Cherry, Harry & Raquel!
|Cherry, Harry & Raquel!|
Original film poster
|Directed by||Russ Meyer|
|Produced by||Russ Meyer|
|Written by||Russ Meyer|
|Edited by||Russ Meyer|
Eve Productions Inc.
|Distributed by||Panamint Films|
Following the success of Vixen! (1968), the film is notable for the first appearance of actor (and Meyer regular) Charles Napier playing Harry Thompson, a California border sheriff and marijuana smuggler who makes a reappearance in 1975's Supervixens.
Napier's nude scene with Larissa Ely, where they run in the desert, is the first instance of full frontal male nudity in a Meyer picture. The appearance of a penis in a movie in 1970 was still a novelty, and was reported on by the Associated Press after the movie was released and became a hit.
Uschi Digard, who would also go on to make frequent appearances in Meyer's films, was cast as the naked muse of the Apache character. Shown in cut scenes usually wearing only an Apache headdress, this plot device was necessitated after the lead actress left the shoot early and there was 20 minutes of footage needed to complete the film.
The film begins with a monotone narration about the developing evil of marijuana in modern society and the need for vigilance in stopping the actions of the "pushers" and the "smugglers."
Harry, a small town border sheriff, lives at the site of a defunct silver mine with his girlfriend Cherry, an Englishwoman who works as a nurse. The blonde Raquel is a writer and works to sexually pleasure the local men for the enjoyment of it. Cherry and Raquel are intrigued with meeting each other, but Harry prevents this meeting as he feels that the idea of two women having sex is "un-American."
Harry and his Mexican-American associate Enrique, work for local politician Mr. Franklin, in an operation in which they divert marijuana through the border. Mr. Franklin informs Harry that their associate "Apache" has gone into business for himself and must be killed. Harry summons Enrique, who is in bed with Raquel, and they go to the desert to look for Apache in order to carry out their plan. They fail and Apache gets away and manages to steal Harry's jeep.
Frustrated with repeated failures to kill Apache, Mr. Franklin calls Harry to tell him he is taking too long and that now Enrique also needs to be killed because he knows too much. They set Enrique up to deliver drugs to the mine where Harry will kill him. En route to the mine, however, Enrique is killed in the desert by Apache who brutally runs him down with Harry's jeep. When Raquel arrives at the hospital where Mr. Franklin is staying to sexually service him, she finds he also has been murdered by Apache.
Raquel is in the hospital recovering from the shock of finding Mr. Franklin dead. Her assigned care nurse turns out to be Cherry. When Cherry enters her room for nursing duties, Raquel produces a small case containing marijuana cigarettes. They share a couple of joints, then dance naked together and have a sexual experience.
Meanwhile, Harry is alone at the mine, still waiting for Enrique. Apache shows up instead, driving up in Harry's jeep and taunting him with the horn. Harry comes out shooting and they trade multiple gunshots. Finally, after each having been shot several times, Harry drops dead and Apache falls dead on top of him while Cherry and Raquel continue to have sex in the hospital.
Roger Ebert claimed that after filming was completed, the De Luxe color lab inadvertently destroyed a fourth of Meyer's footage, requiring Meyer to shoot new scenes. He hired Ushi to appear in some new footage as an Indian and intercut it with the existing footage. According to Ebert, "The result is that audiences don't even realize anything is missing; a close analysis might reveal some cavernous gaps in the plot, and it is a little hard to figure out exactly how (or if) all the characters know each other, but Meyer's subjective scenes are so inventive and his editing so confident that he simply sweeps the audience right along with him. Cherry, harry and raquel is possibly the only narrative film ever made without a narrative."
Meyer denied that the lab lost footage but admitted to shooting new sequences. He recalled "one of the leading ladies couldn't stand the rigors of Panament Valley [the location of the film]. She had a couple of pomeranians, and she would lock them inside all day, and they would just devastate the room. We had a real redneck hotel owner, who was drunk all the time-like Chill Wills, only fatter-and he'd yell about her "goddam dogs." She took such offense - the very idea this man would object to her dogs using the rug. Finally about nine day before we finished, she said, "I've had it. I'm going home"."
- "Cherry, Harry & Raquel!". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
- CHERRY. HARRY AND RAQUEL Monthly Film Bulletin; London Vol. 38, Iss. 444, (Jan 1, 1971): 46.
- McDonough, Jimmy (2005). Big Bosoms and Square Jaws: The Biography of Russ Meyer, King of the Sex Film (First ed.). New York, NY: Crown. p. 242. ISBN 978-1400050444.
- McDonough, Jimmy,Big Bosoms and Square Jaws 2004.
- RUSS MEYER: King of the Nudies Ebert, Roger. Film Comment; New York Vol. 9, Iss. 1, (Jan/Feb 1973): 35-46.
- Russ Meyer: Ten Years After the 'Beyond' Ebert, Roger. Film Comment; New York Vol. 16, Iss. 4, (Jul/Aug 1980): 43-48,80.
- Oh, Those Beautiful Dolls! By ALJEAN HARMETZHOLLYWOOD.. New York Times 21 Dec 1969: D17.
- NAPIER PLAYS CROOKED SHERIFF IN 'CHERRY' Thomas, Kevin. Los Angeles Times 7 Aug 1970: g14.