Welcome to my new short series called Hippie Hotties where I plan to talk about a hippie-era movie that stretched the limits of free love and sex by showing off some sexy nudes on the big screen. This era of experimentation led to some pretty far-out films, so let's take a look!
Today's Hippie Hotties movie is a 1969 romantic drama about a pair of relative strangers who just had a one-night stand and are getting to know each other the next day. It's the romantic drama John and Mary! Dustin Hoffman plays John and Mia Farrow in her adorably short Rosemary's Baby hair plays Mary. She even opens the movie in the nude!
John and Mary makes use of the new kind of cinematic storytelling that was being used in American movies after The French New Wave that experimental filmmakers like Godard had ushered in. American movies started experimenting more with non-traditional storytelling, timelines, and jump-cuts in the late 60s which kind of adds to the general feeling of the 60s. When you see a movie like this, it all feels like such a trip! We start off with this couple in bed and as the two of them get to know each other the morning after their one-night stand, their story gets intercut with both of their inner monologues and their own flashbacks about their lives apart. They try to balance seeming cool and casual while also showing their humanity to not make it seem like either of them does this often. It's a very fine line to walk!
We learn that John's character was recently left by his free-spirited model girlfriend who used to live with him in that big apartment. That character, Ruth played by Sunny Griffin, offers a lot of comic relief when we meet her. She's a groovy chick who calls everything around her groovy as she wears big orange-tinted sunglasses indoors and struggles to do basic domestic things like boil spaghetti noodles. She doesn't go nude which is a shame because she clearly had a stunning body. We do get to see a different actress go nude when there is a party scene and we see the topless Rita Bennett sitting pretty at a psychedelic party with video projections flashing on her mams with her wide, puffy nipples.
Mary's character was involved with a married family man at the university she attended. She was his dirty little secret, but she
The movie was originally given an R-rated, likely thanks to Mia's nude opening, but it wound up being downgraded to a PG rating. Since both of these actors were hot off of their breakthrough sixties movies, critics responded fairly well to their performances here too. Both of them were heralded as promising young actors, but critics didn't necessarily love the rest of the movie. Roger Ebert called it "curiously out of touch" and said that the couple seemed to "shadow box" around various topics of the day without either character really landing on anything. In retrospect, Ebert is right, but I thought it made the two seem more relatable. For example, the character Ruth is clearly more of a caricature of her time: a hip, swinging fashion model who cares more about looking hot and being sexy than any kind of traditional relationship. While they were certainly people like that, it wasn't everyone. Mia's Mary meanwhile is a bohemian modern girl with roommates, a bachelorette lifestyle, whose interior dilemma is that she is trying to be modern and casual while also wanting some traditional romance. If anything, these two young people represent people caught up in the middle of the tumultuous 60s, unsure of what their place is. Ultimately, their place appears to be with one another. How's that for romance?
Watch the beginning of the film to see Mia get out of bed naked and stand in front of a large weekend, showing us quite the view of her lean backside: