As the conservative values of the 1950s quickly morphed into the swinging, anything go-goes sexual revolution of the ’60s, a common cinematic metaphor for the times was the story of the good-girl-gone-bad such as 1963’s Girl in Trouble or the considerably ruder One Naked Night. That sex also equals shame and disgrace is an old canard that enabled filmmakers to wallow in skin and sin while keeping one step ahead of the law. Obviously not content with the typical nudie-cutie trappings of the era, One Naked Night wants to push the envelope. And it does -- by the restrained standards of 1963. Trying to be a bit more realistic in content and a bit more graphic in visuals was a daring move in the early 1960’s, but going too far would certainly raise the wrath of local censor boards and zealous district attorneys. On the other hand, the combination of being raunchy while, at same time, warning the audience of the dire consequences of blatant sexuality... well, that not only took the sting off things, but no doubt kept One Naked Night away from the censor’s scissors.
Reeling from the suicide of her “call girl” mother -- “What she did she did for me! To help me become a lady of quality!” -- Candy Stevens (BARBARA MORRIS) leaves Small Town USA for “a new life in a different world” by heading straight for New York City and shacking up with Laura, her “only true friend,” and Laura’s “frisky” roommates Peg and Barbara. Of course, Candy doesn’t know it yet but Laura and Peg are man hungry nymphos while Barbara... well, Barbara is a moody, sophisticated, touchy-feely lesbian beautifully played by cult icon AUDREY CAMPBELL, the year before she donned the role of Olga. She even wakes Candy up at night and guides her to the terrace where they peep into Laura’s window and watch her making it with two men. Candy’s unnerved: “How could she do that? I could never do anything like that!”
Candy’s descent into immorality starts when she takes a job as a “photographer’s model” -- translation: she poses topless -- and tumbles in the sack with the shutterbug after he takes her to a Twist contest in Harlem! Falling in love with the big lug, their romance is abruptly derailed when Candy finds that Laura is also one of his playmates. Candy then moves in with a sculptor who has no time for her and, disillusioned, returns to Laura’s and decides to become a full-time party girl: “All you have to do is play the game like everyone else!” By the time she turns 22, she’s “seen everything, done everything,” and her birthday bash quickly turns into an old-fashioned orgy. But when Candy wakes in the morning, she’s bummed. While many of us might consider waking up in a pile of semi-naked bodies a goal in life, Candy thinks otherwise -- “You’re dirt!” -- and concludes her New York vacation so abruptly that it’s rather perversely funny. In fact, we suspect that the tragic ending was grim enough to put a smile on the face of censors everywhere.
From a 35mm “nice-girl” print. #3866
-- Watson Pritchard
Barbara MorrisOther cast:
Joe Marshall , Ina Miller , Sally LaneDirected by: