The Amazing Transplant/second review
From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
Just what kind of transplant is it, and why is it amazing? Loooooow budget mastermind, Doris Wishman hoped thousands of movie-goers would purchase a ticket to find out; sitting through a wacky tale of sparkly earrings, illicit love, murder, and a timid guy named Arthur reveals the answer.
Arthur has this friend named Felix; Felix is a real ladies man, and makes quite an impression on Arthur, who hasn’t been so successful with the opposite sex. Even when Felix sets up a double-date for his frustrated friend, he ends up making love to both the gals before poor Arthur even arrives at Felix’s house for the date! Ah, that crazy Felix!
Comparing his sexual conquests to those of Felix bums Arthur out, but he comes up with a brilliant idea that’s sure to make him a hit with the ladies just like his buddy. See, Felix suffers from what his physician, Doctor Mead, diagnoses as a “deadly virus” and his days of living are numbered. Arthur drops in on Doctor Mead, and asks him to perform an operation on him using Felix as the (soon to be deceased) donor. What will Felix donate? Why, the very thing that he’s used all these years to please the ladies, something Arthur believes will give him a solid “leg up” against any competition.
Dr. Meade refuses to cooperate after listening to Arthur’s crazy idea; however, sneaky Arthur reveals that he knows a little known fact about the good Dr. Meade performing several illegal abortions, and that one of his patients died under his care. Bowing to Arthur’s threat of blackmail, the shady doctor agrees to perform the amazing transplant.
Dr. Meade is obviously an excellent surgeon because the operation is performed right there in his small examining room/office. Dr. Meade performs the difficult transplant all by himself, while Arthur relaxes on a table in front of him under a general anesthetic. Arthur proves quite the trooper, nonchalantly talking with Dr. Meade through the complicated procedure, at one point asking the loaded question, “How much longer doctor?!!” While Dr. Meade secures the new member with several stitches, he amusingly chastises the impatient Arthur, “this is a very serious operation – don’t touch!”
Unfortunately, Arthur is about to discover first-hand an uncanny affliction that caused Felix to go bonkers at the sight of any women’s pair of shiny earrings. Now exactly how a transplanted shlong is directly responsible for parlaying the mental afflictions of its previous owner to its new possessor is never explained, so viewers just have to believe. Arthur’s fantasies of perpetual fornication go horribly wrong once the earrings start dangling and Arthur’s libidinous encounters turn into an uncontrollable savagery unleashed on the women he desires.
The Amazing Transplant begins with the rape and murder of Mary Thorne, a girl Arthur has plans to marry. While visiting her apartment, Arthur talks to her as though he’s about to propose; however, future plans for marital bliss take a nose dive once the soundtrack breaks into blaring horns and thumping bass, ominous audio cues signaling the start of another golden-earring freak-out. Sure enough, the newly bequeathed Arthur starts hyperventilating at the sight of Mary’s sparkly earrings, kills her, and then goes on the lamb.
Meanwhile, Arthur’s uncle Bill, who happens to be a police detective, gets on the trail to try and unravel the mystery of Arthur’s disappearance and his possible involvement in homicide. Using Arthur’s address book to guide him, Bill visits the women he finds listed inside; each of whom relate via flashback their recollections of Arthur and his subsequent eruptions of violence towards them.
One incredible story told by a tenant sharing Arthur’s apartment building involves a friendly lesbian who incurs the wrath of Arthur after tossing him a friendly “hello.” Wearing shiny, dangling earrings while tossing out friendly gestures seals her fate, and before you can say, “shiny dangling earrings,” Arthur manhandles the gal down into her apartment and gives her the ‘ol what-for. After his violent attack, the hapless lesbian runs to the bathroom and promptly throws up into the toilet while the camera hovers lovingly across her pimply, bare ass and unpleasant sounds of retching fill the soundtrack! I guess that tells viewers how much lesbians can't stand men!?
Wishman works backwards whle sharing her amazing story, using Detective Bill’s visits with the girls listed in Arthur’s address book as the means by which details of Arthur’s current predicament are slowly revealed. Every single female shares a similar story about how Arthur freaked out and raped them, allowing audience members to get their voyeuristic thrills watching scenes of the usual display of boobs and thrusting buttocks unfolding as flashbacks.
Finally, after much walking to apartments and story after story about Arthur’s horrible bed-side manner, one final visit is made to Dr. Meade by the pudgy little detective. Dr. Meade plays dumb, as though he doesn’t know a thing about Arthur while a huge Great Dane lounging besides the conniving doctor manages to steal the entire scene.
