Ah, Uschi. She really was something back in the day, wasn’t she? Admittedly, a good number of the flicks she appeared in were pretty dismal, but she could liven up even the most listless celluloid atrocity by just showing up on screen and taking her clothes off. Okay, her Swedish accent, when left un-doctored, was so thick as to be impenetrable, but who really cares? It’s not like she was hired for what she had to say or anything. She was there for her face, her body, and her always-lively performances. You don’t need to be overly fluent in English for any of that — hell, her fellow Swedes in ABBA didn’t even know what they were singing about and they went on to become one of the best-selling recording acts of all time.
And let’s be honest — it’s not like every film she was in was terrible. Not by a long shot. Her work with Russ Meyer was sensationally iconoclastic, legendary-for-good-reason stuff, and some of her less-well-remembered softcore efforts were pretty solid, as well.
Case in point : old-hand nudie director Edward L. Montoro’s 1970 steamy low-budgeter GETTING INTO HEAVEN. I’m not here to tell you it’s some lost classic or anything of the sort, but it is a fun, never-dull slice of skinema that stands apart from other productions of its ilk for, at the very least, being a consistently engaging production that all the principals involved in at least appear to be trying to make as good as it could possibly be. That’s worth at least a little something right there, isn’t it?
The plot’s about as simple/pointless as one can imagine : Heaven (Uschi, working under the curious pseudonym of Marie Marceau) lives with an equally-pretty roommate, Sin (Jennie Lynn), and has a nice cop boyfriend (Scott Cameron) —but a future as an immigrant housewife just doesn’t appeal to her. She has her sights set on becoming a starlet, and is willing to do whatever it takes to land a part in the next big Hollywood production from the studio run by a hormy mogul named Mr. Salacity (Miles White). Basically, of course, that means that she, Sin, and their friend Karen (Phyllis Stengel, credited here with the last name of “Stangel,” which is probably more a lazy typo on the producers’ part than an actual stage name) are going to have to take off their clothes a lot, sleep with anybody who can get them ahead, and — uhmmm — frolic around in the buff with a stuffed tiger. What a girl won’t do to pursue her dreams, huh?
Beyond that there’s not a great deal more one needs to know by way of specifics, apart from the fact that every woman in this movie is darn easy on the eyes and more than willing to disrobe at the drop of the hat and stay that way for a good few minutes. The simulated sex scenes are pretty standard (polite-speak for “physically impossible and designed more to show off female genitalia while keeping boy-parts obscured than for realism”) stuff for the time, but at least Montoro knows when enough is enough and it’s time to move on and set up the next one, which is more than you can say for a lot of similar contemporary fare. The “humor” is all groaningly obvious and more than a touch misogynistic, but shit, that’s all part of the morally, ethically, and artistically questionable “charm” of these sorts of throwaway sex productions, right? And there’s nothing blatantly anti-female enough going on to rise to the level where it would genuinely bother your conscience. Frankly, nothing happening here even matters enough for that.
GETTING INTO HEAVEN is available on DVD from, as you’d probably expect, Something Weird Video, where it’s paired with the truly dire ANGELS. Both films feature reasonably good-looking full-frame transfers and adequate-if-you’re-not-expecting-much mono sound, and extras include a bevy of worn-down-looking Uschi short subjects (probably shot on short ends) along with trailers for and stills/artwork from numerous other SWV softcore numbers . In other words, more or less exactly what we’ve come to expect from this sort of thing — but the film itself is definitely a notch above what we’ve come to expect from this sort of thing, and when it’s been a long day and you’re not in a particularly demanding mood, sometimes that’s enough.
Maybe it’s damning GETTING INTO HEAVEN with faint praise to say that its best attribute — apart from Uschi’s multiple attributes — is that isn’t boring, but hey, it’s still the truth. And how much more than that do any of us really ask for from any movie? Shoot, plenty of mega-budget blockbusters spend exponentially more money than what Montoro had to work with here and don’t come anywhere close to being as entertaining as this is. Which just goes to show that an amazing, all-natural hourglass figure trumps flashy CGI any day of the week.
And how many films can honestly say that the lead actress doesn’t even have to talk much to steal every scene she’s in?
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