Friday, July 9, 2010
In the TV biopic And The Beat Goes On: The Sonny and Cher Story there was a part about making the movie Chastity and how it almost bankrupted the duo. I was interested in seeing a movie that could be so bad that it would cause such financial ruin. After viewing Chastity, I can understand why the word must have gotten out fast, on its initial release, that Chastity was B-A-D!
Chastity was written and produced by Sonny Bono and most people speculate that he also directed it under the alias Alessio de Paola, since there is no record of anyone with that name ever directing another movie, plus there is no biographical information on anyone in the film industry with that name. However, in 2005 another de Paola did a remake of the same movie... so go figure!
Hey! there's no doubt Sonny loved Cher and this is evidently the reason we get a lot of camera shots just lingering on her face. But the main problem, besides the terrible slow pace of the movie, is the script. Sonny obviously took Cher's smart ass demeanor and wrote her part with that in mind. The lines she delivers that stay within her own character are fine in the movie. The trouble comes when Sonny writes lines that are trying to make a statement OR show how hip he was. The trouble was Sonny and Cher weren't really hip, they just tried to look that way. I can understand Sonny's desire for "hipness", but sometimes you just have to go with what you've got. Sonny and Cher were much lighter personalities and I think that's the reason people liked them and why they worked so well in Las Vegas and on TV.
I can only briefly cover the plot, since that's what the plot is...BRIEF. Chastity (Cher) is running away from something, which won't be revealed until near the end of the movie and then not clearly. Most of the scenes in Chastity are: Cher running on the road, Cher hitchhiking, Cher being a tough smart ass with the people that pick her up, and Cher talking to herself. The aforementioned scenes are probably a good 75 per cent of the movie.
Chastity almost kicks into gear when Cher/Chastity steals a car and drives to Mexico. There she runs into a pimp and gets him to take her to the local whorehouse. The best scene in the movie follows with Cher/Chastity tricking a shy fellow into going into a room with her. She fleeces him out of his money and at the same time convinces him that washing his hair is part of the "full" experience he has paid for.
Unfortunately, we then get Cher introduced to the Madam of The House and the movie once again starts its downward spiral. It appears that the Madam is showing Cher the bad side of the whorehouse to scare her off; but following that scene, Cher and the Madam go off shopping, then to the fun park for some carnival rides, followed by a trip to the zoo (I swear, I'm NOT making any of this up!). Cher/Chastity is looking at The Madam as a mother figure; however, The Madam is a lesbian and has other ideas in mind. There's a lesbian scene between Cher and The Madam, but for the most part we get cutaway shots to water running, pampas grass blowing in the wind, and the camera looking up through trees.
Cher runs away from the Madam and returns to the U.S. and shacks up with a fellow she had met previously in the movie. But the thought of true love is too much for her and she runs away again. The last we see of her is Cher/Chastity crying in the middle of the road. A terrible ending to a terrible movie.
It was hard at times to continue viewing Chastity and I almost gave up several times. The only things that kept me going were Cher was fairly good with the weak part she was given and, as I previously mentioned, the movie picked up some during the middle.
One final note, there are two nude scenes in the movie. The first one shows Cher/Chastity from the neck down. The second shows Cher/Chastity from the side with her hair draped over her face. Making it pretty obvious that both these scenes used body doubles.