Mollymauk, der Wunderknabe (1966)

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Mollymauk, der Wunderknabe: Directed by George Axelrod. With Roddy McDowall, Tuesday Weld, Lola Albright, Martin West. A bright satirical comedy about an innocent high school girl granted her wishes by a student prodigy. A broad satire of teenage culture in the sixties, its targets ranging from progressive education to beach movies.

“Sex suffused satire on something or other that may have been cutting edge in u0026#39;66, but is no longer. Sure, I get the shaking beach butts of Gidget, the drive-in religiosity of SoCal car culture, or Momu0026#39;s Playboy bunny cumu0026#39; prostitute. Some movie parts of course are funnier than others. Trouble is, whether funny or not, theyu0026#39;re poorly blended, unlike the better satires of the day—The Loved One (1965), Dr. Strangelove (1964). Unfortunately, the vignettes here sprawl without adding up.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eWhat the film does have in spades is Tuesday Weld. If there was ever a better sex kitten with bite, I havenu0026#39;t seen her. She injects real spunk into the often lame proceedings. Plus, who would have thought that Peter Gunnu0026#39;s dignified torch singer, Lola Albright, could be so funny. Then too, what an inspiration getting Ruth Gordon to do her waspish bit, as a mother, no less. On the other hand, Mc Dowell tries hard, but heu0026#39;s caught up in a role that borders on the incoherent. Could be that his 35-year old teenager is supposed to make a profound statement, but if so, Itu0026#39;s beyond meu003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eAs I recall, writer Axelrodu0026#39;s film got a lot of buzz at the time. After all, the mid-60u0026#39;s were a time of growing social ferment. Thus, the long-time lid on movies was at last coming off, and what these satirical films show is that black humor was definitely in the air. Trouble is, unlike Strangelove or Loved One, this film doesnu0026#39;t get beyond that time period. Thereu0026#39;s no unifying theme that could compensate for the meandering lamer parts. As a result, itu0026#39;s more like a regional (SoCal) artifact than anything lasting– except, of course, for us fans of Tuesday, in which case itu0026#39;s a permanent fan fest.”

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