Allen Funt (1914 -1999) is best remembered for creating the television show Candid Camera. The basic premise of the program was to film the reactions of ordinary people to unusual situations. It was a very popular show for years on both network TV and in syndication. The show ran from 1948 to 2004, with Funt’s son Peter taking over hosting duties after the senior Funt suffered a debilitating stroke in 1992. For the younger generation, probably the closest example of what Candid Camera was all about was the MTV show Punk’d, only with the general public as the targets, rather than celebrities.
Candid Camera proved to be such a popular program that Funt decided to branch out into film. His first effort was What Do You Say To A Naked Lady? (1970). The movie was far too racy for TV, as the title was literal. Basically, men and women were confronted with completely naked ladies – in the most unexpected locations. One situation early in the film occurs in an office building, with people waiting for the elevator. They would push the button, the doors would open, and a nude woman would emerge. The shocked looks on their faces are quite amusing, and they would become completely flustered when she asked “Is this the floor Mr. Price works on?”
Although the women are completely naked, a strategically placed handbag or small briefcase covers their “most” private parts. The 86-minute movie has a number of set-ups besides the early elevator scene. Another one is done in England, and is a situation where we get to “watch the watchers.” In this, a group of approximately 30 people were invited to view a film, and were obviously not informed of what the content of it was. They were shown scenes of a naked lady whose car had broken down, and was trying to flag down passing cars to help her out. Surprisingly enough, (at least in the scenes shown) the drivers are men, and they just drive right by the poor girl.
The real fun in this segment is the audience’s reaction. There is one older woman who is just incensed at the whole premise. Funt would ask intentionally loaded questions of the group about what they had just seen, and this lady just comes unglued. When he says something about the point being that the scenes were to show hypocrisy when it comes to sex, and the naked body – the woman really lets him have it. “Of all the things in the world that are hypocritical, why would you focus on sex?” was one of her more memorable outbursts.
There are a many other set-ups as well, a couple of these feature people’s reactions to interracial couples. Remember, this was 1970 – and interracial couples were still somewhat stigmatized by the public. In one of these a young Richard Roundtree (who would later star in Shaft), makes an appearance.
When the film was originally released, it was rated X. In 1982, What Do You Say To A Naked Lady? was edited somewhat to receive an R rating. The rating on the package is R, so I am assuming that this is the 1982 version. Although quite dated, the movie is still a lot of fun, if for no other reason than as a bit of a time-capsule. There are no extras included, except for the original theatrical trailer.
What Do You Say To A Naked Lady? is part of MGM’s Limited Edition Collection series of “manufacturing on demand” (“MOD”) DVDs.
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