tagReviews & EssaysThe Unforgettable "Vixen!"

The Unforgettable "Vixen!"


Made in 1968 by "King of the Nudies" Russ Meyer, Vixen! is a soft porn film that can stick in the mind afterward not just for its hot sex scenes but for the extraordinary qualities of its protagonist Vixen (yes, it's her name) Palmer.

The movie opens with breathtakingly beautiful film of what a narrator tells us is Canadian bush country. We soon meet handsome pilot Tom Palmer (Garth Pillsbury). After he lands his plane, a mechanic teases him about his wife Vixen, suggesting she might find extra-marital amusements when her husband is away. Tom scoffs and says. "Vixen knows where to draw the line."

Actually, she doesn't draw a line. We soon see the frisky and sensuous Vixen (Erica Gavin) having outdoors sex with a Canadian Mountie (Peter Carpenter).

After that, we see her meeting up with her younger brother Judd (Jon Evans) and his friend Niles (Harrison Page). Vixen, who is white, bristles at the sight of Niles, who is black. Vixen is openly and obnoxiously racist. She mocks Niles as "Rufus" and "boy." The movie is set in the Vietnam War era and the American Niles has gone to Canada rather than be drafted as he could be due to his age and gender. Vixen razzes him about that and called him "yellow on the inside." There is something ironic in a woman ridiculing at a man for draft dodging since her gender protects her from the draft in almost all countries and from combat even in Israel where women are drafted.

A childless fulltime homemaker, Vixen appears to divide her time between running the couple's lodge and seeking fleshly pleasures. Some reviewers have described her as bored with her husband but that is grossly inaccurate as she appears entranced by him and the marital lovemaking scenes are among the hottest and most energetic in the film.

Early in the movie, an attractive couple, red-haired Janet King (Vincene Wallace) and Dave King (Robert Aiken) come to stay at the lodge. Vixen and Robert start flirting almost as soon as they meet. Vixen performs a truly odd dance featuring a dead fish that is intended to be a turn-on although I found the performance simply bizarre. Perhaps it is meant to play on the "fishy" smell of the female genitalia.

Soon after the odd fish dance, we see Janet and Robert in bed. Janet wants to have sex. Robert is apparently unable to get an erection. Janet expresses a jealous annoyance at the way Robert acted around Vixen and speculates that he is planning a tryst with the bush pilot's wife. He denies it and then reminds her that even if he did "it wouldn't set any precedents" and notes that she has had flings with other men during their marriage. Janet says, "That's not fair" and reminds him that they had agreed when they decided to wed that she could have sex with other men during their marriage. However, Janet does not want him to have sex with others because when he is attracted to other women, she says, "You can't make it with me."

This scene is significant because it shows that we women are capable of our own double standards. Like men, women may want multiple sexual partners and still be upset when their partner wants to engage in sexual activities with others.

The primary focus of Vixen! is, of course, on Vixen Palmer. While the characters of many porn movies are often one-dimensional, Vixen is extraordinarily multi-layered (and that is not a pun on laid). She is a devoted wife and a deceitful one. She is sensuous, courageous, prejudiced, and rude. She is a character who is endearing and repulsive by turns and sometimes at once. She is a remarkable creation.

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