Bill leaves Dr. Meade’s office building, only to be suddenly accosted by frustrated Arthur himself! Arthur whips out a pitiful looking steak knife and cries out that he’s going to kill Dr. Meade for causing him all of this trouble. With a kindly pat on the back, Bill gets Arthur to sit down and has him explain just what the hell has been going on. Arthur then reveals the entire sordid account to both his uncle and the audience, how Dr. Meade knew Felix, Felix and Arthur hangin’ out, the operation, and his subsequent violent outbreaks caused by his tansplanted joy stick.
Arthur shares the most disturbing thing about his pal, “Poor Felix, he was a strange one” he starts, although coming from a guy who just had his dead buddies wanger grafted onto him, how dare he call anybody strange! Arthur continues, “Felix said that whenever he saw a girl wearing gold earrings he would get terribly excited – passionate you know.” Urged on by Uncle Bill, “Think Arthur, it’s very important,” a quick montage of dangling earrings and those incredible blasts of horn and bass guitar (Whah! Whah! Whah! Bum, bum, bum) leads to a Eureka moment when Arthur suddenly blurts out, “Yes! Mary was wearing gold earrings!”
Hmmm, Uncle Bill takes Arthur by the arm, promising that he’ll try to help him out once they first turn Arthur over to the authorities. Closing the film is a shot of a newspaper, a front-page headline, obscured by a well-placed ashtray, reading “Trial Ends Jury Finds Arthur Barlen (ashtray obscures final word).”
Doris Wishman, a self-taught novice of the exploitation movie business, followed her own unique methods to paste together something resembling movies. A single camera, and the “ok” from people volunteering their homes as shooting locations is all this determined individual needed to craft a movie from what often began as simply a catchy title.
C. Davis Smith brought many of Doris Wishman’s movies to life as cameraman, following her unorthodox methods of direction to capture scenes shot entirely without live sound. Shooting scenes minus sound is nothing new, but the methods Wishman concocted to ease the process of inserting dialogue when cutting the film later created a bizarre sort of cinema verite`. The camera disassociates itself from its intended subject matter by wandering its lens across feet, hands, walls, or other inanimate objects as though it were an inattentive third participant of the scene being filmed.
Purposely avoiding the actors’ mouths, scenes are framed with the back of participants’ heads well within the scene, or extreme close-ups of an attentive listener nodding their head in response to someone entirely off screen. Sometimes the camera lingers on an actor’s feet or slides to a nearby table lamp or desk chair, strange camera viewpoints giving Wishman the easiest material to work with when adding her soundtrack. Dialogue could ultimately be placed anywhere within a given scene with absolutely no need to match lip movements of actors to what is being discussed.
Sound quality included with these odd images leads one to suspect that Doris sat with her actors in a living room somewhere, holding the microphone to a twenty-dollar portable tape recorder while reciting the movie’s dialogue. Sometimes actors weren’t even needed to dub their own voices because Wishman would often speak them herself! Heck, sometimes an entire actor wasn’t even needed. Felix, our man-about-town, never appears in the entire film except for one collage of twisted limbs, boobs and butts when he makes out with both his date and Felix’s girl simultaneously. Felix’s ménage a trios is tinted red, looking suspiciously like it was nabbed from a pre-existing black and white production. Another entire dialogue scene between Arthur and Felix takes place in a ridiculously tacky kitchen where Arthur helps himself to a drink while holding conversation with his off-screen buddy who’s supposedly talking to him from the bathroom.
Made simply and cheaply with a craftsmanship truly unique to its creator, Doris Wishman’s films carved a separate niche for themselves among the hundreds of similar exploitation movies churned out during the 60’s and 70’s. Whether following naked space women around Florida’s unique Coral Castle for Nude on the Moon, documenting the rigors of sex change operations for Let Me Die a Woman, or unveiling the grotesque anatomy of Chesty Morgan as a secret agent using her 73 inch bust to smother enemies in Deadly Weapons and Double Agent 73; Doris gained recognition for her truly bizarre stories, odd visual presentation, and of course, as one of the few women making these types of pictures.
British television personality Jonathan Ross caught up with Doris Wishman late in her career for his documentary series, The Incredibly Strange Film Show which examined American exploitation film history. When Jonathan asked Doris when she would retire from the business, a very good natured Wishman, who passed away at the age of ninety in 2002, blew a raspberry at Jonathan exclaiming that she wasn’t old enough to retire, then remarked that she’d retire when she died, and “....even then I may make films in Hell.”
Good luck finding those on dvd.
Reviewed by Nate Miner - 1/31/12