The Telephone Book (1971)

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Wow. This was beautifully shot and edited. Part swinging 60s softcore sexual odyssey, part Robery Downey Sr-eque comedy of vulgar absurdities, The Telephone Book rises above its potentially smutty premise with a barrage of playful and inventive formalism.

Helium voiced heroine Sarah Kennedy is terrific and her innocent optimism offsets a lot of the film’s sleazier aspects with a real sweetness. The ending, that sees her character and the obscene phone caller who has obsessed her for the entire film sharing a dirty conversation in adjacent phone boxes, suddenly takes the picture from gritty black and white into an explosion of colour, with a Crumb-esque animated sequence visualising Kennedy’s sexual ecstasy in all its lewd and vivid detail. Bonkers. Eye-popping. A subversive delight. God bless Vinegar Syndrome for keeping movies like this alive.

Watched on Vinegar Syndrome blu-ray.

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