Big Bosoms and Square Jaws: The Biography of Russ Meyer, King of the Sex Film

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Crown/Archetype, Jun 28, 2005 - Biography & Autobiography - 480 pages

What do you need to make money making movies? The answer, according to cult hero, creator of the sexploitation film, and the man the Wall Street Journal once dubbed the King Leer of Hollywood, Russ Meyer, is: “big bosoms and square jaws.” In the first candid and fiendishly researched account of the late cinematic instigator’s life, Jimmy McDonough shows us how Russ Meyer used that formula to turn his own crazed fantasies into movies that made him a millionaire and changed the face of American film forever.

Bringing his anecdote—and action—packed biographical style to another renegade of popular culture, New York Times bestselling author of Shakey Jimmy McDonough offers a wild, warts-and-all portrait of Russ Meyer, the director, writer, producer, and commando moviemaking force behind such sexploitation classics as Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, Vixen, and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. This former WWII combat photographer immortalized his personal sexual obsession (women with enormous breasts, of course) upon the silver screen, turning his favorite hobby into box-office gold when this one-man movie machine wrote, directed, and produced a no-budget wonder called The Immoral Mr. Teas in 1959. The modest little film pushed all preexisting limits of on-screen nudity, and with its success, the floodgates of what was permitted to be shown on film were thrust open, never to be closed again. Russ Meyer ignited a true revolution in filmmaking, breaking all sex, nudity, and violence taboos. In a career that spanned more than forty years, Meyer created a body of work that has influenced a legion of filmmakers, fashionistas, comic book artists, rock bands, and even the occasional feminist.

Rich with wicked and sometimes shocking observations and recollections from Meyer’s friends (such as colleague Roger Ebert and fellow filmmaker John Waters), lovers and leading ladies (some of whom played both roles with equal vigor), a cadre of his grizzled combat buddies, moviemakers inspired by him, and critics and fans alike, Big Bosoms and Square Jaws tells the voluptuous story of Meyer’s very singular life and career: his troubled youth, his war years, his volatile marriages, his victories against censorship, and his clashes with the Hollywood establishment. In his new biography of a true maverick, Jimmy McDonough blows the lid off the story of Russ Meyer, from beginning to his recent tragic demise, creating in the process a vivid portrait of a past America.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - wb4ever1 - LibraryThing

This book had sat on my shelf for a year or so after getting it as a Christmas gift and I finally got around to reading it and can say with authority that it was well worth the wait. I am a life-long ... Read full review

BIG BOSOMS AND SQUARE JAWS: The Biography of Russ Meyer, King of the Sex Film

User Review  - Kirkus

The unbridled Russ Meyer, who had only two things on his mind and built an original class of film work around them, is given a thorough, pulsing autopsy.Meyer approached "filmmaking the way Buick once ... Read full review


Bigger than Life
Mother Meyer and the Poor Dear
Sgt Meyer
Tittyboom or Bust
Love and Kisses Eve Meyer
The Immoral Mr Meyer
The Handyman
Top Lust Top Hate Top Heavy
The Look of Love
The Watusi GunBearer
Strapping On
Run Like a Gazelle Dear
Smell of Female
Photo Insert
Source Notes

Klieg Eyes on a Dry Lake
Shit Floats

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About the author (2005)

Jimmy McDonough is the author of The Ghastly One: The Sex-Gore Netherworld of Filmmaker Andy Milligan and Shakey: Neil Young’s Biography

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