Lemon Popsicle

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Lemon Popsicle
Lemon Popsicle (film poster).jpg
Film poster
Directed by Boaz Davidson
Produced by Yoram Globus
Menahem Golan
Written by Boaz Davidson
Eli Tavor
Starring Yftach Katzur
Zachi Noy
Jonathan Sagall
Cinematography Adam Greenberg
Edited by Alain Jakubowicz
Production
company
Noah Films
Distributed by Noah Films (Israel)
SCO (West Germany)
Release dates
  • 11 February 1978 (1978-02-11)
Running time 95 minutes
Country Israel
Language Hebrew
Budget 3,000,000
Box office 12,500,000 (Israel; 1978)

Lemon Popsicle (Israeli: Eskimo Limon, Hebrew: אסקימו לימון‎) is a 1978 Israeli cult film directed by Boaz Davidson which led to a series of sequels.[1]

Film[edit]

Theme[edit]

Lemon Popsicle and the following sequels centre around three young men who are friends: melancholic and sensitive Benzi (Yftach Katzur), handsome and reckless womaniser Momo (Jonathan Sagall), cunning and streetwise Yudale (Zachi Noy). The names of the characters had been changed respectively to Benji (Benny in German releases), Bobby, and Hughie (Johnny in German releases) for the international audience. The pivotal character is Benzi based on the director himself[2] and recurring characters in the series include Benzi's mother Sonia (Dvora Kedar), Benzi's father Romak (Menashe Warshavsky), the trio's nerdy friend Froike (Victor in English-language releases, played by Avi Hadash), and Bracha (Martha in English-language releases, played by Rachel Steiner), an ugly and horny girl from the school. Comic parts in the storyline are usually linked to Yudale's often futile attempts to have sex.

Lemon Popsicle (the first film in the series) focuses on Benzi, Momo, and Yudale as final-grade high school kids growing up in Tel Aviv and deals with their relationships with each other and of course, girls. The film, although a typical adolescence story, tackles subjects such as abortion and unrequited love, not happily resolved by a neat ending. The film recreates the life of a late-fifties teenager - including the clothes, music, behaviour, scenery and cars.

Synopsis[edit]

Nili (Niki in English-language release, played by Anat Atzmon), a beautiful new girl comes to the school of the friend trio. Benzi, the typical "nice guy" of the three immediately falls in love with Nili. However, Nili prefers more pushing and experienced Momo who is keen on deflowering her. Later, it is revealed that Momo had impregnated and dumped Nili. Benzi, hoping to start a relationship with her, helps Nili get an abortion and emotionally consoles her, only to see that she soon returns to the arms of Momo.

The film contains the memorable scene with an older olah named Stella (Ophelia Shtruhl) enticing the three kids into having sex with her in sequence, and then earning the nickname "Stella HaMegameret" ("A-cumming Stella") for she screams "I'm a-cumming! I'm a-cumming!" (instead of "cumming") during sex because of her poor Hebrew.

Budget[edit]

The picture was produced at a budget of 3 million Israeli lira, of which a million were paid in royalties to the foreign, mostly American musicians whose songs were used in the soundtrack.[3]

Box office success[edit]

It became an immediate commercial success; by December 1978, Lemon Popsicle sold 1,268,000 tickets in its native country and grossed 12.5 million lira. It was circulated in 700 prints in Europe, where it earned $650,000 during the same period.[4] In total, it sold 1,350,000 tickets in the state, becoming the highest-grossing Israeli picture in history.[3] In West Germany, it reached the 11th place at the 1978 box office, with 2.7 million tickets sold. [5] Lemon Popsicle also gained considerable popularity in the rest of Europe and in Japan.[6] It was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film in the 36th Golden Globe Awards, losing to the Ingmar Bergman's Autumn Sonata.[7] The film was also selected as the Israeli entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 51st Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.[8]

Sequels[edit]

The series became a success in Germany under the name Eis am Stiel. Most of the films were also dubbed into English and were released in both the United States and United Kingdom.

First sequel[edit]

In 1979 the first sequel Yotzim Kavua (Going Steady) was released. Anat Atzmon did not take a part in this movie, and there was an effort to find a new "Eskimo Limon girl". Like the original film, this film was about the same characters and included soft sex scenes and was similar in tone to Eskimo Limon. This time Benji tried dating a sensitive girl while Momo cheated on his girlfriend in favor of a large breasted girl.

