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SEXTETTE - Skull
Rated PG
Copyright 1978 Briggs and Sullivan
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 9 September 2001

The Characters:  

  • Marlo Manners - Mae West! She is supposed to portray a seductive and sultry movie star, but her being well over eighty makes this more disturbing than anything else. To whoever invented soft focus lenses: thank you.
  • Sir Michael Barrington - Timothy Dalton! Guess who just married Marlo? Guess who got a vat of KY Jelly as a wedding present? Ew, ew, ew...
  • Dan Turner - Dom DeLuise! Marlo's manager and generally a nuisance.
  • Laslo - Ringo Starr! Previously married to Marlo (husband number four of six) and now inflicting untold damage on society by directing films.
  • Alexei - Tony Curtis! Russian leader who was also married to Marlo (number two) and still has an aching for her. His feverish pleading for nookie is a perfect example of unnecessary verbal imagery.
  • Vance Norton - George Hamilton! Mobster and husband number five; she thought him dead until he walked back into her life.
  • Marlo's First Husband - A trilobite. Extinct for two hundred and forty-five million years.
  • The World Leaders - The only one they took any care in resembling an actual person was Jimmy Carter. Who plays him? A guy with gray hair and prominent incisors. That's what I want for a president, a caricature.
  • The Cameos - Regis Philbin! Alice Cooper! (Yes, that "Alice Cooper.") Walter Pidgeon! Keith Moon! The list goes on!
  • The People Who Made This Movie - Beelzebub probably has three or four devils set aside for each of them.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

I've said many times that being boring is the worst crime a film can commit. Forget all those instances. I'm an idiot. The movie in question is mildly boring, but it caused more anguished wailing (from yours truly) than any other in memory. "Sextette" is a film that was not meant for mortal eyes. Bad comedies are painful, bad musicals are worse, and combining the two, then adding in liberal sexual innuendo involving a woman who is eighty-four or eighty-five years old is agony.

First problem here is the ages. Timothy is in his early thirties, while Mae looks like something you would find in an Egyptology exhibit. And, about once every three minutes, she makes some sort of licentious comment. I don't want to consider these two having sex at all, but they will not stop. You would think this would slack off after a while. No such luck. Marlo continues to suggest sexual contact with every male she meets (usually her husband, not always though) in every scene. It's hideous I tell you! HIDEOUS!

The Barringtons' honeymoon suite just happens to be in the same hotel that tense negotiations are being held between world leaders. Why talks are being held in a low security setting and what they are negotiating is a mystery. It's all just happening for the sake of Komedy (with a K, in deference to Ken Begg). An awful lot of nothing is going to happen over the next ninety minutes. Be glad that the movie ending is one of those things, because it's the only event that makes any sense.

In any case, it seems that fate (curse her silken skein) has caused Alexei to hold a critical voice in the peace/trade/whatever talks and he is being a royal jerk. Dan finds a mysterious man waiting for him in the elevator with instructions to put Marlo on the case. As fate would have it (I'm going to break that loom and stuff it down her throat) the Russian leader still has strong feelings for Marlo, especially certain parts of her anatomy, and has agreed to sign the accord if she will spend the afternoon with him. With the newest husband distracted by a chivalrous attempt to defend her honor that only results in some verbal missteps, the old lady is free to save the free world from... ...something bad.

Running concurrent is Dan's attempt to destroy his client's memoirs. Marlo has been keeping an audio diary for years and it includes all sorts of dirt on her various husbands and lovers (including Uncle Sam). The mere existence of a festering worm pile, certain to eventual discovery by some lucky reporter, scares the agent to death. He takes the tape downstairs to the kitchen and tosses it in an oven. Surprises of surprises, a cake is delivered to Alexei's room and the tape is inside. Marlo makes up some nonsense story about the dessert going right to his hips and convinces him to toss it out the window. A passing dog picks up the cassette, then drops it where a member of the U.S. Track and Field team is practicing the javelin throw. See it coming don't you? Yes, he skewers the tape and somehow doesn't notice it on the end of his spear. Oracles and prophets are miserable for many reasons; this movie is one of them.

Michael is now running damage control to cover up the pitfalls in the English language he fell into. Seems that due to a misunderstanding over the word "gay" the newspapers think he's a homosexual. With great care he explains the truth of the matter; now they think he's bisexual. Hahaha! It's funny! Get it? KILL ME.

