Lisa Rack enlivens half-baked exploitation epic
Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 10/13/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"FLESH MERCHANT (aka "The Wild and Wicked") is a fairly entertaining little grindhouse gem from 1956. Joy Reynolds plays Nancy Walker, a wide-eyed kid just off the bus visiting her older sister (Lisa Rack) a fashion model in Los Angeles. Pretty soon Nancy is green with envy when she spies her sisters' fur stole and swanky apartment. Nancy takes a job as a nude model before landing a spot at a high-class resort which is merely a front for an elaborate callgirl service. To her astonishment, Nancy discovers her sister is one of the veteran escorts. Together they conspire to "beat this rap"!
Enjoyable trash. Lisa Rack - in her only film - is fabulous and gives a performance undeserving of the material. Joy Reynolds is an eyeful, though her mannered speaking voice gets very very annoying...very very quickly. Alpha's DVD presents the film under it's alternate "Wild and Wicked" title. With Geri Moffatt, Marko Perri, Guy Manford, Ray Guth, Wayne Winton and Sam Rosen."
Jery Tillotson | new york city | 03/23/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm always fascinated by these long-ago grindhouse exploitation films because you can sometimes come across stand-out talent. In this effort, we're treated to a glimpse of a tawdry, sleazy world of escort girls who do nude modeling. There's only a mini-second of a nude woman--shot from behind--but this must've been a great money-shot for all those men with raincoats sitting in some grindhouse theater on 42nd street.
The real standout in this movie is Lisa Rack, who portrays the older sister of her wild and out-of-control sibling, played very effectively by Joy Reynolds. Pack has a big dramatic scene toward the end where she denounces the scum who've entrapped her and her sister. There's nothing amateur about Pack in this electrifying moment and you wonder why she never made anymore flicks.
This is a fascinating little tale that makes you wonder: what happened to the game cast? How were they chosen? What did they do between takes? Where was the movie shot?
I discovered this gem on a fantastic compilation of 20 other grindhouse movies that were put together by Mill Creek in their Cult Movies collection. This is a fabulous bargain."