As a long-time Russ Meyer fan, I am always delighted to see new books about his work, particularly when they go to the lengths Doyle Greene has of presenting Meyer as a filmmaker of both great talent and great importance.
While originally disappointed that the book did not offer anything new in the way of biographical information on Meyer himself, nor of the day-to-day production of his films, I quickly found myself swept up in the sheer burning intellectuality Mr. Greene displays toward his subject, even if I personally doubt that Meyer had very little "intent" with his movies other than to "get enough asses" on the theatre seats.
What I mean is I felt that Mr. Greene was often seeing layers of Intent and Meaning in the Russ Meyer films that are simply not there, and it often felt like Doyle Greene was really trying to impress me with the genius verbosity and vast storehouse of socio-sexual-political references of DOYLE GREENE, rather than the talents of Russ Meyer.
Indeed, the text sometimes threatened to unintenionally sink into the baffling murk of the celebrated overblown narration of Russ's wonderfully weird films themselves.
But this is small complaint. In fairness to Greene, he makes the point very early on how problematic Russ Meyer's movies are when trying to establish just what the hell they are; can you really call a woman being murdered in a bathtub satire (in Supervixens), and so on.
What is undeniable about Russ Meyer is his unique place in history, how he, more than any other filmmaker, advanced the depiction of sex, and by extension, sexual politics, in motion pictures. He did it first, and there is something irresistible about a film style that consists largely of "posed" fantasy women saying things like "You're a groovy boy, I'd like to strap you on sometime", and combining this with industrial-film narration, rapid-fire editing, ludicrous plotlines and bizarre camera angles. In the lingo of Russ's time (1959-1979) a Russ Meyer movie is quite a trip.
I think Greene may be saying that Russ Meyer was a Great Artist in spite of himself, to which I would heartily agree.
While Greene's book might be too intellectual to appeal to casual Russ Meyer fans, he does make a point of including MANY photographs (only a few of them grainy) of the legendary Russ Meyer actresses, indeed everyone from Eve Meyer to Tundi, and I can confirm that nearly all of the photos are rare; you won't find them in any other book on Meyer. So on the basis of the illustrations alone you won't be disappointed; that's how great they are. But overall, it's probably best to say that this a book for Russ Meyer Completists.