Living Venus (1961)

Genres - Crime, Drama  |   Run Time - 74 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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This entertaining story about the rise and fall of a Hugh Hefner-like publisher named Jack Norwall (William Kerwin) may be quite a surprise to those who only know director Herschell Gordon Lewis for his later gore films. Fired from his job at Newlywed magazine, Kerwin vows to start his own publication, something daring and different. He finds his inspiration in a statue of the Venus de Milo, and a living symbol of her beauty in a waitress named Peggy (Danica D'Hondt). Quickly finding a partner in down-and-out photographer Harvey Korman, Kerwin launches the first issue of Pagan. The magazine is a smashing success, but on his way to the top, Kerwin forgets his humanity, and tragedy ensues. Kerwin is quite good in the lead, followed from his ambitious salad days to his ruthless time at the top and the inevitable fall. Jeannette Leahy provides comic relief as a scotch-swilling secretary, and Korman is affable and sympathetic in his screen debut. This is an enjoyable, well-done exploitation melodrama spiced up with brief nudity for the adults-only set, and remains the best of Lewis' early films.



competition, love, love-triangle, magazine, makeover, modeling, photography, publisher, suicide, tragic-love