Tag Archives: Allen Funt

Money Talks (1972)

money talks

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 6 out of 10

4-Word Review: It’s all about money.

Allen Funt the creator of ‘Candid Camera’ returns with his second cinematic feature all centered around pranks and stunts done on unsuspecting regular people to see just how far they will go when presented with the allure of money. The film examines the deep seated psychological effect that money has in society and how it controls what people do and in some cases what they don’t do.

This feature is an improvement over Funt’s first. Fortunately he keeps the majority of it on a comic level and avoids trying to make unnecessary ‘profound’ social statements. The film is also faster paced and although the music is still annoying it isn’t as bad and has a bit more of a funky beat. Some of the stunts aren’t necessarily all that funny and few become rather redundant and predictable. However, the majority of them I liked and even found fascinating including the one where a woman walks down the street and intentionally allows dollar bills to fall out of a hole in her pocket and drop to the ground behind her and how surprisingly many people would pick them up and chase after her to give them back. The funniest one is where a mild mannered middle-aged woman gets a job answering phone calls for a man who she finds out is a professional hit man. Hearing her diligently taking down an order and answering questions over the price of a hit while trying to mask her shock and remain calm had me laughing-out-loud.

A few of them are definite artifacts of a bygone era including the many relentless attempts a woman goes through to try to retrieve a simple five dollar bill that is lodged beneath a car tire. Another segment has a bare foot hippie girl begging for money on a street sidewalk and her startlingly naïve willingness to go back to a strange man’s apartment who approaches her and says he has shoes for her, which she almost does until Funt and crew advise her not to.

A few of the pranks have celebrities in disguise. My favorite was the one with actress Marian Mercer pretending to be a waitress and asking beforehand how much of a tip the customer planned to give her, so she could plan out what type of service she would give him. The segment where comedian Henny Youngman has no money to pay a hot dog vendor, so instead he tells the irritated man a bunch of lame jokes as ‘payment’ is quite funny and I wished it had been extended longer. Muhammad Ali’s bit isn’t quite as good, but his personality is as engaging as ever.

The film also has some good interviews including an opening bit where a commercial jingle writer comes up with on-the-spot a ditty for the film’s theme, which is not bad. Dominic the knife sharpener becomes almost a show in itself with the flamboyant way that he tries to bargain with Funt over not only how much he should be paid to sharpen his knives, but also for his fee to appear in the film. The interviews with hippies who don’t have jobs and don’t want them could have been more interesting had we seen what happened to them twenty years later and if they were still adamantly in the non-work camp, which I doubt. Funt also interviews his own 6-year-old daughter who is surprisingly more perceptive than you might think.

My Rating: 6 out of 10

Released: August 30, 1972

Runtime: 1Hour 21Minutes

Rated PG

Director: Allen Funt

Studio: United Artists

Available: Amazon Instant Video, Netflix streaming

What Do You Say to a Naked Lady? (1970)

what do you say to a naked lady 2

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 3 out of 10

4-Word Review: Adult style Candid Camera

Allen Funt was a man who started a show in the 40’s on radio called ‘Candid Microphone’, which would catch everyday people in weird, unexpected situations and then get their reactions. With the advent of TV the show switched to the new medium and called itself ‘Candid Camera’ and it became a hit that lasted well into the 70’s. This movie looks at some of the X-rated gags that were too hot for TV. The majority of them have to do with naked women bumping into unsuspecting men in public and getting their reaction. There are also hidden cameras showing viewers watching this movie and then getting their feedback.

The majority of the film really isn’t all that funny. The reactions of the people are predictable and the novelty of seeing people caught off guard by the sight of a naked beautiful woman wears off pretty quickly. Some of the better moments include an interview with a middle-aged woman who sleeps around with a lot of men and admits that she likes it when they get rough with her during sex as that heightens the excitement. There is also an interview with a seventeen-year-old girl who confides to already having sex with 20 men and feels that it can enhance the marriage by being more sexually experienced and not a virgin. Then the girl’s mother watches the interview and admits that although she did ‘save herself for marriage’ she regrets it and feels that her daughter has a good point. Another funny segment deals with a woman looking to be at least 90 who talks about liking big penises and reading sex manuals that shocks even Funt.

Some of the moments where people don’t react instead of when they do are actually more interesting particularly when various different women find themselves alone in a room with a naked man. Another segment deals with an interracial couple openly making out in public, which at the time was still considered ‘controversial’, while in front of senior citizens who respond indifferently and even ignore it, which if anything gets Funt upset and he tries to goad them a little, but to no effect.

The film’s biggest weakness is that it tries biting-off-more-than-it-can-chew. The ‘Candid Camera’ TV-show was nothing more than a gimmick for laughs and this film should have left it at that level, but instead Funt tries to make some ‘profound’ statement in relation to society’s sexual hypocrisy and changing mores that now seem dated and derivative. What may have been titillating at the time is now stale and boring.

The movie’s musical score is another major problem.  All the songs have a generic ‘Sesame Street’ melody to them and the lyrics of each song narrate what is happening on the screen, which isn’t necessary and condescending to the viewer.

There is also a segment where Funt interviews people on the street asking them if they know how birds have sex, which I found interesting because I never thought about it before and it got me to go to Wikipedia to read about it. However, the film never answers its own question, which I thought was weak. They should have shown some nature footage of two birds ‘getting-it-on’, which probably would have been the most provocative and genuinely fascinating thing in the whole movie.

what do you say to a naked lady 1

My Rating: 3 out of 10

Released: February 18, 1970

Runtime: 1Hour 25Minutes

Rated X

Director: Allen Funt

Studio: United Artists

Available: DVD, Amazon Instant Video