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Some Do It for Money, Some Do It for Fun

1981, Directed by Anthony Kramreither (Manesco Films).

Live! Nude! Girls! A tried--and-true film subject that's as old as the medium itself, the promise of a glimpse of forbidden nudity has always been guaranteed to draw at least a few interested eyes. Even in Canada, where any such homegrown frivolities were usually frowned on by cultural critics, there's a rich history of bared flesh, beginning with Back To God's Country (1919) and up through the nudist camp shenanigans of Have Figure Will Travel (1963) and the hardcore action of Scandale (1982). And this sometimes controversial subject matter was no stranger to Canadian producer Anthony Kramreither, who had already captured the sleaziest end of the Canadian film spectrum in the tax shelter era when he directed Some Do It For Money, Some Do It For Fun.

After producing Mondo Nude, a sorta-exposé of how a nudist camp was being co-opted by sex selling profiteers (albeit spiced up with plenty of volleyball game footage), Kramreither went down that very same path himself with a less-than-revelatory documentary about female strippers, Mondo Strip. Later, Kramreither tackled a film about the relatively new trend of male strippers for his follow up, Mondo Macho. Of course, "documentary" is used in the loosest sense of the word here, as these films have no message or purpose beyond offering up a healthy platter of full-frontal nudity for all.

Some Do It For Money follows much in the same vein as Kramreither's two previous stripper showcases, only this time alternating between presenting female and male performers. This is significant because although Kramreither had filmed men before, Mondo Macho was likely intended to appeal to a gay male audience, rather than to women. In contrast, Some Do It For Money looks to be tailor made for a then-brand new market segment, the burgeoning home video enthusiasts. Kramreither caught on quickly that the VCR made it safe for couples--not just male patrons in a dingy Times Square backroom--to enjoy a titillating display of skin and sin in the comfort and privacy of their own homes.

And it's a good thing that Kramreither was chasing a new audience, because the intended viewers probably weren't aware that Some Do It For Money is simply an update of the strip tease movies that were predominant in the 1960s but had been made extinct by the arrival of hardcore sex films in the 1970s. Growing out of the success of one-reel naughty nickelodeons, relaxed censorship laws allowed films like London in the Raw (1965) and Mondo Topless (1966) to give patrons a glimpse into a forbidden world, taking viewers to a variety of night spots, sometimes around the globe, for a look at different girls performing their own unique flesh-baring acts.

Although it benefits from the brief novelty of featuring strip tease artists of both sexes, Some Do It For Money offers this same survey of carnal delights, but it's still a rather slapdash example of the genre that simply throws together a lot of similar footage along with some appropriately leering narration. Things start out with a couple girls performing stripteases, one dressed as a cat, before heading off to Toronto's Tropicana for a look at "the latest trend," male strippers. Here the narrator tries to illustrate the different approaches each club takes, from the usual no-nonsense "hands off the merchandise" attitude versus the inclusive atmosphere of establishments for female audiences, which encourage touching, dancing and even kissing during performances. And you thought you wouldn't learn anything.

From there we're off to a Miss Nude World competition outside of Toronto (that is initially hijacked by a group of male exhibitionists, much to the confusion of the audience), and then Chippendale's in Los Angeles, before heading back to the same old Toronto joints for more dropped panties and unfurled members. Most odd, though, is some included footage from the Carnival parade in Brazil which, the narrator notes, is "paradise for voyeurs" as the camera zooms in on skimpy party costumes and the bikinis of unaware beach revelers before offering a brief peak into some Brazilian nightclubs. Much of the strip teases are run-of-the-mill efforts, featuring lingerie-clad girls doing aerobic-inspired dances and guys in cop and Superman uniforms aggressively flapping their penises around. There are a few highlights, even if they're not exactly erotic, such as a girl who performs with a monkey and a snake, and a fire-eating stripper who sets her panties on fire ("let me guess, you're a fireman," the sleazy narrator jokes with the viewer).

It's been alleged that, in a cost-cutting measure, Some Do It For Money simply recycled footage from Kramreither's previous documentaries. Although we're unable to fully confirm this claim as it appears both Mondo Strip and Mondo Macho are lost films, the Miss Nude World footage is definitely different from that shown in Mondo Nude, obviously taken from a later year. So while this film was certainly assembled on the cheap, it appears that Kramreither was dedicated enough in his pursuit of showing off naked girls (and a few guys) that he didn't give in to his most mercenary capitalist instincts.

However, that doesn't stop Kramreither and producer/collaborator Robert C. Diez d'Aux from leeringly focusing their camera on not only the strippers as they go about their hip-shakin' business, but also on the audience--the cleavage of random girls watching the show or unaware suntanners are never off limits. Though Some Do It For Money keeps its distance from the down 'n' dirty world of pornography, the film seems to have learned its lessons from that scene, and is unabashed about its objectification of women (and, to a lesser degree, men), especially in comparison to the pioneering strip tease films and documentaries of the 1960s. And also, at least those earlier films had titles that made sense--after 90 minutes looking at those exhibitionists willing to take off their clothes for money, exactly who is it that the film thinks does it for fun?

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