3/18/16

Double Feature #25: Strangers in a Strange Land


The Wicked Dreams of Paula Schultz (1968) and Test Tube Teens from the Year 2000 (1994)

While wildly different types of films, both of our features have a common theme: escaping a land of repression and entering a strange world of sexual freedom.

In The Wicked Dreams of Paula Schultz, Elke Sommer escapes from the cold Commie world of East Germany by going incognito into the carefree shagadelic Western world.  In Test Tube Teens from the Year 2000, a trio of students escape from the cold sexless future run by the sexually repressed Morgan Fairchild by going incognito back in time to the carefree 1990s.

But the similarities don't end there.  There is cross-dressing in both films: Bob Crane disguises himself as a woman and the test tube teens do the same. Let's watch!



The Wicked Dreams of Paula Schultz (1968)


A film starring Bob Crane and a couple of his Hogan's Heroes castmates has me intrigued; add Elke Sommer to the mix, and I'm popping this tape in and pressing 'play'.  Plus, it's directed by George Marshall, the guy behind numerous old Hollywood classics like How the West Was Won (1962).  The cherry on top is that Bob Crane is starring in a sex farce.... and given what we know about Mr. Crane's (ahem) habits, it adds a whole new dimension to the film.  Let's watch...


The film begins with East German athlete, Paula Schulz (Elke Sommer) winning all kinds of medals for her victories in track and field.  When Klaus (Werner Klemperer - Col. Klink from Hogan's Heroes) pins yet another medallion to her already full shirt, its weight pulls her shirt completely off.


Wait - did this just happen? Granted, you blink and you'll miss it, but I'm still a bit surprised at the level of risque for a 1960s United Artist mainstream Hollywood production starring the gang from Hogan's Heroes!


Paula's fame attracts the attention of the Ministry of Propaganda.  They want to make her Miss East Germany. But what's a poor East German girl to wear?  Luckily, she has some bootleg clothing which causes jaws to drop at the Ministry.


The Ministry is not amused. They want her in humble peasant garb atop a tractor.  But Paula is a liberated woman, and refuses.

Surprisingly, the Assistant Minister of Propaganda, Klaus, secretly agrees with her.  Klaus saves her from banishment to the tractor factory and pulls her safely away with him..


She's given a groovy pad with ultra-shagadelic decor, which is obviously much to Paula's liking. How do we know this? Because she writhes orgiastically on the bed.


But Klaus' help doesn't come via his support of Women's Lib, but rather his insatiable lust. It seems he's put her up in this swingin' pad for one reason only - to get it on with Paula.


Klaus' advances border on sexual assault, and, as nice as her new digs are, it's not worth shagging with Colonel Klink.  So, she pulls his smoking jacket over his head and makes a break for it, running through the streets of East Berlin.


Finally, she pole vaults to safety over the Berlin Wall... but loses her miniskirt in the barbed wire. Much respect to director George Marshall for this genius bit of gratuitous eye candy.  But it only gets better...


Paula dives into a river only to have her bra and panties snared by a couple of guys fishing.  Given that this is 1968 and a mainstream production, we don't see any naughty bits.  Instead, she steals a trenchcoat from some picnickers and runs into a nearby town.


 Now on the run for thievery, Paula evades the police by scaling a building and sliding down a fireman's pole from the roof.  As luck would have it - this is the Joy-Joy Club, and the owners of this burlesque establishment are impressed by her entrance.


That evening, we meet Bill Mason (Bob Crane) at the Joy Joy Club.  He's a con man who earns his living smuggling products (alcohol, hairspray, nylons, cigarettes, etc.) into East Berlin.  He owes some shady mobsters a lot of money, so he's got to pull off his next run - or else!


Also at the Joy Joy Club is Weber (John Banner - Sgt. Schultz from Hogan's Heroes) who's been assigned by Klaus to find the runaway athlete.  Imagine his surprise when he sees her swinging from the club ceiling as the beautiful Rainbow Girl!


A rather troubling scene: The club's master of ceremonies announces a game of audience participation.  The guy who can strip off her panties can have Rainbow Girl sit at their table!  Pamela obviously had no prior knowledge of this, and she is screaming while hordes of men try to rip off her panties!


