Who Killed Teddy Bear Reviews
Prowse and Mineo look great, and the blaring pop soundtrack paired with low-angle shots of pumping, thrusting bodies (whether working out or dancing) does far more by suggestion to evoke the sexualized world they live in.
Weird creepy fun. Not as cheesy as some reviews would make it seem. Low budget but it's not distracting. It's a neglected work that transitions from Psycho->Peeping Tom->Taxi Driver with similar heroes/themes. It's also an interesting expression of frustrated male sexuality (even if you stretch and include Stanley Kowalski in "Streetcar.")
I had NO IDEA that Sal Mineo had acting chops... he was also really cut in this film- and unusually shot: a lot of medium shots showing off his torso while he worked out, swam, made dirty phone calls... He also had ridiculously tight jeans that showed off his package (hmm, maybe that was 1 of the reasons it had trouble getting distributed. Of course, sexual dysfunction in 1965 was not going to fly, but damn! I saw this with a crowd that was predominately gay and they were cracking everytime you saw him 'packin heat')
Along with "Blast of Silence", this gives you a great impression of New York City in the early 60s- not exactly charming but fascinating and creepy. The dissolves and dream sequences are nicely balanced by the intensive cutting during the dance scenes- overall well-directed and very well acted.
I hope it's released on dvd soon.
It is amazing it got past the censors!
Featuring hints of masturbation, pornography, lesbians, stalking, and drugs, it almost ruined Sal Mineo's career.. Interestingly, this film now is considered a ground-breaking cult classic! Famed movie reviewer, Leonard Maltin, is one of the MANY critics who now praise this dirty little pleasure, and it now occasionally plays at film festivals around the world. It centers around Nora (played by famed dancer, Juliet Prowse ),who works at a seedy little club.She begins getting perverted calls from a man. At first she disregards them as a prank. But soon, it becomes clear the caller is very serious.
Sal Mineo plays, Lawrence, who works at the club as a busboy. Lawrence takes care of his mentally challenged sister, and their relationship seems very odd indeed. You have to see it to believe it. Sal spends most of this film in skin-tight jeans, shirts, and underwear briefs. Any excuse to show off his muscled physique on camera. The lighting is terrible, the script thin, and the music is terrible: ALL THE INGREDIENTS of a classic cult film!
Still, the movie is, without a doubt, a guilty pleasure! Sal delivers a riveting performance, as the demented stalker! And the shocking plot twists keep you on the edge of your seat till the final scene! This film truly delivers! Even for today, this film's a SHOCKER! Worth the price of admission for the "dance scene" between Sal & Juliet alone! PRICELESS! Just don't say I didn't warn you! This is NOT a "G" rated little movie! It is VERY gritty, exploitive, violent, and at times, disturbing. But, well worth watching! Never released on home video, this film is a very hard to find collector's item! If you get the chance, DON'T MISS IT!
The primary focus of Joseph Cates' 1965 film is a sometime dancer and barmaid (Juliet Prowse) who has been receiving obscene and threatening phone calls from an unknown person. Yet as the case unfolds, the film becomes more intrigued by the characters surrounding her â?? the possibly lesbian manageress of the bar (Elaine Stritch), the investigating detective who is obsessed by abnormal psychologies (Jan Murray) and the disturbed busboy who turns out to be the caller (Sal Mineo). Each of the characters seems alone and immersed in the modern urban condition. Throughout the film, a preponderance of mirror shots (the "solving of the case even involves a mirror) suggests a world in which everyman and everywoman's sickness reflects everyone else's. The detective seems to have become so obsessed with his quarry that he almost crosses the line into psychosis himself, the manageress might have her own sexual agenda in wishing to help her victimized employee and each of the seem as much of a threat as the unknown caller. Prowse does not know who to trust, even whether to trust herself, and although the film descends into a "get the culprit" finale, even this traditional end fractures into a private turmoil lost in an alienating environment.
The film offers a series of very strong character studies, all remarkably well acted, but often seems concerned to conjure the feel and sound of the times through montages to music, of dancing, walking and wandering, and its black and white footage cut to pop hits makes it seem like a greyscale Kenneth Anger at times. One of the montages involves Mineo drifting through the fleshpots, bookshops and cinema foyers of Times Square, an eerie presentiment of Travis Bickle. Mineo is particularly strong in the role of the tormented busboy, tortured on a rack between the unfettered expression of carnal nature he sees all around him (and has the potential for within) and the last psychotic jerks of a Puritan sexual consciousness. Mineo proves what a remarkable actor Hollywood wasted when it underused him, and his physical presence â?? often showing his toned body in swimming trunks or flaunting his butt in the tightest of Chinos â?? suggests a bridge between mainstream Hollywood and underground stars like Warhol's Joe Dallesandro and Pink Narcissus' Bobby Kendall.
Who Killed Teddy Bear isn't a perfect film â?? there's something missing structurally and a tendency towards melodrama â?? but its picture of a world fallen from a childhood Eden into an adulthood of sticky and strange sexual dramas, it was way ahead of its time and still stands head and shoulders above most of the so-called sophisticated cinema of today.
Perverts, sex maniacs, mental retards, voyeurism, pornography, masturbation, drugs, obscene phonecalls, terrible acting, a lesbian Elaine Stritch and Sal Mineo in various states of undress in a part that nearly ruined his career! Dismissed as salacious, seedy, filthy, exploitative and a load of old cock! Banned by the BBFC for a zillion years, it's now finally available on DVD! What's NOT to get excited about with Who Killed Teddy Bear??