Home Video Hovel: For Men Only/School for Sex, by David Bax
Home video companies like Kino Lorber are smart to sub-brand themselves with apparent imprints, mini-labels under their umbrella. By presenting us with these ostensibly curated collections, they can make otherwise unnecessary releases into commodities. Their recent double feature of 1960s trifles directed by Pete Walker, For Men Only and School for Sex, are being put out under the Jezebel label, Kino’s loose assemblage of erotica. That word may be a bit too haughty to describe these films; it may conjure an artsy, sort of Euro vibe but this is pure juvenilia.
For Men Only, at a scant 40 minutes long, is a glorified short, yet it assumes headliner position on the cover billing. It’s the story of a playboy magazine editor (not a Playboy magazine editor) who, in an attempt to settle down for the benefit of his jealous fiancée, takes a job with a Christian periodical publishing house, only to find that the business is a clever front for the hedonistic lifestyle the wealthy owner carries out on his remote country estate. With this cynical take on the hypocrisy of the ruling class, For Men Only at least has something to say but that’s a mere grain of salt compared to its other baggage. Namely, the film refuses to even pretend women are anything but objects while saving its most offensive generalizations for its one gay character, who only exists to be mocked.
School for Sex is no less troublesome, plus it’s twice as long. In this one, a wealthy bachelor goes broke after a series of marriages to shameless gold-diggers then endeavors to make his fortune back by opening a school that teaches young women how to be successful in the field of shameless gold-digging. So, in case it’s not clear, there are no female characters in this movie who are not interested in sucking men dry of their money.
It may seem unfair of me to judge these movies on their morality when both are nearly a half century old. But these aren’t instances of incidental, contemporary sexism around the edges of the narrative. With For Men Only and School for Sex, Walker essentially has nothing but sexism to offer. Perhaps that makes these movies time capsule novelties. If you collect that sort of thing, or just the Jezebel line in particular, this is for you. Otherwise, spend your money elsewhere.
The picture and the sound on both films leave much to be desired, though this likely has more to do with the cheapness of its initial production value and the poor storage of its elements than it does with the transfer itself.
Special features include an interview documentary called “Get Cheeky with Pete Walker,” alternate footage from School for Sex and over an hour of rare black and white stag reels made by Walker, a worthwhile bonus for collectors.