Wednesday, April 18, 2012

NEARLY NAKED NERD: "Rafferty and the Gold Dust Twins" (1975)

Initially, I was thinking I wasn't going to be getting into more than a brief overview of each of the Charles Martin Smith performances. But I end up wanting to ramble on and go into detail. This entry is no exception. CMS appears in this particular film for maybe 15 minutes total, but what a 15 minutes it is: yes, Charlie takes off his clothes again! 

I find myself at a loss for words when it comes to the film itself, "Rafferty and the Gold Dust Twins" (1975). I really wanted to like it. I thought it had a promising premise: Alcoholic Los Angeles DMV worker Rafferty (Alan Arkin) has been reduced to such a zombie-like existence that he barely responds when he is kidnapped by 2 mentally unstable women: hippy-ish Mac (Sally Kellerman) and bratty teen Frisbee (Mackenzie Phillips). Unfortunately, I never managed to connect with the movie and feel pulled into these character's unhappy lives. After a while, I almost felt as zombie-fied as Rafferty and I definitely felt the need for a drink.

It's always nice when Charlie appears on the movie poster, especially when it's an illustration instead of a photo, since I think it's interesting to see how artists interpret him.  I really like how he is drawn in this one. Here's a closer look, since it's kind of hard to see him in the poster image above: poking his head out of a closet door, almost naked, right next to Alan Arkin's crotch. And yes, that is forearm hair you see in the pic. Woo hoo!

Charlie appears in a handful of scenes in the final 1/3 of the film. Rafferty, Mac, and Frisbee are on the road to New Orleans. They steal, lie, and cheat their way across California and Nevada (stopping in Las Vegas, of course), and end up in Tucson AZ. Frisbee, upset that she can't afford to buy Rafferty a new cowboy hat, hangs out in the bus station, presumably looking for someone to con out of some cash. She attracts the attention of young soldier Alan Boone (CMS). Score! She's found her mark.

Frisbee leans provocatively on a pinball machine and flashes a few flirty smiles to lure her victim over to her. "What's your name?" he asks after introducing himself. "Della Rainbow," she lies. They chat a bit about her New Orleans destination ("I'm from Gulf Port, Mississipi! We're practically neighbors!" he gushes) and about the 15 day pass Boone has been on: originally to marry Wendy Sue Charles of Baton Rouge, he tells her, but the bride ran out on him. Now he's left with the diamond wedding ring and $200 in his wallet he'd been saving for the honeymoon. You can practically hear the cash register noises going off in Frisbee's head.

Boone feels cheered up by talking with a "pretty girl" and asks her to go on a walk with him, but she claims to be tired and wants to lie down, both of them together, in a hotel bed. Gosh! Cut to the chase when you're in a hurry, girl! They make their way to a fleabag dump, claiming to be married when they register for the room."Six dollars a day," the old lady at the front desk tells them. Boone seems unsure, but Frisbee pushes him on.

As soon as they're in their grimy room, he goes there and pounces on her. "Not so fast," she protests, slipping out of his reach. But he's feeling extremely frisky and very eager to get to it. Frisbee gives in a little bit and lets him touch her tits through her shirt, which he finds amazing. "Wow," he smiles. "Yours are just like grapefruit." And he gives 'em a few good squeezes as he begins to slide into a state of ecstasy. But he snaps out of it when she tells him to get undressed. "You first, I like to watch," she confides, as she lays out on the squeaky old bed looking bored and disinterested.

Whatever my feelings about the movie up to this point, my attitude completely changes at this particular moment. Last time we saw Charlie get unclothed ("The Spikes Gang"), he was still a tad too young, lacking in body hair. Things have developed a bit since then. He's looking more mature, and check out that nice patch of hair on his belly! It would've been hot to have his hard-on poking out (like it should have been if the film was really going for realism), but of course that doesn't happen here. I suppose after seeing movies like "American Pie" (1999) and "Flirting With Disaster" (1996), I tend to expect to see that sort of thing. Oh well. Still, he's looking pretty darn cute, don't you think?

Now, if it were me alone in a hotel room (I don't care how grimy) with CMS in his boxer shorts, you could imagine what hot horny explosion of sex would be happening. But Frisbee quickly slides out of the way and off the bed, as the excited young man plops down onto it on his belly. Aw, how could she possibly play hard to get like that? What a little fool! What squandered erotic possibilities! "You forgot your socks," she mumbles, pointing to his feet.

Boone looks back at his feet, flipping over and repositioning himself on the ratty old mattress as he yanks his socks off. Wow! I get a glimpse of his somewhat furry legs! Why she doesn't point out he forgot his underwear too, I will never understand. Because of this oversight, I am deprived of the sight of CMS in all his nude glory. I guess I should just shut up and be grateful for this much exposed CMS skin...

