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The Flesh Merchant
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About This Film
Alternate Titles For This Film
More About The Actors
Joy Reynolds as Nancy Sheridan/Nancy Walker
Lisa Rack as Paula Sheridan
Norman Wright as Bernie Sogel
Marko Perri as Vito Perrini
Geri Moffat as Easy [?]
[?] as Joker
Director- W. Merle Connell
Writers- Jay M. Kude & Peter Perry, Jr.
CONTACT ME if you can help with the cast information above.
I'd like to know which actor goes to which character.
The Flesh Merchant (1956): This really
isn't a sexploitation movie. At least, not in the "usual"
sense. It's actually a propaganda movie that tells the evils of
prostitution. "The Flesh Merchant", also known as "The Wild and
the Wicked", fits better under the plain old "exploitation" label than
anything else. From the 1930s through the 1950s, many taboo
exploitation movies were made, usually spreading a moral message or
other social concern. By the 1960s, and certainly 1970s, these
films gave way to 100% sleazy, cheesy sexploitation, blaxploitation,
and other kinds of unintelligent B-movies. A handful of movies
from the golden age were actually made well. "The Flesh Merchant"
is one of them.
This is actually a good little movie. I was
surprised. I've seen a lot of old exploitation movies and most of
them are so bad! This film actually has a good story with a point
to it, good acting, and good direction. All of the actors do a
pretty good job. Lisa Rack, who plays older sister Paula
Sheridan, does an especially good job. She delivers lines with
more fire and believability than entire casts of a lot of other
B-movies from this time. I also like the guy who plays the
character, Joker. I wish I knew his name! The cast credits
for this movie are vague. If you can help, please CONTACT ME.
was a bespectacled, ignorant goof that served as laison between
the prostitutes and the bosses. He just said a lot of funny
things and was an all-around funny character without being
over-the-top. Joker was a bad guy who did bad things, but you
don't hate him in the film. He's more or less a lovable
loser. Another important character was the aging blonde
prostitute, Easy. She was a brassy, funny, yet sensitive
character. Last, but not least, is starlet Joy Reynolds who plays
Nancy. She's cute, and has charm.
What I like best about this movie is that it doesn't
try to outdo itself. The filmmakers kept it simple. They
didn't try to do things that the budget couldn't handle, and they
didn't try to stretch the story or add anything as filler. The
actors they got were all pretty decent for the roles that they
played. Someone was keeping an eye out for acting talent.
There's almost always at least one that's a dud in these films.
This entire cast was pretty good. It also had a very clear
message: "Don't get involved with prostitution!"
This movie told a message without being
preachy. It was still a movie. There were laughs, action
sequences, even quasi-nudity. Although this movie never shows
full-on nudity, the camera likes to tease us by almost showing naked girls.
This film talked about some pretty taboo topic matter, even for today,
without being the least bit raunchy. There was no dirty language,
or onscreen sex, or anything else offensive. And, perhaps most
important, it had a happy ending. If this movie was to receive a
rating, I'd say it would be PG, but only because it talks about
The story? A small-town, 22-year-old girl
named Nancy Sheridan joins her older sister in Hollywood to become a
successful model. Instead, she unwittingly falls into a
highly-organized prostitution racket. At first, she was
unwilling, but soon she fools herself into believing this is the "good
life". Nancy ultimately learns that she is nothing but a piece of
property to the bosses and to the male customers, and that all these
"nice things" belong to them, not her. What really turns her
around, though, is when she discovers that her sister, Paula, has been
a prostitute all this time. They both decide that prostitution is
not what it's cracked up to be and decide to quit, no matter the
cost. Before any harm can come to them, the entire prostitution
ring is arrested.
"The Flesh Merchant" should have been given an award
for informing the public about the world of prostitution. I
imagine it really opened people's eyes back then. It would be
good to use as an educational film in schools, today. In any
case, it's a pretty enjoyable old movie that's worth a look.
Titles For This Film:
The Wild and the Wicked
It's a shame that no one in this movie became a "big
name", because they were all pretty good. Star Joy Reynolds
apparently has only three credits in her career, the last one being a
bit part in the Elvis Presley movie, "Loving You", from 1957.
Lisa Rack (Paula Sheridan), Geri Moffatt (Easy), and
Marko Perri (Vito Perrini) have only this movie to their names.
That's a bit sad, because they all gave such good performances.
Norman Wright, who played Bernie Sogel, bearded
leader of the prostitution outfit, did quite a bit more. He
mostly did bit parts, and his most popular work is probably several
guest appearances on TV's "Hawaii Five-O".