Bill Mason's "business partner" tells him that it's a deal if he can get her panties.  Thankfully, Bill realizes that Paula is not a consensual participant in this disturbing game.  So, he heaves her to safety through the curtains. After a quick scuffle with Weber's strongarm, the two escape to Bill's hotel.


But is conman Bill really out to help Paula, or does he have designs of his own to cash in on the famous athlete by selling her back to the East Germans?  He calls Klaus to set up an exchange - Paula for $70,000 (enough to pay off the thugs who are after him).

Also notice another Hogan's Heroes cast member: Leon Askin played General Burkhalter.  He plays Oscar, another of Klaus' henchmen.


Weber finds Paula at the hotel and pretends to be a friendly newspaper reporter.  He whisks her away to a traditional German beer hall where, once again, there's a strange ritual of men clamouring beneath a screaming female. What's up with this?


Having never had alcohol, Paula gets hopelessly drunk.  Just when Weber thinks he's got her, mayhem ensues at the beer hall thanks to Paula's drunk ass.  Amid the chaos, Bill manages to steal away with Paula.


Bill takes Paula to a place no one would suspect, the apartment of a friend of his, Herbert Sweeny (Joey Forman).  Herb is a actually in the CIA - they were old friends way back when.


Herbert is a henpecked husband, and his domineering wife Barbara (Maureen Arthur) will not appreciate a drunk floozy in her bed  (We were actually introduced to Herbert and his wife  back at the Joy Joy Club earlier in the movie.)


The next day, Paula is set up by Bill (who obviously has no soul) and nearly falls into the hands of Klaus. But she manages to put her athleticism to use again and eludes Weber and Oscar (They really should consider sending younger henchmen to capture Paula).

She arrives back at Herbert's hotel room wearing Barbara's dress, which now all torn.


Naturally, when Herbert tries to help her with the zipper, it rips completely off (that sort of thing happens all the time, right?). And, of course, this happens just in time for Barbara to get back,  This has all the makings of a Three's Company or Confessions of a... film.  Compromising positions provide a comedy avenue that never gets old.


Comedy gold, I tell you.  Comedy gold.


Unfortunately, things only get worse for the Sweenys.  Weber breaks into their apartment and abducts Barbara, thinking she's Paula. (It was dark - those sort of things happen.) When they realize it's not Paula, they dump her on the street.  Poor Herbert is really feeling the wrath of Barbara now.


Note that Barbara is supposed to be the unattractive, nagging wife; however, you can see from the focus of Elke's stare, Maureen Arthur has got more going on chest-level than her.


It's nice to have everyone from Hogan's Heroes in one room: Hogan, Sgt. Schultz, Col. Klink, and the General.... and they're playing basically the same roles.  Bob Crane is the ladies man whose to smart for the bumbling Nazis... er, Red Army.

They've finally got Paula, and they reveal his Bill's shady plan to exchange her for the $75K.  Paula is devastated at the betrayal, and meekly goes with Klaus back to East Germany.


Bill realizes what an asshole he is, and decides he's going to rescue Paula.  He breaks into East Berlin and abducts a passing jogger.

Yes, you read that sentence correctly.  He wants to steal her clothes to impersonate one of Paula's fellow female Olympic athletes.

But what of the poor athlete whose clothes were stolen?


Why, she's left bound and naked behind a wall.  (Something tells me this was Bob Crane's idea.)


Bill infiltrates the women's athletic dormitory.  You can imagine the countless gags that unfold with Bob Crane dressed as a woman.... I laughed at none of it.  In fact, it was a tad on the disturbing side.


Bill proposes to Paula in the locker room, and she accepts.  But his ruse as a female is soon discovered by the rest of the girls.  But instead of being horrified, the girls agree to hide the dashing hunk in the showers.


The Red Army soon discovers him, and they are ordered to stand trial before Klaus.  But Paula and Bill slink away and escape to freedom in Herbert's Volkswagen.

But just when you think it's over: the perfect ending.  Klaus and Weber arrive at the door of the VW dressed as women athletes as well - they want to escape with them!  The Hogan's Heroes gang drives off to freedom together.  The End.