There's a publicity still that shows CMS feeling up Mackenzie Phillips again at this point, but this doesn't happen in the movie. Here's a closer detail of that particular still. At least the black and white image lets me see his nice forearm and leg hair more easily. 

Instead, "Della" tells Boone to get in the closet. Yes, the same closet we saw him peering out of on the movie poster. He seems a little confused by her request. I'd rather you weren't in the closet either, Charlie. But she gives him some silly story about how it's this game she likes to play. Sex games? Boone gets some of his enthusiasm back, thinking "Della" will be naked under the covers waiting for him when he comes out of the closet, and seems ready to play along. "Aw, shoot," he chuckles goofily and hops up off the bed.

He turns around and runs over to the closet door. As he stands in profile for a moment, I can't help but notice the lovely roundness of his butt, as well as his ever-so-slight extra bit of belly. Very cute! I'm still wishing there was a little pup-tent poking up and saying hello, especially with him in profile like that, but no such luck.

Frisbee tries to dig through Boone's clothes to grab his money, but he keeps poking his head out. "Peek-a-boo!" he giggles, but she just orders him back into the closet. She digs his wallet out of the pile of clothes on the floor. It looks like he was conning her too, because there's only $30 in there. She grabs $20 (the cost of the hat she wants to buy for Rafferty), leaving him a $10. She grabs the ring at first, then thinks twice and drops it on the floor.

Just as Frisbee quietly slips out of the room, Boone suddenly comes out of the closet. He seems a little confused to find the room empty. "Are you hiding from me?" he asks, but silence is his only reply as he looks around the room.

Once again, my eyes zero in on the roundness of his rump. Even his baggy boxers cannot hide the fact that he is in possession of a perfect posterior. I'm going to be mentioning CMS's beautiful bubble butt a lot in this blog, I am just telling you now. Be prepared.

When Boone bends down to look under the bed, he notices his wallet on the floor. In a panic, he realizes he's been had. They're not too smart in Gulf Port, I guess (if that's even where he's from). He looks out the window just in time to see Frisbee hopping into the back of a cab (which I don't know how she can afford if she needs to save the $20 for her gift purchase, but whatever). Filled with rage, Boone shouts out, "That fucking little thief!" Woah! Charlie's first F-bomb! 

His scene ends there, but I would like to imagine that Boone was so worked up by that little cockteaser that he needed to take matters into his own hand, blowing his load all over his furry belly. I know... kinda pervy, huh? Yeah, that's the kind of thinking I am reduced to by the sight of an unclothed Charlie...

In his next scene, Boone is talking to the police. His version of the story is full of lies, not only saying she stole all his money and the ring, but that she even pulled a knife on him! Jeez, what an asshole. I guess this is CMS's first dickhead role too.

Our main trio of characters are hanging at a dive-y bar called Sparky's. Dolly Parton's "Jolene" plays on the jukebox in the background as Frisbee plays pool with Billy (Harry Dean Stanton). Little do they know that Boone is in a police car on his way to the bar, the police having tracked Frisbee there.

They arrive just in time to see Frisbee pulling a gun on a belligerently drunken Billy in the parking lot. "She's got a gun, shoot!" Boone shouts as he hops out of the police car, pointing his finger at the bitch who left him alone to deal with his raging hard-on. I'm assuming that is his motivational anger, since it seems like a major over-reaction to the theft of $20. Then again, back in 1975 a $20 was probably the equivalent of $100 or something (I was too young to remember, being only 3 years old at the time).

So what happens? Does Frisbee go down in a hail of bullets? Does she find a way out of her predicament? Do the police discover Boone's lies? As in the last few entries, I'm trying to stick to an "avoidance of spoilers" policy. Granted, I did give away a lot with my examination of the hotel room scene, but that was warranted IMO. Although chances are you are not gonna see this movie. It's kind of sunken into obscurity. I had to buy a VHS tape to finally see it (as if you couldn't tell from the picture quality of the image captures). Even if I'm ultimately not too impressed with the film itself, I must confess that the sight of CMS in his boxers made the purchase worth it. It was also kind of cool that after co-starring in 2 films before this ("Go Ask Alice" and "American Graffiti") but not sharing any scenes together, Mackenzie Phillips and CMS were finally able to in this one. However, I can't say they had great chemistry. I can't even say that I thought much of Charlie's performance (his southern accent was pretty lousy, although that might have been intentional if his backstory was just another lie). But hey: CMS in boxers is always a good thing.

One last tidbit worth noting: This was director Dick Richard's second theatrical film. The first was "The Culpepper Cattle Co.", which not co-incidently was the movie in which CMS made his cinematic debut. 

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