american international pictures

Chastity (1969)

Chastity_coverHappy Thanksgiving! What better way to celebrate than by watching the trailer for Chastity, the turkey that Sonny Bono cooked for Cher in 1969.

Chastity was a vanity project for Cher, written and produced by Bono. It is also suspected that Bono directed the film under the alias Alessio de Paola. The film was bankrolled by our pals over at American International Pictures, which normally means you will be getting a Grade-A B-movie, but this one falls short.  Sonny and Cher also conceived their daughter Chasity Bono while making this movie. There is a joke in there somewhere.

The real travesty here is that Cher was so shell shocked by the negative response to this film that she refrained from any movie work for well over 10 years.  One of her next roles was in Silkwood, which earned her an Oscar Nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

Cher’s title character is so unlikeable that I only lasted about fifteen minutes into this one (YouTube), but the trailer is perfectly rad!

Cher on the beach, running towards camera to some noir-ish gumshoe music and the strange marketing decision to have the narrator commit character assassination on it’s protagonist at the :15 second mark.


Chad & Jeremy – Smoke (Paxton’s Song)

Chad+&+Jeremy+-+Three+In+The+Attic+-+LP+RECORD-422264Sticking with American International Pictures, purveyors of low budget drive-in faire, and turning my attention to their 1968 release Three In The Attic, which seems like their bizarro answer to The Graduate.

Wild In The Street star Christopher Jones plays Paxton Quigley in this story about an undergrad lothario at a small liberal arts college that simultaneously holds affairs with three co-eds. The females ultimately catch on, and in an effort to teach him a lesson, collude in holding him captive in the attic of a sorority house for days on end without food or water,  just rotating shifts of punishing intercourse.

Enter Chad & Jeremy. The folk-pop duo were most likely AIP’s low budget answer to Simon & Garfunkel, but ultimately a silver lining to this entire production.

Though credited to both Chad and Jeremy, most likely for marketing purposes, Three In The Attic is primarily a Chad Stuart affair. Reeling from two consecutive flops, Of Cabbages and Kings (1967) and The Ark (1968), in which the duo had eschewed it’s single oriented folk numbers for the more en vogue psychedelic full lengths, Chad & Jeremy had all but disintegrated. Stuart, an arranger by trade, was so anxious to score a film that he started this project sans Jeremy. The score is so chock full of timpanis, flute suites, string arrangements, horn sections and sitar solos, that it’s clear that Stuart wanted to flex his composition muscle to the fullest.  He even brought Jeremy around for Paxton Quigley Had the Course, a track that would end up being be the final Chad & Jeremy collaboration of their heyday.

The real treat here comes in the form of “Paxton’s Song (Smoke)”.  A psych-folk ode to young love that layers a really strong arrangement to a wistful melody. You’ve got to hand it to Stuart for making an earnest go at scoring an overtly gratuitous b-movie and actually trying to penetrate the psyche of it’s vapid protagonist. Bonus awkwardness comes mid-film, in the form of Christopher Jones actually singing the refrain to one of his conquests.

Paxton’s Song (Smoke)

Wild In The Streets – OST (1968)

WildStreetsAmerican International Pictures was on point when they churned out Wild In The Streets in 1968.  Shot in just 15 days, the movie tapped into just about every aspect of the counterculture climate, and produced a decent soundtrack to boot.

The exploitation flick features Christopher Jones as Max Frost, a rock star who becomes President.  Max runs on the platform of lowering the voting age to 14 and forcing anyone over the age of 35 into internment camps, where they are fed a steady diet of LSD. It’s also worth noting that a young Richard Pryor plays the drummer Max Frost’s band.

While the movie is obviously a farce, the soundtrack is a somewhat relevant look at the homogenized sitar laden psych-pop faire that was popular at the time. Tune in Troops!

The Shape of Things to Come – The 13th Power

Wild In The Streets – Jerry Howard