Hold Me While I’m Naked

Hold Me While I'm Naked (1966)

“Take me away from this movie!”

They say that variety is the spice of life. In a continuing attempt to embrace that variety here with One Movie Each Day, I’ve decided to dedicate each Wednesday review to the stranger side of cinema, the type of movies that I’d never normally watch, but that I’m kind of secretly glad exist. In celebration or in condemnation of the eccentric, the odd, the freaky, the kinky, the ghastly, the freaky, the fearful, the flaky, and the freaky, I now present a harsh take-down of a widely-revered short film in this, the nineteenth edition of Wednesday Weirdness.

Since starting this blog, and particularly since starting Wednesday weirdness, I’ve discovered that I’m something of a fan of art films, surreal films, alternative films, avant garde films. I was greatly entertained by Umshini Wam, I really liked Vera Chytilová’s Dasies and I called Un Chien Andalou a Must See. I say all this in preface, because of what I have to say about today’s film.

By most accounts Hold Me While I’m Naked is a landmark piece of cinema. A film that a 2000 critics’ poll in The Village Voice named the 52nd best film of the entire 20th century, (film mind you, not short film), it was directed by, and stars the iconic underground artist and filmmaker George Kuchar. It’s also a complete piece of non-nonsensical garbage, a movie that could only possibly be appreciated by drug-addled film students, and pretentious dolts, but is widely praised in circles of right-thinking “non-conformists” who wouldn’t dare hold the wrong opinion about something so bizarre “it must be good.”

This film fails to be thought provoking, it fails as creative surrealism, it fails as a character study, it fails as a comedy, it fails as a piece of visual art, it fails as some sort of meta-commentary, it even fails as pornography. The whole thing is a disjointed, pseudo-lurid, faux-iconoclastic heap.

The film, (as near as I can tell) is about an amateur filmmaker (Kuchar) who’s leading lady (Donna Kerness) quits the film he’s making because he keeps adding nudity to every scene. From there I suppose something happens, maybe the filmmaker has a mental breakdown because he’s lost his star, or maybe (more likely?) the whole thing was just in his head, and he’s just some thirty year-old weirdo living in his mother’s home.

While I was pretty harsh above, there are a few moments where the film seems like it does have something to say, or it seems like it might be on the verge of being interesting, but it never gets there, and if my summary of the “plot” above sounds interesting, then that would only go to prove that if this film has one asset, it’s some wasted potential.

At only fifteen minutes in length, I don’t suppose I’d say this film should be avoided. Certainly I’m aware that there are people out there who have, (or at least claim to have,) gotten a lot out of this movie. I’m certainly not one of them, and as far as I’m concerned Hold Me While I’m Naked is not worth seeing.

[Hold Me While I’m Naked (1966) – Directed by George Kuchar – Not Rated]

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