Flesh Merchant: The Wild and Wicked [DVD] [1955]

Merle W. Connell's Flesh Merchant (aka The Wild and the Wicked) is an exploitation movie that stands somewhere midway between the B-pictures of Edgar G. Ulmer and the crime dramas of Edward D. Wood Jr. -- the acting is very "Wood-en" in both senses of that word. The source print is clean and from a very uneven 16 mm print, slightly soft in the first half, but no worse than what was used for legitimate television showings; however, the second half is marred by deep horizontal scratches and serious changes in contrast and density, and the ending chops off with barely any credits, as though the print broke. Given the unique nature of the subject matter -- not too many 1950s movies dealt with prostitution rings, after all -- all of those flaws might well be forgiven by enthusiasts for the exploitation genre (and guys -- or girls -- who like slightly zaftig women prancing and dancing around in one-piece bathing suits will love this movie). The requisite six chapters are more than adequate for the hour-long movie, which is closer in class and spirit to Edward D. Wood Jr.'s work than most of those involved in its making undoubtedly ever meant it to be. The 1956 movie has been transferred in a full-frame Academy ratio (1.33:1), in keeping with its low-budget origins.
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Flesh Merchant
The exploitational The Flesh Merchant purports to be the case study of two prostitutes. Joy Reynolds and Lisa Rack play the ladies in question, pontificating on their chosen profession while gamboling about in the briefest of undergarments. Mariko Perri and Guy Manford co-star as the main men in the girls' lives. Typical of its era, the film stops short of actual sex scenes, though little else is left to the imagination. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

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    Lisa Rack - Paula
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    Joy Reynolds
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    Guy Manford - Sogel
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    Mariko Perri - Perrini
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    Sam Rosen
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