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  Wild, Wild World of Jayne Mansfield Jet Set JayneBuy this film here.
Year: 1968
Director: Arthur Knight, Joel Holt, Charles W. Brown Jr
Stars: Jayne Mansfield, Mickey Hargitay, Rocky Roberts and the Airdales, The Lady Birds, Carolyn de Fonseca, Robert Jason
Genre: Documentary, Trash
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Movie star Jayne Mansfield travels all over the globe in search of thrills befitting her glitzy lifestyle, and always accompanied by her pet pooch. At the moment she is in Rome where she admires the architecture, ancient ruins and the men, something the Italian city has an abundance of. Rome also has plenty of attractive women, and Jayne is surprised when she has her bottom pinched while sightseeing, but accepts that that is one of the hazards of visiting the city and it happens to the other women as well. She goes to see the Coliseum and imagines what it would have been like two thousand years ago and how she would have fit into the spectacle...

...which takes the form of clips from a previous Mansfield movie, naturally. By the mid-sixties her star had faded and she was filmed for a travelogue documentary which a lot of the footage for this movie comes from. Written by Charles Ross, the project gaily skates over the main hitch it encounters, which is that by the time it came to be finished, Mansfield had died in an awful car crash. So that narrator you hear on the soundtrack isn't Jayne but a soundalike voiceover actress, as becomes apparent by the gruesome finale which would convince you even if you'd never heard of its lead.

One of those curious relics of the time when nudity was allowed for adults only features, but that was about as far as it went sexually unless you were making a stag film, The Wild Wild World has as its supposed highlights Mansfield dropping in on various saucy nightclubs or tourist spots and the breathy narrator doing her best to make them sound as enticing as possible. Along with clips of Jayne's sword and sandal epic she made with then-husband Mickey Hargitay (who appears a body builder - typecast again), there are also the nude scenes from Promises! Promises! and stills of her Playboy issue.

But it's not just Jayne who goes topless, despite the narration's hints, as we see when she goes to a nudist beach (how predictable) and strip clubs (classy!) all over Europe and America. Well, she goes to the ones in Europe anyway, as she is mysteriously absent in the U.S.A. footage. In Italy she sees women changing clothes in the trees, even going for that old "looks like a lady from behind, turns out to be a bloke with long hair" gag, and prostitutes standing by the roadside. Then it's off to France and the Cannes Film Festival, and on to Paris. Everywhere she sees in Europe are not only young women, but leering men; at the top of the Eiffel tower she uses her super-eagle-eyes to zoom in on various couples and men spying on them.

Could this be an acknowledgement of the voyeuristic nature of not only the film but the audience? Who knows, and the empty-headed nature of the narration doesn't help ("Sometimes I think fish are so lucky!"), but as the film continues it looks increasingly like a desperate way of padding out saleable shots of Mansfield with more prurient stuff (with a curious emphasis on transvestism). As if that wasn't enough, the film ends with a pretend, subjective camera car accident which goes into photographs of the crash that killed Mansfield and then a dubious taste tribute with Hargitay wandering around the home he shared with her. If you enjoyed the harmless, celebrity-endorsed travelogue and the nudity, you will be left feeling disturbed by this turn for the worst which basically admits its dubiously exploitative values. Music by Marcello Gigante.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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