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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

'Sex Kittens Go to College:' Topless R-rated Higher Education Hi-Jinks

Sex Kittens go to College
The first response to the risque 1960 sex farce, which is a recent edition to Warner Archive's highly eclectic DVD catalog that includes a Blu-ray set of the first season of "The Mentalist," "Sex Kittens Go to College" is that it could have been titled "Mamie Does Mayfield" in reference to "Kittens" star Mamie Van Doren and the later thoroughly awesome Dexter Riley Disney films that starred Kurt Russell as a Mayfield College student. As a bit of trivia, VanDoren does take her name from the old lady of Ike "D-Day" Eisenhower.

Both "Kittens" from classic B-movie king Albert Zugsmith and the Dexter Riley films feature campus-themed mayhem, including plot lines involving super computers, have enough B-List actors for three episodes of "The Love Boat," and include bumbling dim-witted gangsters. One difference is that the Disney films lack the topless dancing segments that the international version on the "Kittens" DVD include, and the then-dreamy Russell does not even appear shirtless.

The antics in "Kittens" immediately begin with a frantic scene accompanied by the catchy but bizarre theme "Sexpot Goes to College" by Conway Twitty, who performs in the film. You can dance to the tune, the lyrics are appropriate, but the bizarre element is that Twitty sings a taunting tone that is much more appropriate for sentiments such as "George likes Mathilda."

The aforementioned George is George Barton, played by dreamy Martin "Marty" Milner of the television series "Adam-12" and "Route 60." Barton is the public relations officer for Collins College, which has just hired the beyond-brilliant Dr. Mathilda West to head its science department. '50s bad girl Van Doren plays West, whose first name very well could have been Mae.

The aforementioned super-computer, S.A.M. Thinko, is responsible for this hiring decision. Thinko, which is played by Westinghouse robot Electro, makes the choice based on West's credentials; college officials blindly accept that conclusion without even meeting West.

West turns out to be a dazzling glamorous blonde who is not shy about shaking things up her colleagues or her students with her outrageous teaching methods and highly flirtatious style. Just about every male in sight becomes hot for that teacher. Additionally, the audience soon learns of West's secret past that jeopardizes her standing at her new job.

The following clip, courtesy of You Tube, is of the scene in which Easterns meet West. It provides a good sense of Van Doren's awesomeness in the role and the spirit of the film.
 

Tuesday Weld, fresh off her exceptional stint playing opposite dreamy Warren Beatty on the spectacular sitcom "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" plays a junior sex kitten who is very much like Weld's Thalia Menninger on "Gillis." Weld's coed Jody has just landed the highly-sought after football star Woo Woo Grabowski, played by Norman "Woo Woo" Grabowski, only to have West's supposedly professional interest in getting Grabowski more comfortable around the fairer sex threaten the new romance.

Brigitte Bardot's sister Mijanou rounds out the litter of sex kittens as an exchange student studying human sexuality. Her involvement is comparable to Sean Connery's brother Neil making the aptly named "Bond" clone film "Operation Kid Brother."

In addition to stirring up Woo Woo and tempting her married male colleagues to scratch their seven-year itches, West's pin-up looks and independent thinking endanger a pending large donation from wealthy college benefactor "Admiral" Wildcat MacPherson. Former child actor, Coogan's Law prompter, and future Uncle Fester on "The Addams Family" television series Jackie Coogan plays MacPherson.

The gangsters add to the chaos by coming on the scene to seek out the previously unseen "Sam" Thinko, whose knack for picking winning horses is cutting into their boss' profits. This quest involves said lawbreakers into the hi-jinks related to West joining the faculty.

The final grade regarding "Kittens" is that this B-film earns a very appropriate B. It is a great example of quasi-alternative "naughty" humor of the era but has a few slow spots, does not have quite as much narrative cohesion as hoped for, and does not stand the test of time quite as well as other classics of all genres from Warner Archive.

One does not expect "The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes" or "Now You See Him. Now You Don't" from Zugsmith or Van Doren, but one hopes for a little more appeal even at the expense of a little less sex.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Kittens" is encouraged to email me. I can also be found on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.