Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Olga's Girls

Olga's Girls is a sexploitation classic that played 42nd Street back when 42nd Street had real entertainment. It's a vintage black-and-white roughie obviously shot in someone's suburban home, starring a motley assortment of B-girls and strippers. It's got writing, direction and production values that make Doris Wishman look like Steven Spielberg. The post-dubbed soundtrack features some of the most hilarious lurid-yet-deadpan narration in bad movie history and the visuals are tawdry ladies in tacky lingerie being menaced by the cartoonish sadist, Olga. "Olga's prime business was narcotics and vice."
Olga is a sort of trainer/madam/enforcer for the mob -- whatever job title goes with keeping a half-dozen junkie hookers in your basement and doling out various forms of "discipline." Whenever any of the girls gives backtalk or steals or snitches or spills tea, Olga puts on her "cape of persuasion," which is a sort of pleather hairdresser's smock and heads for the dungeon. Which is just the basement. But they've got a kitchen chair and some stuff from the toolbench in the garage -- vises, pliers, wire brushes.

Yup, I think that even may be some boxes of Christmas decorations and old rug piled up in the background.

Olga will remind underground film fans of the legendary Mary Woronov (of Chelsea Girls and  Rock n' Roll High School), who clearly nicked some of her schtick from Olga. The lead domme is played in fittingly fierce style by Audrey Campbell, an icy, imperious diva who likes putting the hurt on people. The rest of the cast are a random bunch of decal-eyed skanks with collapsing beehives and dope habits. A pimp in a navy blue suit sells her the hussies in pairs. (Olga's Girls has plenty of girl-on-girl action, both in catfight and softcore forms.) Apparently you can buy a hooker for $250. And that's not rental: That's outright ownership. Seems like a deal even at 1964 prices.
 "Last names are seldom used in the business of white slavery."

And so we begin a rather dreary round of shooting up and bondage, shooting up and bondage, shooting up and bondage. Without the narration, it would be utterly unbearable. With the narration, it's kind of funny.

"Susie wanted to go main line and asked Colette to give her the needle. Susie was well-liked."

"I've run other houses for prostitutes before and I've handled narcotics,
but I've never had this type of trouble before."

"It'll take a little time, but I'll teach them! Tramps, lousy tramps, every one!"

"Dope cannot be manufactured locally. It is imported, smuggled in its raw state.
The wholesalers must get their supplies from their headquarters, either in Moscow or Peking."
"She had to find out who the informer was.
The Syndicate was beginning to put pressure on her and the set-up."

"Approximately 43% of all narcotics users in the United States
are located here in New York City...."

"...the FBI is convinced beyond doubt that the spread of narcotics addiction is in line
with the spread and growth of Communism here in  New York and elsewhere in the United States. Dope addiction is on the rise and can be definitely traced to Soviet Russia and
Chinese Communist agents working underground here."

Olga's Girls is not the kind of film one actually sits down and watches. You put it on in the background for the visual weirdness, or make snarky comments about it, or go to the kitchen and shift trays of cupcakes in and out of the oven. But it is, if nothing else, an excellent example of vintage fetish and sleaze, exactly the kind of thing that made the Deuce the Deuce..

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