Thursday, January 13, 2011

Anthony Newley & Joan Collins in Can Heironymous Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humpp and Find True Happiness 1969

When it comes to solipsistic, self indulgent feature films, few can match the intensity of this one. Released with an X rating, it was written, scored, directed by and starred Anthony Newley and deals with a musical star who is approaching middle age and trying to drown that fact in cheap tawdry affairs. He spends a lot of time in the nude. That being said, there is some fabulous stuff in this film if you're a lover of camp. I haven't been able to get a hold of the whole film. I do, however, have the sound track album, which I found with a stash of similar albums at a thrift shop years ago, and some of the music is delightfully silly.
Take for example the video below (uploaded to YouTube by myfirstlovesong). It's the dance number Chalk and Cheese sung by Newley's wife at the time, Joan Collins (playing Polyester Poontang). The concept is a zodiac wheel that comes to life and some of the costumes are outrageous. This film was really savaged by critics when it was released. Vincent Canby of the New York Times went so far as to call it "as a self indulgent as a burp." But, as I said, it's value now lies in its camp qualities and as a cultural time capsule of the free wheeling 60's.

This film isn't available on DVD (no surprise there) but has survived in pieces on YouTube (no full upload yet). It was buried long ago and has been forgotten but if you find a digital version of it out there, let me know. I'd love to see the whole thing.

Obscurity Factor: 10 (no DVD, not available in full anywhere)


  1. Oh Good Lord. This is an example of why you're not supposed to work with strong chemicals in an unventilated area.