Going Steady sold 640,000 tickets in Israel[9] and 1.5 million in West Germany.[10]

Second sequel[edit]

Additional films in the series were produced, based on the three male actors. The second sequel, Shifshuf Naim (Hot Bubblegum - 1981) was significantly lighter and breezier, stepping away from some of the heavier conflicts portrayed in the first two films. Most likely influenced by the teen American sex comedies released around that time. Main segments included Momo having sex with Benji's visiting older blond German cousin (Sibylle Rauch), with Yudale replacing him and eventually getting stuck in her resembling a bulbus glandis. Another segment had the trio hearing about a local piano tutor who likes receiving handjobs from her students during her lessons. They immediately go waiting outside her place while Momo takes a lesson. During the lesson, Momo casually performs a handjob on the older large breasted blond tutor (Christiane Schmidtmer in her last acting role). She then gives him an off-screen fellatio in return. But when Yudale is next, he is paired with her uptight large and unattractive sister, who is furious when he attempts the same thing.

Hot Bubblegum sold 570,000 tickets in Israel[9] and 1,757,426 in West Germany.[11]

Third sequel[edit]

This lighter trend continued with Sapiches (Private Popsicle - 1982), which started with the trio convincing a married woman (Bea Fiedler) to have sex with them one night before they enlist in the Israel Defense Forces. As usual, Momo is successful, but Yudale is soon chased out by her husband. The rest of the movie involves their boot camp experiences with new cast member Joseph Shiloach as their Sergeant Shemesh—a stereotypical Persian Jew.

Private Popsicle sold 660,000 tickets in Israel[9] and 1,293,759 in West Germany.[12]

Spin-off[edit]

Sapiches had its own spin-off film, Sababa (Private Manouvers - 1983) centering around the characters of Yudale with Shemesh, still in the army. This movie lacked the characters of Benji and Momo, but had Yudale beating a frustrated Shemesh in getting in bed with The Swiss Ambassador's wife (the series' now regular Sibylle Rauch). This movie is not counted as part of the series.

Private Manouvers sold 320,000 tickets in Israel[13] and 285,000 in West Germany.[12]

Fourth sequel[edit]

Reuniting all the characters, the fourth sequel was directed by Dan Wolman, Roman Za'ir (Baby Love - 1984), which seemingly married the earlier style of the first movie with the later 'sex-comedy' approach. Dolly Dollar plays another of Benji's large breasted blond German cousins, only the glass wearing dozy cousin is after Benji. After Yudale loosenes her up by getting her drunk, she spots Benji's father sleeping. Mistaking him for his son Benji, she enters his bed and makes up with him before getting caught by his wife. Bea Fiedler also returns as a nerdy looking dental assistant who, when the dentist is not present, is rumored to mount on the dental chair any client who winks at her. As usual, Momo proves the rumors right, but Yudale gets caught in the act by the dentist, who punishes him by a rushed dental treatment.

Baby Love sold 309,000 tickets in Israel[14] and 973,357 in West Germany.[15]

Fifth sequel[edit]

Conflict plagued the fifth sequel Harimu Ogen (Up Your Anchor - 1985) resulting in lead actor Jonathan Sagall not participating in the project and later attempting to sue for the unauthorised use of earlier footage of him within the film. After Yudale is caught trying to have sex by his date's father (a returning Joseph Shiloach), he tries to get away by getting a work on a cruise ship. Benji joins him in order to get close to one of the female passengers he met on shore. Alas, Shiloach's character happens to be the worker in charge of both of them. Main segments included a Countess passenger (Bea Fiedler) having sex with the comically grateful character of Shiloach. She does so in order to allow her Count husband to plant stolen jewels in his shoes (and thus smuggle them without risking the couple themselves). Later on in a shore leave in Venice, Yudale learns some local fortune tellers are also hookers if being told the right secret phrase. His own fortune teller ignores his phrase though. But after he reaches under her cloak for her large breasts, she suddenly gives him a handjob, then lies down topless and signals for him. When he approaches her, she gives him another handjob but this time taking off her hood to reveal a disfigured face. Before he reacts, she already pulls him down and climbs on top of him. However, her fire breathing husband then comes in and chases Yudale out with fire breaths. The movie ends in a clash between the Count, Shiloach's character and Venice's police, followed up with Benji finally catching up with his love interest and sharing a romantic moment.

