The Immoral Mr. Teas
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|The Immoral Mr. Teas|
Theatrical poster to The Immoral Mr. Teas
|Directed by||Russ Meyer|
|Produced by||Peter A. DeCenzie|
|Music by||Edward J. Lakso|
|Edited by||Russ Meyer
John F. Link Sr. (uncredited)
|Distributed by||Pad-Ram Enterprises|
|Box office||$1.5 million|
The Immoral Mr. Teas (1959) is the first commercially successful film of director Russ Meyer. The film was described as a nudist comedy and was noted for exhibiting extensive female nudity. The film cost $24,000 to produce and eventually grossed more than $1,500,000 on the independent/exploitation circuit.
The only sound in the film is the voice of a narrator and a very monotonic musical theme.
Mr. Teas (Bill Teas) is a door-to-door salesman for dentist appliances who delivers on his bicycle. Teas is a clumsy and shy man, who likes to watch happy couples and daydreams when looking down the necklines of women he meets. The only way that he is able to have sex is with a prostitute. After undergoing surgery at the dentist, Teas realizes that the anesthetic has overcome his inhibitions, and given him X-ray vision, enabling him to see all women without their clothes. He is happy at first, but gradually begins to be embarrassed. For example, he goes to the river and sees three women swimming, and he sees them as naked. The three women are those he sees daily: the dental nurse, a secretary and waitress in the bar. Teas decides to go to a psychoanalyst, and he also sees her naked. The voiceover says: "On the other hand, some men are happy to be sick."
Before this film was released, the only moving pictures exhibiting extensive nudity were either underground (covertly produced and distributed) pornographic films, typically distributed "under the counter" in 16 mm black and white movies, or naturist pictures, openly displayed in specialized movie theaters, usually under the cover of exhibiting the fun and freedom of nudism in naturist reserves (nudist camps).
The Immoral Mr. Teas was the first American "above ground" movie since the pre-Code early sound era to show female nudity without the pretext of naturism. It is considered to be the first commercially viable American "skin flick" and popularized the nudie cutie genre.
The movie consists of a series of short scenes. In a sense, no one is actually naked; the only nudity seen is through the viewpoint and vivid imagination of Mr. Teas. Mr. Teas's mental constructions extend beyond the nudity (always exclusively of female characters)—there is an underlying surrealism in Mr. Teas's imagination which results in a number of genuinely bizarre situations.
A typical scene
Mr. Teas attends an appointment with his dentist, who must perform an extraction of a molar. The dentist has an assistant (Marilyn Wesley), who is stunningly beautiful and not-quite modestly dressed. The application of analgesics releases Mr. Teas's fertile imagination, and the scene is shown through this viewpoint. Rather than the typical equipment-cluttered dental office, only a dentist, a dental chair, Mr. Teas, and the assistant are present against a stark and simple background. Only now the assistant is completely nude. As the procedure is completed the dentist removes the molar from Mr. Teas's mouth, but rather than only a small object in the extraction pliers the molar has the appearance of a single large staghorn (deer antler) with a number of points. The body of the "molar" is white, while each tip (representing the roots of the molar) is colored a bloody red. Mr. Teas has paid a price for his lustful imagination.
- King of the Nudies on Biggest Film Caper Yet Thomas, Kevin. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 30 Nov 1969: s18.