WHO KILLED TEDDY BEAR
Directed by Joseph Cates
With Sal Mineo, Juliet Prowse, Elaine Stritch, Jan Murray
Approx. 94 min. 35mm
The apex of lurid 60s exploitation pix, the long-buried TEDDY BEAR is a smorgasbord of Hollywood taboos: voyeurism, pornography, masturbation, incest, child abuse, transvestism, lesbianism and the most explicit rape sequence yet filmed. In sharp contrast to his innocent but equally disturbed Plato in REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE, Sal Mineo stars as a porno-obsessed, body-building proto- Travis Bickle, with Juliet Prowse as a disco dancer/hostess whose seemingly inevitable states of undress are spied on by an unknown Peeping Tom. After one too many X-rated phone calls, it's erstwhile comedian/ game show host Jan Murray on the case, as a sex-crime-specializing cop whose research includes re-playing victims interviews, while his 10-year-old daughter listens in next door; plus all-too-friendly sympathy from disco boss Elaine Stritch. TEDDY BEAR seethes with a sweatily frustrated libidinousness: as the camera caressingly photographs the faceless voyeur in his jockey shorts, shorts, you'd swear you were watching a recent Calvin Klein commercial. Shot on location in New York in a glistening black and white recalling SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS, TEDDY BEAR offers a unique documentary record of mid-60s Times Square sex shops, when magazines like Teenage Nudist were displayed alongside books by Frank Harris and William Burroughs.
“Every frame is imbued with a glorious sleazy quality that rendered it impossible to cut. Forty years later it can still shock, more for its ahead-of-the-curve qualities.”
– The Guardian