Autumn Born


by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

If you have any interest, however faint and fleeting, in celebrity nudity, you are probably aware of Dorothy Stratten. She was the young Canadian girl who became a Playmate, a budding movie star, and then the victim of a brutal murder by her ex-boyfriend, who immediately killed himself as well. Stratten was only 21 when she died. Bob Fosse turned her life story into a film called Star 80, which featured Mariel Hemingway as Stratten. Sweet Dorothy from small town British Columbia thus contributed doubly to the celebrity nudity universe: in life on her own, and in death as portrayed by Mariel.

If you have seen Star 80, you realize that Dorothy once played the title role in a sci-fi film called Galaxina and then hooked up with Peter Bogdanovich when she was featured in one of his films. (They All Laughed, a real Hollywood film starring Audrey Hepburn.) Before those two films, she had one other starring role, in a ridiculously inept Canadian cheapie called Autumn Born (for reasons not clear to me, it was called Wednesday's Child in Star 80.) Autumn Born was the first directorial effort from the future master of the Czechsploitation genre, Lloyd Simandl. His future films would be reasonably competent low budget features filled with sexy scenes, but Autumn Born would not even get a passing grade as a student film. It would not even seem competent if it were compared to an average 1970s porn film with the hardcore scenes removed. In fact, it would not even be a good home movie. If you set out to make a bad film, in the deliberate manner The Producers used to make a bad play, you probably could not make one worse than this. Let's assume that you use a home camcorder with no professional lighting, and deliberately cast only actors with absolutely no talent. And I mean none. If they have previously appeared in so much as a high school play, you would eliminate them from consideration. If they can deliver even a single line naturally, you would call out "next" and move on to somebody worse. Then let's assume you refuse to use a screenwriter, but simply sit at your kitchen table for a half hour and construct a five minute movie which can be filmed in your house. You can pad that out to 76 minutes with assorted nonsense like whippings, baths, torture, and long disco dancing scenes. Then overlay the entire thing with a homemade musical score which consists essentially of random notes. Finally, when you realize that your film is incomprehensible, be sure to add a cheesy first person voice-over from a minor character, simply because he's the only cast member still available to you. Voila! Although you would be following essentially the same pattern that Autumn Born seems to have employed, your movie would undoubtedly still be better because the technology of 2012 would not allow you to fail as miserably as this one did. Some of your images would still be clear because even the cheapest of today's HD cameras will deliver clearer, crisper action than seen in Autumn Born. Furthermore, modern musical composition software will allow you to string together a fairly good background score even if you haven't the foggiest idea how to create music.

"Is the movie really that bad," you ask?

It's worse. I'm actually being generous by not belaboring the depths of the film's incompetence.

But Autumn Born has one thing you would not have in your home movie. One of its completely incompetent performers is also one of the most beautiful women you have ever seen, and she would later become very famous for various reasons, both joyful and tragic. And the filmmaker had the good fortune or prescience to get Dorothy naked for several minutes of the film's short running time. Stratten stays dressed for about the first 25 minutes of the film, but after that she's almost always either in underwear or naked.
To the best of my knowledge, unless you care to pay a hundred fifty bucks for an original VHS tape, the only place where you can find this is on You Tube in a VHS-quality presentation which has been split into four parts:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4


There are no mainstream reviews.


3.8 IMDB summary (of 10)




See the main commentary.



Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:


But it does have Dorothy Stratten naked. So there's that.