AFED #40: Deadly Weapons (US, 1974), Double Agent 73 (US, 1974); Dir. Doris Wishman

Back in the late eighties Jonathan Ross presented a series on Channel 4 that's pretty much the only worthwhile thing he's ever done. The Incredibly Strange Film Show ran for just twelve episodes and served as an introduction to all manner of weird and wonderful cult movies; everybody from Ray Dennis Steckler to George Romero.

In those pre-internet days it was all but impossible to get hold of such films and the series gave a tantalising glimpse into a forbidden world. One episode in particular which lodged in my memory featured the work of Doris Wishman; most famous of which are the two films she made starring exotic dancer Chesty Morgan.

Even as a pubescent 14 year-old I remember being more appalled than turned on by Chesty's 73FF-32-36 figure. I mean, all straight men will tell you that breasts are great but for most of us there are acceptable limits. Chesty - real name Lillian Wilczkowsky - was quite simply a freak and apparently happy to let herself be defined by those monstrous attributes.

It puts a slightly different perspective on things when you discover she was a Polish emigre struggling to raise two children after her husband was brutally murdered. Stripping and burlesque offered a route out of poverty and within a couple of years she'd become a huge star on the club circuit.

Then in 1974 Chesty met nudie and sexploitation specialist Doris Wishman. Sometimes referred to as the 'female Ed Wood', the more I learn about Wishman's career the more intrigued I become, and would like to return to her more specifically in a later entry when I've researched further. By all accounts the two women didn't really hit it off, but their collaboration spawned two films, Deadly Weapons and Double Agent 73...

Now if you know the sexploitation genre it probably won't come as a surprise that neither film is blessed with a great plot. It's fairly obvious what their chief asset will be and they're milked (figuratively speaking) to their full potential. I doubt longer than two minutes goes by in either film without Chesty unleashing her mammalian protuberances and you'd have to be a true fetishist not to get bored of them very quickly.

In Deadly Weapons Morgan plays the girlfriend of a mobster who unwisely decides to blackmail his boss and pays for it with his life. Chesty embarks on a revenge mission and, after tracking down and seducing each in turn, smothers the two murderers to death with her breasts. They're the 'deadly weapons' - you see? In both cases you do wonder why it wouldn't have been easier to grab a pillow or knock them over the head with a blunt instrument. Hold on... I guess that might have ruined the gimmick.

As Double Agent 73 she undertakes a secret mission to expose heroin dealer. Instead of breast asphyxiation this time Chesty has a hidden camera surgically implanted in one of her mammaries, necessitating her to remove her top and squeeze the breast when she wants to take a picture. It was so excruciatingly dull and incoherent that after the first thirty minutes I was more intent on watching the Time Remaining counter on my dvd player. Seriously.

Truth be told Morgan has nothing to offer besides her tits; she's not especially attractive, can barely act and had to be dubbed because of her Polish accent. Even on the occasions she's called upon to perform a striptease she's surprisingly uncharismatic. If you're not getting off on the novelty value you're pretty much at a loose end.

Wishman's direction is an experience in itself. She's incapable of holding a shot for more than a few seconds and the use of odd angles, arbitrary jump cuts and meaningless cutaways is, to say the least, unique. That's if you excuse a shameless ripoff of Psycho's most famous scene in Double Agent 73. She may not always seem entirely competent but you have to compliment her audacity. I've a suspicion there are more engaging pieces in the Wishman filmography.

I suppose it would have been more surprising if I had liked these two films but one always hopes for the best. Onwards!


  1. Good on you Richard - both of Wishman's films here are more of a chore to sit through than their synopses suggest, but Kudos for doing so. If you want to return to Wishman, her other definative film is the staggering (for so many reasons) sex-change opus Let Me Die A Woman - If you can find a copy, I look forward to your review!

  2. Neil, funnily enough I downloaded a copy of Let Me Die a Woman over the weekend, so a review may be pending!


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