Test Tube Teens from the Year 2000 (1994)


It's 2019, an evil corporation has taken over the planet, and sex is banned (humans are born from test tubes).  At the academy, three students are held after class: Vinn (Christopher Wolf), Naldo (Brian Bremer), and Reena (Sara Suzanne Brown).


Their crusty old professor informs them that everything they know is a lie.  He's from an underground movement who wants things back to they way they were before the corporation took over.

Professor Dorn is played by Ian Abercrombie, who has been a ton of things, but I will always know him as Mr. Pitt from Seinfeld.


Inspired by Professor Dorn, Vinn and Naldo want to "free humanity from corporate slavery".  They break into a little-known place (it's not really explained where) which contains remnants from the past.

The film is sadly prophetic when Vinn is amazed that they had to read the news on paper back in 1997.  Naldo comments that it's "pretty primitive".


They learn that the evil sex-hating corporation was led by a woman named Camella Swales.  Swales ran a school for girls at this very spot.  All Vinn and Naldo need to do is travel back in time to 1994 and stop Ms. Swales and change the course of history.

So, they get Reena to send them on their way....


After Vinn and Naldo are sent back in time, Reena is attacked by guards.  In the ruckus, she too is sent back - but the destination is unclear.  (We'll see where this leads later.)


Our boys end up in the dorm room of Maggie (Michele Matheson).   She's amazingly quick to believe their story that they're from the future.

Matheson is the daughter of Deanna Lund and Don Matheson, whom you may know from Land of the Giants.  Note that Lund was featured in a Foxy Ladies post on Retrospace way back in 2009.


Naldo and Vinn must of course must dress as girls (Swedish exchange students) to blend in at the Swales School for Girls.  This film has quickly become an episode of Bosom Buddies.


And look at the faculty: Professor Dorn works here and Miss Camella Swales, the strict headmistress.  Swales is played by none other than Morgan Fairchild.


All kinds of craziness ensues; none of which are remotely interesting or funny.  I will mention that this film is strangely intercut with some Skinamax level sex scenes (none of which include any of the leading ladies: Reena, Swales or Maggie).  They don't mesh at all with the PG rated light-hearted fare that is majority of this film.

After repeated attempts to appeal to Ms. Swales' soft side (even having Professor Dorn try and seduce her) and then trying to straight up murder her ass, the guys go and celebrate their failure at a local club....


Oh, and by the way, Reena has arrived from the future.... and she adapts quickly to 1994.


This club scene is the most 90s looking scene ever put to film.  The shit music, the awful dancing, the ridiculous clothes - takes me back to my college days in the most unpleasant manner imaginable.


So, a cyborg from the future (think Schwarzenegger as the Terminator, but much much lamer) has come to take out Reena, Vinn and Naldo.  But they are able to capture it and reprogram it to seduce Miss Swales.


So, the cyborg sweeps her off her feet, and she never has the chance to become the CEO of the evil corporation.  The test tube kids from the future have saved humanity.


Goodbye, Vinn, Reena, Maggie and Naldo.  It was nice knowing you.

Well, I take that back.  It was a genuinely terrible experience. I enjoyed no part of this film; not even the weirdly spliced sex scenes.  It wasn't funny or directed well, and the 90s saturation level was beyond my ability to handle in one sitting. Overall, a solid piece o'shit. Gilligan does not recommend.

3 comments:

  1. I wonder if that the East German Klink/Schultz/Burkhalter gang got threatened with something when they escaped with "Hogan" and the girl. Klink and Schultz always got threatened with going to the Russian Front if they screwed up too much. I'll bet since the DDR was pretty much controlled by the CCCP, they might have been threatened to send them to Siberia like any misbehaving Soviet.

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  2. "...once again, there's a strange ritual of men clamouring beneath a screaming female. What's up with this?"

    It's a long-standing one, there are plenty of similar scenes in Fritz Lang's "Metropolis"...and that had all happened 40 years previously.

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  3. "Paula Schulze" used to show up on late night TV regularly in the early 70s. Like the Matt Helm films, it's like a tourist trap for dumb Americans. Gawk at the skin, drool and snarl at the implication that Europeans are having so much more sex than us, and since it's an American movie nobody gets laid. This was one year before 1969.

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