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Doris Wishman

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Adam B.
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  1. Introduction
  2. Critics of Wishman's films as exploitation
  3. Russ Meyer's The Immoral Mr. Teas
  4. Wishman's Diary of a Nudist
  5. Shifts in directing style
  6. The Immoral Three: Providing a fair representations of her career
  7. Conclusion
  8. Bibliography

In 1959, after the unexpected death of her husband, Doris Wishman decided to begin making films. With a background in distribution, she became aware of the genre of ?nudist camp? films through an acquaintance with Walter Bibo, producer of Garden of Eden (1954), a groundbreaking film in the field. Despite not having any sort of formal training in film (quite difficult for a woman to obtain at this time), she borrowed $20,000 from her family and made Hideout in the Sun (1960), one of the earliest nudist camp films. Over the next eighteen years, she made twenty-three more films, thus qualifying her as probably the most prolific female director of the sound era. She even staged a comeback in the early part of the twenty-first century, creating three more films before her death on August 10, 2002, at the age of 82.

[...] This meeting place also provides a space for analysis of Doris Wishman's films, as evidenced by Michael Bowen's article, ?Doris Wishman Meets the Avant-Garde.? However, Wishman only began to develop the style that analysts associate with the avant-garde in the mid 1960s. Up until that point, she was still a young filmmaker churning out ?nudies.? From 1959 until the mid 1960s, a new wave of filmmakers pioneered a new direction in exploitation film: the nudie. Russ Meyer's The Immoral Mr. [...]


[...] At the same time, numerous filmmakers, including Hershcell Gordon Lewis, began making films with lighthearted and fun plots centered on showing bare female flesh, also know as ?nudie-cuties.? Doris Wishman made eight nudies between 1960 and 1965, making her, according to several historians, the most prolific of the nudie filmmakers. Her films during this period most closely represent the change in tides from nudist camp films to nudie-cuties. Although these categories can be arbitrary some times, the difference in Wishman's work exists within her incorporation of the nudist ethos into genre films. [...]


[...] Though Wishman began in a different era, she takes slightly more cautious strides in the same direction, showing, though not highlighting nude men in her nudies. Along the same lines, in Women Directors Different?,? Molly Haskell discusses Liliana Cavani's The Night Porter (1973): a purely physical level, this grandiose, lecherous woman is exaggerated to the point that she is not a sexual creature at all, a woman in whom other women are ridiculed, but an almost impersonal figure of lust. [...]

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