Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Ultra Violet, Andy Davis, Reid Smith, Jeremy Stockwell
Director: Gene Nash
Something to delight every fetish!
R. M. Desjardins | Vancouver, B.C. Canada | 05/31/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Dinah East is one of those rare cinematic romps that appeals to absolutely everybody; hot-blooded heterosexuals, lusty lesbians, horny homos, titillating transvestites, and even nefarious necrophiliacs!
Written and produced by Gene Nash in 1970, starring renown transvestite, Jeremy Stockwell, and featuring Andy Warhol alumni, Ultra Violet, the film parallels several key aspects of Mae West's career. It is this connection, however tenuous, that makes this long unavailable camp classic so controversial.
Advertisements for Dinah East claim the movie was pulled from distribution after Mae West filed a successful lawsuit stating the film slandered her name, and then proceeded to buy and destroy as many prints of the film she could find.
However, the following facts seem to be at odds with these claims. In 1982, Gene Nash told the LA Times that he had given Mae West and Paul Novak a private screening of the film in 1970. West found the film entertaining and made a few suggestions to "beef up the dialogue" which Nash was unable to do, as the filming had wrapped up.
Certainly Variety would have run a story on any Mae West lawsuit. Stanley Musgrove who was her publicist at the time would have brought the topic up with friends, and Kevin Thomas who was a film critic at the LA Times would most likely have known about any such lawsuit as well. Since no word of this was ever brought forth, it is highly possible that West never brought about a lawsuit.
The Mae West overtures aside, Dinah East stands on its own merits. The characters are colourful and engaging, the sets are over the top and the scene set in a gay bar complete with a nude go-go boy in a cage is delightfully wacky. Good humored fun and a sensitive examination of a subject that would have been handled in a tacky way by a less enlightened director.
What is not generally known about Gene Nash is that he had a show business background and worked with Eddy Cantor in his later years, once filling in for him and nobody noticed the difference. Nash also produced, directed as well as wrote the movie screenplay and all of the songs for the film, What Am I Bid?, featuring the legendary country and western entertainer, Leroy Van Dyke. Other stars who appeared in the film include Al Hirt, Tex Ritter and Faron Young.
My request for information about Gene Nash went unanswered by Paula Stewart, credited as Co-Producer of Dinah East. Stewart, currently a weekly host on KCLA FM in Los Angeles, is working on a biography of Lucille Ball.
Dinah East is a blast from the past that is still fun and essential viewing for today's jaded sensibilities."
What grace! what style! what art! WHAT JUNK !!!
Matthew G. Sherwin | last seen screaming at Amazon customer service | 06/04/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Dinah East, which simply had to have been shot on an extravagant five dollar budget, doesn't exactly taxi down the runway and take off like a jet. Yes, there are the positives: they filmmakers treat Dinah East with empathy even after we discover that "she" was really a "he;" and the cinematography was pretty good. The casting isn't bad; and the plot moves along at a good pace. Actually, one big plus is that it's probably a pretty accurate look at what gay nightlife must have been like shortly after the gay liberation movement started in earnest. Unfortunately, however, there are also some major, major drawbacks. The acting is lousy; very little of it was convincing although Matt Bennett does do a good job of playing Dinah's lover and chauffeur Tank Swenson. The scenes are extremely campy and over the top--so much so that you really have to suspend belief to make sense of much of it; this movie makes John Waters' "Polyester" look like fine art. (And I did like Polyester, by the way.) In addition, the quality of the print is rather poor; perhaps the original film wasn't well preserved in the first place and I think they just copied this onto DVD from video.
But I think I had better move on to a synopsis that doesn't give away too much; I realize and respect the fact that some people may truly want to watch this and that's fine with me.
When the action starts, we quickly meet an older, reclusive and somewhat faded Hollywood star, Dinah East (Jeremy Stockwell), who goes for a ride in "her" Rolls Royce with her chauffeur Tank Swenson after getting a good look at her naked son Jeff (Reid Smith) after he swims in their pool. Unfortunately, Dinah doesn't make it very far; she dies pretty soon right in the car and Tank nearly goes berserk when the ambulance takes her away. Dinah's sudden passing causes grief and stirs up many memories for the people who knew her.
Of course, some memories are good--and some aren't so good. Her lawyer Alan Sloan (Andy Davis) reflects on his relationship with Dinah many years prior, much to the disdain of his son Bobby (Joe Taylor). Jeff East is extremely upset to have lost his mom; and things worsen for Jeff when the parents of his fiancée Debbie (Kitty Carl) force Debbie to break off their engagement because Jeff's mom was not a "she." A movie studio dressmaker and Dinah's confidant, Daniela (Ultra Violet), mourns Dinah's loss; and Tony Locke (Ray Foster) drowns his sorrows in another beer at the local gay bar.
What happens next? Do people calm down or will more skeletons come out of the closet to make the survivors even more upset? What ever happened when Dinah wanted to financially help the widow of the front gate guard who let Dinah in that first day of work at the studio? Does Alan ever get involved with Dinah? Will Tank stay faithful to Dinah through the years? No plot spoilers here, folks--watch and find out!
The DVD does not come with extras--unless you count "scene selection" as an extra.
Overall, "Dinah East" is not exactly something you should be running down the street to get for your DVD collection. It has its value--but not THAT much value. Again, the acting is lousy; and the plot is somewhat contrived at best. Watching it is something like watching a film that someone shot without too much forethought or spending very much; the sets look like they were bought for $1.99 on the street corner. Get this if you must; but please be warned you won't be seeing the best film ever made.
C. Cullen | 05/03/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Only problem is that the original source seems to be video. I was hoping for a restored transfer from film but I suppose as it is a rare film that was the best source available."