I've not heard of this one either. Looks like a cool flick for people who enjoy such things...like me.

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  2. Glad you enjoyed he review as always, Rev. I was rally happy to stumble on an exploitation gem like this one. I suppose hours and hours of digging on Netflix can pay off.... or I could just get distracted and end up watching Van Damn in Sudden Death... wait did I just admit that..... shit.

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  3. I'm a big fan of Bond and all the spy spoofs that came out in the 60's and 70's. I've never seen or heard of this one before. Thanks for bringing it to our attention here.

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  4. You know I lone Bug Brand Pasties( have a set myself),but Bug Brand Dong Covers are even better!

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  5. I also stumbled across this movie on Netflix.

    The funny thing is that Cheri Caffaro is built almost exactly like Paris Hilton but she only comes across half as slutty.

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  6. Thanks for the comment Devans. I hadn't thought of it, but she does look a tad like the hotel heiress.

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