Mondo Movie: a type of exploitation film done in documentary style that usually covers topics like sex, death, and other taboo subjects. Inserted with “Real” footage, actually a lot of it is fake to be honest, these films were embraced by the exploitation crowd. Some of the most well known are the Faces of Death series. To sum it up these are simple Shockumentary viewed for entertainment value. You wont really learn much from them, but for the most part you sure will have fun watching one.
Jayne Mansfield: A Hollywood sex symbol in the 50’s and 60’s as well as one of the first Playboy Playmates. A respected theater actress she became the new Marilyn Monroe in 1956 starring in films like The Girl Cant Help It, Wayward Bus, and Promises! Promises! Where she became the first mainstream actress to appear nude in a film. The true definition of a “Blond Bombshell” Mansfield was never one to shy away from the camera, many times she had the infamous “Wardrobe Slip Up” when cameras were around. And would at times wear bikinis to award shows and junket’s. She sadly passed away in 1967 after a tragic car accident.
Ok History lesson over. Now lets get down to business. Guess what happens when you cross a Mondo Movie, with Jayne Mansfield? You get The Wild Wild World of Jayne Mansfield. A shock value documentary filmed mostly in 1964, but not released until after her death, and after some footage was shot to include that. Rated X for nudity and adult content it’s become one of the most sought after Mondo Films of all time. It follows Mansfield around not only the United States but Europe as well, culminating in her tragic car accident. Which is basically stopping the scene splicing in audio of a car crash sound and show news headlines about it. Because that’s how these films progress.
What you will witness during this film is Jayne, who was a very intelligent woman, “bimbo” it up for the camera. She goes to Cannes where she is clad the entire time in a bikini that is about 4 sizes to small while men all around are basically just ogling at her. When she’s done there she decides to head on down to a local nudist colony where she states “I hope no one is watching” obviously the must think the camera crew are keeping their eyes closed and not filming. But the fun doesn’t stop there. We get to see Jayne judge a transvestite beauty pageant, hang out with topless dancers, party with hookers, getting oil massages, and more. She even stops by the Eiffel Tower where she hopes that “Its never torn down to become a parking lot”
Clearly a lot of footage used is not her, in fact there is a good chuck filmed after she passed. I love the mondo style where you can tell its not even her voice doing most of the narration. I’m not pointing this out to make it sound bad keep in mind. In fact this type of style only makes these films more fun to watch. Jayne was truly a captivating woman and its easy to see why she was the subject of this film.
Beloved by the exploitation crowd The Wild Wild World of Jayne Mansfield is one of the most beloved Mondo films of all time. Its been circulating for a long time, but now thanks to Severin its now available uncut with a marvelous transfer. In fact I doubt this film looked this crisp when it was originally filmed. Severin once again proves they are the company to watch with this transfer. It looks and sounds great, and all the narration comes across perfectly. Nothing muttered or fuzzed out, which you can get in a lot of these films. Its even got a few special features
SD Video Master Version of Feature.
The Devil & Jayne – Interview with Anton LaVey Biographer Blanche Barton.
Wild, Weird, Wonderful Italians – 1966 Italian Mondo, scanned from 35mm print from the Something Weird archives.
I’ve seen about 20 Mondo films in my life and this one is my favorite. Although the film gets a bit dark at the end discussing the tragic way she passed you get the feeling that Jayne was simple a woman who not only loved the spotlight, but life as well. This is just a fun little romp back in time that you should watch even if you are not familiar with Jayne Mansfield. Pick this one up today.
Overall 4 out of 5 Stars!