“You bit me!” “You hit me!”

So as I said the other day, a friend decided to celebrate her birthday on Friday not only with drinks up in LA but going to the Nuart to view what proved to be the first LA theatrical showing of a movie initially released at Party at Kitty and Stud’s back in 1970. Her boyfriend and myself were the only ones crazy enough to agree, everyone else coming down with mysterious excuses about sleep and other such inessentials.

An on-the-verge-of-hardcore porn movie of the time — allegedly more detailed bits, as it were, have been removed from the print that now circulates — Party at Kitty and Stud’s was done on the cheap and then some, filmed in the middle of winter with a setting that consists of an apartment, a snowbound park and a couple of brief bits outside a subway stop. As a slice of life in an unplanned way — not the useless plot as such, but in terms of everyone doubtless looking like they regularly did in their own cheap way — it’s somewhere between Andy Warhol/Paul Morrissey’s films and, say, The French Connection, sort of if you squint. (Definitely not on the latter film’s level in any meaningful sense, but you get the feeling that Gene Hackman and Roy Schieder’s characters would have brushed past these people en route to another bust.)

So why go see this generic piece of skinflick? Easy — it starred Sylvester Stallone, who was paid the princely fee of $200, and was rereleased in the late seventies, and now again for you, the discerning viewer, as The Italian Stallion. The official trailer for the film is clunky hilarious enough (you get to see Stallone wipe out in the snow not once but twice) but the deadpan introduction sequence by Gail Palmer that officially starts the rerelease is even loopier.

And the film itself. Well, what to say. It’s not so much a 1970 product now as a 1970s one in general thanks to one of the most ridiculous things about it, namely a near-endless series of ‘stirring’ fanfares and garbage-disco loops that play almost constantly throughout as the musical backdrop. Quite obviously this was done to further play up the Stallone connection, given the music’s intentional cloning of Bill Conti’s brass-heavy theme for Rocky, “Gonna Fly Now.” The end result is a bludgeoning affair, though, with so much unintentional hilarity slamming up against oppressive “argh NO MORE” feelings as it goes on and on that the sweet release of being in a coma beckons.

It matches much of the action, though, and whatever mores or expectations in 1970 would have made a raincoat audience expect and/or willingly set through sequences like a five-minute stretch where various cast members contort in front of a funhouse-style mirror — or an even more jawdroppingly WTF moment when Sly does long stretching poses in a fake tai chi style while posing in front of another mirror, with two women in the background merrily exploring their lesbian sides — can only be imagined by someone like myself who only arrived in this world one year after its filming. Maybe people were just more patient.

As with all such films, it’s the ‘plot’ which is the most useless and therefore the most entertaining part, surplus to requirements as it is beyond a basic ‘make sure there’s an a so we can sort of explain b’ path. Kitty and Stud share an apartment, and Kitty is given to a variety of voiceovers about Stud’s wonderful way with her, her body, her breasts — well, you get the idea. Said voiceovers sound like they were not part of the original filming, FWIW, dropped in as they are in seeming randomness throughout — but this matches well with the one thoroughly obvious overdub where she calls Stud the Italian Stallion. Uh-huh.

Their relationship is, unsurprisingly, rather confused in its nature, matching up well with a film where about three minutes is spent watching Kitty pour out some red wine into a decanter. Apparently Stud’s sole means of support consists of running around snow-covered parks and falling, envisioning spooky women near subway entrances who are nude under fur coats, and going out to play poker for money, which he always loses at. A recipe for success, this, which matches up poorly with the elaborate and well-off Upper East Side-located apartment setting (something my friend, an NYC emigre, had more than a few questions about). Perhaps Stud is retired and just blows his money for the hell of it. At one point he returns from such a disaster, awkwardly punching out a window and getting fake blood over his hand, which Kitty then proceeds to suck off for another agonizingly long time, while a voiceover avers she’d rather be sucking something else. I have questions about the realism of this.

Eventually this leads to the high point in terms of plot, where she binds up his wounds in the bathroom and then proceeds to indulge in her preferred sucking activity — however, Stud, a sensitive character, warns her that she bit him last time. This prompts her to say “I’ll be velvet-mouthed on your shank of love,” a line which I could have lived my whole life without hearing, and which I now share to the world by means of spreading out the pain instead of hoarding it. Regrettably she makes a mistake, leading to the exchange in the title of this blog entry (repeated several more times in succession), causing him to fling her naked into a room where the green paisley wallpaper matched the green paisley bedsheets, toss her onto the bed and beat the bed savagely with a wispy belt while a voiceover female loop screams faintly every two seconds. Machismo is apparently satisfied, though I’ll be damned if I can figure out how. After that there’s nothing left to do but invite everyone over for an orgy that takes up the second half of the film.

I have left out most everything else, including the sequence where the cast members appear to be celebrating their wrap party in said bathroom while one scary woman avers that she has to douche, and you should feel glad at my restraint. I have suffered so you may live. (And BTW, about Stallone’s ‘shank of love’ — yeah, you see it, and there’s not much to see. His scrotum gets more coverage, though, and will serve you as an ipecac if needed.)

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If you want to ride…

So tonight will be an interesting experience, to say the least. A good friend’s birthday party is happening and the highlight, after an evening of drinks and conversation, will be a screening of this film at the Nuart. And you can bet I’ll have some thoughts on that, even if horrified ones.

The trailer of the rerelease should give you a further idea of what’s up. Just.

I’ve just realized I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Stallone film in full. Well, here’s a way to break that trend, then.