1. The character with the silly name of Woo Woo Grabowski? He’s played by the actor with the silly name of Woo Woo Grabowski.
2. Not only has Warner Archive rescued this kooky comedy from nowheresville, but brings us the “extended international version.” That means boobs.
Once Orson Welles’ producer, Albert Zugsmith ditched prestige to chase the easy money, and in 1960, nothing was easier than the teenage audience. Previously ignored by Hollywood until the likes of AIP and Roger Corman made a mint catering to them, those kids would pay for anything geared specifically toward them. It didn’t even have to be good!
Case in point: Sex Kittens Go to College, starring Mamie Van Doren — the poor man’s Jayne Mansfield, who is the poor man’s Marilyn Monroe — as Dr. Mathilda West. She has a photographic memory and a photograph-worthy frame; she boasts an IQ of 298 and a bod of 40-20-32. Puts a professor so perfectly upon meeting this blonde buxom genius: “It can’t be true! Thirteen university degrees never looked like this!” Sure enough, Dr. West has to deal with her past as, ahem, The Tallahassee Tassel Tosser.
Although it’s in black and white, Sex Kittens has all the ingredients of a Frankie Avalon/Annette Funicello romp: rock ‘n’ roll singing and dancing, a chimp who types with his feet, a giant robot named Thinko, cameos from has-beens (Vampira, John Carradine) and plenty of innocent-enough innuendo (“How do you feel about oral examinations, professor?”).
But whereas no Beach Party would dare to contain nudity, Sex Kittens offers plenty, with an extended sequence of back-to-back-to-back-to-back stripteases excised for prudish American moviegoers. No more! Its inclusion is good for film history, but bad for the movie, which actually posits a feminist message — one that gets bumped and ground out when Zugsmith exploits the very thing his movie otherwise claims to condemn.
Living in its own curvaceous, carefree world, the flick is more than watchable, even if all its jokes fall in the way that Van Doren is not: woefully flat. —Rod Lott
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