Doris Wishman‘s Deadly Weapons (1973) and Double Agent 73 (1974), both starring 73FF(!)-32-36 Chesty Morgan, makes for a bizarre double feature, and a bizarre Something Weird Blu-ray release. This set (entitled “Chesty Morgan’s Bosom Buddies”) also includes a third feature The Immoral Three (1975), which does not include Morgan (who had, remarkably, taken the star bit between her teeth and was promptly sacked by Wishman). We focus on the first two features starring Chesty.
John Waters had the incomparable Divine. Wishman had the incomparable Chesty Morgan. The big difference is that Divine could actually act. Morgan, an exploitation freak of nature, was the energizer bunny rabbit to Wishman’s directorial enthusiasm.
Wishman’s influence on John Waters cannot be underestimated. Her films are a visual smorgasbord of bad taste with attentive detail. Wishman’s nonsensical lens focus is so mercurial it brings to mind Harry Langdon‘s frozen camera in Three’s A Crowd (1927). Repeated, dumbfounded concentration on queer inanimate objects disrupts the narrative flow and coats Wishman’s films in loving disjointedness. Cut-away shots of hedges, a repellently hued yellow-ochre telephone, the most beautifully ghastly wallpaper ever captured on celluloid, and nonsensical extreme close-ups of Morgan’s 73-inch fleshbags creates a visually surreal train wreck of a movie.
Morgan’s voice is dubbed in both films. Apparently, her polish accent was so thick as to be indecipherable. Unfortunately, her acting range is nowhere near as mammoth as her breasts. Morgan begins with leathery boredom and ends with celluloid sleep walking. Now, dress this big breasted zombie up in bad wigs and garish clothing to enact a zany plot!
Well, yes, there is a plot of sorts to Deadly Weapons. It has something to do with Morgan as an office manager (!) wearing 8-inch platform heels and a blouse at least two sizes too small. She has a mobster boyfriend with sideburns that probably smell like mildew. Perhaps this is why Morgan acts like all of her co-stars have poison ivy. Regardless, she gets mauled by pornstar Harry Reems.
Morgan turns into a revenge-seeking 007 type; only, Morgan’s weapon is her killer cleavage, rather than a loaded pistol. Yes, you guessed it: she suffocates her victims with her “DEADLY WEAPONS.” Morgan also has some issues with Daddy, but that’s veering too close to spoiler territory, and God knows that we all watch these wacky Doris Wishman/Chesty Morgan movies for the well-constructed, sophisticated plotting.
Double Agent 73 is, possibly, even more of a live action, softcore looney-tune than the previous film! Wishman’s love of the medium is, again, on display, and again her talents do not make for a film as orthodox storytelling medium. But then, film does not have to be a repeater of well-worn narrative formats.
Endless shots of a cookie-cutter house and pimp shoes walking across cheaply tiled floors collide with stock footage of flowers, a jet plane, and nudist volleyball. The nasty ochre telephone from the previous film has been replaced with a tasty peach-colored one. And there’s even a lovely shot of a dixie cup, and of a door that looks like it might have been stolen out of a Target warehouse.
Morgan is so comatose that she often looks like she is literally on the verge of falling asleep. Her platform shoes have, amazingly, grown about six inches and now are screaming red. It is no wonder Morgan removes them more than once, because she clearly has trouble in walking them (later, she trades them in for some cant-colored yellow pumps which shave about two inches off her height). Oh, and Chesty is a secret agent with a hidden camera surgically implanted in her mammaries. In addition to being assigned to bust up a heroin ring, Morgan is instructed to take pictures of everyone she kills (!?!), which gives her plenty of reason to remove her top. There’s even nearly full-blown full-frontal nudity (whether we want to see it or not).
Morgan, with her license to kill, surprisingly, uses a variety of weapons, although choking someone to death with an ice cube may not qualify as a conventional murder scene. There is less plot in Double Agent 73 and, depending on one’s perspective, this may be all for the better. If Wishman was naively channeling the dreaminess of Buñuel and Kafka in Bad Girls Go To Hell, here she lives up to her deserved reputation as the godmother of grindhouse, and parallels John Waters’ early body of work. For that reason, I probably have more pronounced affection for her later films.
Deadly Weapons and Double Agent 73 are stuck in a 1970s dream style at its best/worst, and are tailor made for the Something Weird catalog.
Next week: Wishman’s Amazing Transplant (1970), which has to be seen to be believed.