Up Your Anchor sold 279,000 tickets in Israel[16] and 546,437 in West Germany.[17]

Sixth sequel[edit]

The sixth sequel, Ahava Tzeira (Young Love - 1987), was produced by Germany and seemed a rather effortless affair to cash in on the three character's likability. The plot reunited the original cast. When they need money to pay for a car they crashed in a tree, they take up jobs in a beach hotel. Sibylle Rauch made her comeback to the series as a hotel guest who invited the hotel worker Yudale to her room to have sex. Alas, her husband soon enters the room to have sex with her himself, forcing Yudale to hide under their bed and pretend to be their dog. Eventually the husband catches him and chases him out.

Young Love sold 530,211 tickets in West Germany.[18]

Seventh sequel[edit]

The seventh sequel and final part featuring the original trio was Summertime Blues (1988 film), largely unseen outside of Germany. In keeping in line with the popular TV edited versions of the earlier films, this had hardly any raunchy content at all but returned the well known versions of songs from the sixties, woefully[citation needed] lacking since the fifth movie, most likely due to budget. The trio open up a club. Sibylle Rauch returns as their worker (she gets the job after deciding to be interviewed in the nude), who also later dates Benji (which signals the only time in the series they paired up).

Summertime Blues sold 168,758 tickets in West Germany.[19]

Eighth sequel - the new generation[edit]

In 2001, a new sequel was made which was called Eskimo Limon - The Party Goes on and was done in an attempt to update the series by using young actors. The movie, directed by Tzvi Shissel, was a commercial success, but not in the magnitude of the first movie in the series. This movie introduced the first topless performances by actresses Miri Bohadana (as a girl who is tempted by Momo to cheat on her boyfriend with him) and Orit Fux (in the character of the large breasted singing teacher in the protagonists' school - in a somewhat new version of the piano tutor in the third movie in the series, Shifshuf Naim - to whom Momo reaches in the pretext of a personal examination for the school's band, and manages to make her ignore his age and sleep with him on the piano's keys, for the amazement of the other examinees in the hall, who hear her moans from beyond the door).

The Party Goes on sold 152,869 tickets in Israel.[20]

American remake[edit]

In 1982, Davidson wrote and directed an American remake, The Last American Virgin, which was not met with the same success as the original.[21]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ New York Times
  2. ^ Yiftach Katzur - Lemon Popsicle Forever
  3. ^ a b Almog, O'z. Peridah mi-Śeruliḳ: shinui ʻarakhim ba-eliṭah ha-Yiśreʼelit. Zemorah-Bitan (2004). ISBN 9789653110519. p. 1156.
  4. ^ סרט השנה: אסקימו לימון (Film of the Year: Lemon Popsicle). Maariv, 28 December 1978, p. 47.
  5. ^ Top 50 Deutschland 1978. insidekino.com.
  6. ^ Vasudev, Aruna. Being and Becoming: the Cinemas of Asia. MacMillan (2002). ISBN 9780333938201. p. 222.
  7. ^ 36th Golden Globe Awards. goldenglobes.org.
  8. ^ Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
  9. ^ a b c Talmon, Miri. Blues La-Tzabar Ha-Avood. Open University of Israel (2001). ISBN 9789650605599. p. 148.
  10. ^ Top 50 Deutschland 1979. insidekino.com.
  11. ^ Top 50 Deutschland 1981. insidekino.com.
  12. ^ a b Top 100 Deutschland 1983. insidekino.com.
  13. ^ סבבה: ההפקה (Production of Sababa). edb.co.il.
  14. ^ רומן זעיר: ההפקה (Production of Roman Zair). edb.co.il.
  15. ^ Top 100 Deutschland 1984. insidekino.com.
  16. ^ הרימו עוגן: ההפקה (Production of Harimu Ogen). edb.co.il.
  17. ^ Top 100 Deutschland 1985. insidekino.com.
  18. ^ Top 100 Deutschland 1987. insidekino.com.
  19. ^ Top 100 Deutschland 1988. insidekino.com.
  20. ^ החגיגה נמשכת: ההפקה (Production of haHagiga Nimshechet). edb.co.il.
  21. ^ New York Times

External links[edit]