Mudhoney (film)

Mudhoney (sometimes Mud Honey) is a 1965 film by Russ Meyer based on the novel Streets Paved With Gold by Raymond Friday Locke. The film is a period drama set during the Great Depression. "I got in a little bit over my head," Meyer said about the film. "That's when I thought I was Erskine Caldwell, John Steinbeck and George Stevens all in one."[1]

Theatrical poster for Mudhoney (1965)
Directed byRuss Meyer
Produced byGeorge Costello
Eve Meyer
Russ Meyer
Written byW.E. Sprague
Raymond Friday Locke
Based onnovel Streets Paved with Gold by Raymond Friday Locke
StarringHal Hopper
Antoinette Christiani
John Furlong
Rena Horten
Princess Livingston
Lorna Maitland
Sam Hanna
Stuart Lancaster
Music byAndré Brummer (as Henri Price)
CinematographyWalter Schenk
Edited byRuss Meyer
Charles G. Schelling
Distributed byEve Productions Inc.
Release date
Running time
92 minutes
CountryUnited States

The film became the inspiration for the name of pioneering Seattle grunge band Mudhoney, formed in 1988. American singer-songwriter Norah Jones' album cover for Little Broken Hearts was based upon a poster for the film.

Plot summary

In this Depression-era tale, Calef McKinney (John Furlong) is traveling from Michigan to California and stops in Spooner, Missouri, where Lute Wade (Stuart Lancaster) hires him for odd jobs.

McKinney gets involved with Wade's niece, Hannah Brenshaw (Antoinette Christiani). But she is married to Sidney (Hal Hopper), a wife-beating drunk who hopes to inherit his uncle-in-law's money.

Sidney and an eccentric preacher named Brother Hanson (Frank Bolger) plot against McKinney, who finds it difficult to conceal his mysterious past and his growing affection for Sidney's wife.

Sidney winds up burning his farm and attempting to frame Mckinney. He rapes and murders and preacher's wife and is killed by the lynch mob.


  • Hal Hopper as Sidney Brenshaw
  • Antoinette Cristiani as Hannah Brenshaw
  • John Furlong as Calif McKinney
  • Stuart Lancaster as Lute Wade
  • Rena Horten as Eula
  • Princess Livingston as Maggie Marie
  • Lorna Maitland as Clara Belle
  • Sam Hanna as Injoys
  • Nick Wolcuff as Sheriff Abel
  • Frank Bolger as Brother Hanson
  • Lee Ballard as Sister Hanson
  • Mickey Foxx as Thurmond Pate
  • F. Rufus Owens as Milton


The film was based on a novel, Streets Paved with Gold by Friday Locke.[2]


Box Office

The film was a financial failure. Meyer later said, "I made a gamble with Mudhoney and I failed. The only reason I made Mudhoney was I was in love with a girl named Rena. I should have not made the film."[3]


The Los Angeles Times called it "the perfect dirty picture. Unspoiled by either undue sadism or outright nudity... a flawless piece of unintentional camp."[4]

Roger Ebert called the film "Meyer's neglected masterpiece: his most interesting, most ambitious, most complex and longest independent production. He describes it as a case of over-achievement; it was not necessary, or perhaps even wise, he believes, to expend so much energy on a movie that had so little directly exploitable elements."[5] Ebert said "Meyer's visual invention, always dramatic and energetic, has never been better than in this one. From the Hitchcockian opening (bare feet seen in a closeup on intersecting passages) to such Grand Guignol shots as a body falling into a grave from the grave's P. O. V., this is a melodrama taken to obsessed extremes."[6]

See also


  1. Films: The 'skin-flicks' of producer Russ Meyer Cross, Robert. Chicago Tribune 16 Feb 1969: a8.
  2. CENSORSHIP BOARD BANS 18 BOOKS The Irish Times 15 Dec 1961: 9.
  3. "In the Know". Turner Classic Movies.
  4. Mudhoney 'Unspoiled Sex Farce' Thomas, Kevin. Los Angeles Times 19 Apr 1966: 30.
  5. RUSS MEYER: King of the Nudies Ebert, Roger. Film Comment; New York Vol. 9, Iss. 1, (Jan/Feb 1973): 35-46.
  6. Guilty Pleasures Ebert, Roger. Film Comment; New York Vol. 14, Iss. 4, (Jul/Aug 1978): 49-51,80.
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