Blaze Starr Goes Nudist ★★★★

"Of course stripping is an art! All the great artists painted beautiful women. Stripping is just another way of doing the same thing, showing the feminine form that women as well as men have always admired and always will!" - Blaze Starr

Doris Wishman's nudie cutie era might have reached its zenith with the charming rom-com Blaze Starr Goes Nudist. Starring the flame-haired burlesque queen of the same name, this 70-minute diversion suggests that the best thing an overworked actress can do for herself is to dump her annoying agent/boyfriend, ignore industry-organized cocktail parties and embrace going back to nature at Sunny Palms Lodge in Homestead, Florida, USA. There, beautiful Blaze (using her own real name, Belle Fleming, as a pseudonym) finds tranquility and romance with the camp's membership director, Andy Simms (Ralph Young, who sang Blaze Starr's theme song "The Moon Is the Lamp of Love" and made his living as one half of the crooner duo Sandler & Young; they were so corny that they were parodied by Eugene Levy and Martin Short on SCTV). Andy, being the absolute king he is, flirts with Blaze by inviting her to play chess and further woos her by playing accordion at a group hangout, which of course leads to truest love. Compared with the litany of unhappy endings that Doris Wishman had in her films from the mid-60s onward, in which her female characters often have to choose either boring but stable relationships or sexual freedom (always leading to violence and/or death), the film version of Blaze Starr gets to keep her career and continue spending sublime weekends at the nudist colony; it's always sweet when a Wishman heroine is allowed to have her cake and eat it too.

Some of my other favorite details: Blaze's tendency to open her eyes really wide at random intervals while talking, her glamorous ensemble for visiting the local movie theater, her film studio boss being named "D.W." (both a Doris Wishman reference and a D.W. Griffith tribute, I guess?; the character is played by a man), Blaze keeping all her makeup on while taking a bath and, possibly my favorite of all, Wishman giving herself a cameo as one of Blaze's fully clothed friends, a scene made even better by Blaze's bright green dress and matching frilly hat making her look like some kind of sexy vegetable. I really have to hand it to good old Doris, by the way, for later reusing footage of skinny-dipping and nude volleyball from this film in both Deadly Weapons and Double Agent 73, a quick-fix tactic she employed throughout her forty-year career.