Drive-In Dust Offs: Private Parts (1972)

The early ‘70s were really just the hung over ‘60s; idealism had turned to realism as Vietnam marched on and acid dreams turned to lysergic comedowns. And that cutting pall was definitely there in the mainstream culture; TV sitcoms like All in the Family took on bigotry and racism with a sharpened blade and cynical tongue. Meanwhile in the underground, transgressive art was alive and well and still hitting its marks; sordid, seedy, and sprinkled with a devious sense of humor, Paul Bartel’s feature length debut Private Parts (1972) tried to bring that sensibility above ground to an audience not quite ready for its peculiar charms.

Released in September by MGM (!), Private Parts never even received much of a chance to offend mom and pop, as the title prevented it from being advertised in several newspapers and it quickly faded away. Such would be the directorial course of much of Bartel’s career,
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