Mudhoney (1965)

Mudhoney is an early Russ Meyer film and doesn’t feature the same over the top style as his later efforts; but it’s surprisingly professional, features an interesting story and has all the sex and sleaze you would expect from the master Russ Meyer. The film is somewhere between a serious drama and a piece of trash and it actually works very well. The film is not as boisterous as Meyer’s other 1965 release, Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! but it has a style of it’s own that still works well. The central plot focuses on Calif McKinney, a drifter travelling to California from Michigan. He stumbles into Missouri and soon gets himself on a job on a farm working for the old landlord, Lute. Calif takes a fancy to Lute’s daughter Hannah, but there’s a problem because Hannah is married to Sidney; a drunken, adulterous, womanising good for nothing excuse for a man. Sidney has his eye on a share of the farm when Lute kicks the bucket, and colludes with the town preacher to smear Calif’s name and protect the inheritance he has no right to…

Russ Meyer has a habit of pulling memorable performances out of his actors, and he certainly does that here. The film is lead by a great performance courtesy of Hal Hopper as the drunken husband. Hopper leads every scene he’s in and it’s a really great role for him. The rest of the cast is understated in comparison, but John Furlong looks upstanding next to Hopper and naturally the female talent is something to write home about and Meyer doesn’t disappoint with his trademark here. The film is not all that explicit compared to later Meyer films, but there’s still plenty of female skin on show which is nice. There’s not a lot of violence in the film, though Meyer does provide a few fistfights. The story is always interesting and plenty happens in the film too. Meyer provides some good scenes of suspense and tension too which helps to keep things interesting. If there’s a point to this film, it’s not put across very well; but that isn’t important as this film does what it was clearly intended to do and Mudhoney certainly comes recommended to my fellow Meyer fans!