Cry Uncle (1971) from Brainscan

Cry Uncle is an 1971 amalgam of "8mm" and "Malibu Express". The nudity report is incorporated into the following:

Like the underrated 8mm, the story follows an undistinguished private eye as he tracks a murder, the only evidence of which is caught on a home movie. Unlike 8mm, the private dick is thoroughly unattractive and entirely unfazed by the sleaziness he uncovers. That understatement in his reaction is the movie in microcosm, as director John Avildsen (who went on to do the original Rocky and the three Karate Kids) shows the underbelly of society for what it is, without the dramatic need to rub our sensible noses in it. As a result, the movie works extremely well ... the best thing Troma has ever put out on DVD, which is about the same as saying Desperately Seeking Susan is the best movie Madonna's been in.

The Malibu Express part of Cry Uncle is the presence of five women, all of whom do triple-B performances. Their nudity is sometimes essential, since three of them play prostitutes whose services were filmed in the evidentiary film. Avildsen shows them at work in other places, where you would expect them to be thoroughly naked, not just topless. And so, yah you betcha, they are shown in the altogether for long periods of time but, with the exception of the movie's first scene, none of it looks or feels gratuitous. The best of all possible worlds: seriously naked women, essential to the plot.

The five nekkid women include one-timer Pamela Gruen, veteran actress Debbi Morgan, and three women who did some other work in movies and TV, Madeline Le Roux, Maureen Byrnes and Nancy Salmon (apparently unrelated to either Chico or Tim). A sixth women appears topless in one scene, lying motionless among some spaced-out acid freaks in a motel. (This scene is gratuitous.) Allen Garfield and David Kirk provide full frontal and rear male nudity, including a recto-cam and and an erection from Mr. Kirk.

Pam Gruen starts out the booty call in a sport-humpin scene with the film's fat-ass protagonist in which you can see the actor's magno-rump. Pam shows off a pair of all-natural mighty-fines and then, as her private dick leaves to crack a case, she pulls out an even privater dick to take care of her wants and needs. That's where Pam reveals a killer bum and some bush.

Madeline Le Roux plays an interested party to the murder and the private eye's eventual bed partner. You get to see skinny Madeline's boobs, quick look at her bum, and a hint o' bush.

Then you get the three hookers. Debbi Morgan plays the hooker with a heart of gold, but does it up well. This was Debbi's second movie and, so far as I can tell, one of only two nude scenes. But does she ever give up the goodies in this film. You see boobs, bum, and a lot o' bush. One of the best images comes from the home movie that eventually shows the male figure with a big ol' hole in his head. Thing is this: the movie is run as a negative on screen and so the mating habits of our victim and his three friends are obscured. This, fellas, is why the digital revolution is so damned wonderful! Grab the frame, hit "Invert" and as soon as you can blink, a black-and-white positive shows up. From Debbi we get to see a much more extensive view of her furry bits, but hang on a bit longer and the real benefit of this manuever comes out.

Nancy Salmon plays a thin hooker with a killer rumpus, who engages in sexual activities of the professional kind because she's a heroin junky. As with the other women, Nancy gives up all the goodies.

Okay, now a brief interlude. Imagine a trivia game tailored to film nudity lovers. I give you the following names and you provide the common link:

Sylvia Kristel
Mia Nygren
Laura Gemser
Monique Gabrielle
Krista Allen
Holly Sampson

Quick as can be, every avid reader of the Movie House answers, "Women who played Emmanuelle."

Alright. Try these

Maruschka Detmers
Amanda Ooms
Eiko Matsuda
Carole Laure
Chloe Sevigny

Just a little more difficult, but with a few seconds' thought a lot of folk would recognize these women as "legitimate actresses who slurped on the love straw in a mainsteam movie". Pretty much does it with these five right? No other mainstream actress to add... at least I thought so until the ol' invert function brought out lucky number six.

DVD info from Amazon

  • Commentary by director John G. Avildsen, Screenwriter David Odell, Actor Allen Garfield, Associate Producer Lloyd Kaufman

  • Troma Intelligence Test 2

  • Tour of Troma Studios

  • Service Edge TV

  • Public Announcements

  • Tromaville Cafe

  • Interviews with Producer David Disick, Lighting Designer Ralf Bode & Production Assistant Steve Tisch

Maureen Byrnes, who would go on to play a few roles until 1978 and would then reappear on-screen in 1995 with Future Wars, clearly grasps our soon-to-be-victim's skin flute and proceeds to play a tune. Maureen also spends copious amounts of time on screen fully frontally nekkid and otherwise shows up her extraordinarily well-toned frame in all collages.

So what we have here, then, is a near-perfect movie. The writing and directing are first-rate, the acting more than competent, the babes pretty enough and nekkid frequently, an extensive nude scene by a woman who would become fairly famous and, rarest of all animals, an X-rated performance by a legitimate actress. I ask you, what's not to like?

Scoop's notes:

Throughout the years there have been periodic attempts to bring explicit porn and mainstream movies closer together. Now and then a porn movie, especially of the soft-core variety,  makes a special effort to include a comprehensible and entertaining plot, and/or some interesting characterization. Two good examples would be Warm Texas Rain and I Like to Play Games. Cry Uncle represents an attempt to amalgamate the forms from the other direction - the director starts with a typical genre script, a comedy-mystery about a low-rent detective, but films all the raunchy details that would not normally be shown in a mainstream movie, including explicit oral sex, male frontal nudity, and a four-way which features a hooker sodomizing a guy with a gigantic dildo on camera.

  • This film features a very distinguished director, John Avildsen, who directed such widely accepted and honored films as Rocky, Save the Tiger, and The Karate Kid, as well as some smaller, more personal films like Joe and Slow Dancing in the Big City. Avildsen also acted as cinematographer and editor for Cry Uncle, and he was quite capable of doing both. He edited The Karate Kid, for example, and was the cinematographer for Joe.
  • It also features such talented and familiar character actors as Melvin Stewart, Paul Sorvino, and Allen Garfield. It features cameos from future honchos like producer Steve Tisch (Forrest Gump and a zillion other mainstream successes) and studio boss Lloyd Kaufman, whose Troma Pictures would later acquire the rights to the film.
  • The screenplay was written by David Odell, who would continue a mainstream Hollywood career for 15 years after Cry Uncle, penning such films as The Dark Crystal and Supergirl.

It's a strange blend of obscenity and drama and comedy. It must be just about unique - I can't recall anything quite like it. One IMDB reader calls it an "X-rated bawdy porn detective film". That just about sums it up. It was one of those things, but it was one directed by John Avildsen.

About five people saw this film in theaters, and four of them were my wife and I and another couple who grew up with us.  We were all newlyweds at the time. My most vivid memory is of Allan Garfield, who was then obese, finding a special use for a still-warm corpse. You probably think that a fat, sweaty, low-rent detective fucking a corpse in a mainstream movie would still be pretty shocking today, so you can only imagine how our wives reacted back in 1971!

We have to give a nod of thanks to Troma, for bringing obscure and unique classics like Cry Uncle and Cannibal, the Musical (Trey Parker's full-length student film) to DVD. These are not films for the whole family, except maybe the Manson family, but they are bizarre and harmless fun, and are surely delightful curiosities that many of us want to see.

The Critics Vote

  • No major reviews online.

The People Vote ...


The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Return to the Movie House home page