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Another Day, Another Man

Another Day, Another Man (Wishman, 1966)

I'd been less than eager to get to this movie as I understood that it used a fair amount of footage from Bad Girls Go to Hell and My Brother's Wife, and the latter I hadn't been a fan of. I'm glad I held off for a bit, as I don't think I would have gotten as much out of it if I hadn't been immersed in this mode of Wishman's work for the last few weeks as I've been working through the Moonlight Years box set put out by Something Weird / AGFA / Vinegar Syndrome. (I just have two movies left unseen in the set: The Hot Month of August and Passion Fever, two Greek imports that I understand Wishman re-edited and spiced up with additional footage. I suspect those will be a challenge from a Wishman auteurist lens, but I'm hoping I can find enough of her distinct touch.)

I think Wishman's sense of irony is particularly pronounced here. There's been a good deal of that in her movies from this period, which depict a number of not very nice things happening to women, often with the camera leering at their nude bodies while they're sexually assaulted or otherwise mistreated. Intentionally or otherwise, they're interrogating the intersection between our empathy for the heroines and our prurient interest in the material. But I think of a scene where a heroine lies about her new job as a prostitute, telling her bedridden husband she got a secretary gig and has to work late to type up manuscripts, all while the camera leers at her form in a body stocking. I think even the more charitable Wishman admirers wouldn't call her a particularly sophisticated director, but there is something undeniably pointed in this scene's presentation.

As always, Wishman lays on the narration thick, and the most compelling section has a gruff-voiced pimp describe in detail how he goes about manipulating oblivious and vulnerable women into working for him. The long-windedness of the narration merits some laughs, but the dissonance between the cold, businesslike detail of his explanation and the sleaziness of what he's admitting to I found quite unsettling. And even the street scenes, which are a reliable source of enjoyment in Wishman's work for their documentary qualities, play with a certain poignancy as the heroine provides downbeat narration about her predicament. This is not positive, let alone nuanced depiction of sex work, but Wishman's tunnel vision around the subject provides the movie a certain charge. When the camera starts on a maddening tilt with a character's guffaw, we're along for the ride.

That being said, there are grace notes, intentional or otherwise. Wishman shows off her decor as usual, and there are jarring cuts to potted plants during a number of nude scenes. And no movie with the Bennett sisters and Gigi Darlene can be all bad, especially a movie where they get to groove in their underwear, and especially a movie where a character suffers the horrifying fate of being pounced on by both Bennett sisters at the same time. Scary stuff, amigos.