That confounded tape is still floating around and pops up again when Marlo visits the athletes in their training center. She's mercifully distracted from making suggestive comments to the men for nearly thirty seconds as it bounces off a trampoline and into a stone lion's mouth (located several stories up the building). Baked, chewed on by a dog, and then hit dead center with a javelin; this thing should no longer be part of the plot. Some poor schmuck taking part in a quarterly "Adopt a Highway" cleanup should be cursing as he gathers up the un-spooled remains.

The Englishman is perturbed with all the interruptions his new wife is allowing on their first night together. For some reason he likes being alone with the monster from beyond time as it struts around the room (well, stands there and tries not to fall over) with fluffy boas and poses in front of three mirrors. Do you know what that means? Including her reflections, there are four of her! Something snapped in my brain at this point and I lost consciousness, awakening to find Katie had thoughtfully paused the movie. I took off my belt and thanked her profusely.

While proving himself to be a manly man, vice a man's man, Lord Barrington finds out about the tape and its present location in the battlements. Luck is with him and he retrieves it before Vance and Dan arrive. They are intent on listening to the diary for another reason: Marlo thought the gangster was dead and cannot remember if she divorced him or not. Only by replaying her memoirs can the crooks (a cheap shot against mobsters there) determine if she now has two husbands. Anything to advance the plot and reach closure at this point. Really, I mean it.

Celebrations in the hotel's special United Nations room are interrupted when Marlo, Vance, and the cassette end up there together. For some reason the leaders of every worthwhile nation want to hear the movie star's diary played. Hey, it's sad enough that her life fits on a sixty-minute tape, what more could you want? Al Capone Jr. decides to hold up the world (blame him for this analogy) and grabs the tape. He is thwarted when the crowd parts to reveal the Godfather. What the heck is he doing there? Boy, this movie just threw every scrap of believability it had out the window.

I'd tell you that the movie had a happy ending, but that only applies to the fictional characters (if having sex with an eighty-five year-old woman qualifies as "happy"). The viewer's side of the experience is something far less pleasant.

I am now going to get roaring drunk. Thank you and goodnight.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Negotiations for lasting world peace are held at public hotels.
  • Some things do not look right superimposed over Old Glory. Moscow is one of these things.
  • British people are uneducated about homosexual lingo.
  • "Shake it, don't break it" has a special meaning for grandmothers.
  • Expensive champagne is sealed with foil.
  • Twenty-one is the age of consent.
  • Women: you should divorce your deceased husband before getting married again. Just in case.
  • Arabs and Israelis should not hold potluck dinners together.
  • Alice Cooper looks awfully gay without his makeup.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 6 mins - She probably needs an oxygen tank even when she's not "exercising."
  • 12 mins - Arrgghhh! Stop making sexual comments! Arrgghhh! No! Now he's doing it too!
  • 26 mins - Mae West touching her breasts (I've gone blind at this point).
  • 27 mins - At least I still have my hearing... ...noooooo! (Mae and Timothy singing "Love Will Keep Us Together.")
  • 36 mins - Sight and sound returning to my body.
  • 38 mins - The movie is still playing and Dom DeLuise is singing! Please kill me.
  • 54 mins - What sort of sicko are you that a woman that old gives you an erection?
  • 67 mins - He hits the pavement, dying instantly! Hoora... ...what? You cheating @%&*@! of a movie!
  • 78 mins - I wonder how many sleeping pills we have in the house?
  • 85 mins - Please make it stop!

Quotes: 

  • Michael: "And, as for your manager, he really rubs me the wrong way."
    Marlo: "Don't worry honey; I'll rub you the right way."

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

FileDialog
Green Music Note sextette1.wav Michael: "I feel like the first man who landed on the moon."
Marlo: "In a few minutes you're gonna be the first man who landed on Venus. Mmmm!"
Green Music Note sextette2.wav Michael: "Collecting husbands seems to be a hobby of yours, like collecting stamps or books."
Marlo: "Well, marriage is like a book, the whole story takes place between the covers."
Green Music Note sextette3.wav Laslo: "Forgive I should mention it. You know when your wife was my wife? Your wife was some wife. I only hope my wife is your wife like your wife was my wife."
Green Music Note sextette4.wav Dan: "Sir Michael is one of England's top secret agents. He's bigger than 007!"
Marlo: "I never got a chance to take his measurements!"
Dan: "Oh!"
Green Music NoteTheme Song Listen to a clip from the soundtrack.

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 

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 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipsextette1.mpg - 3.6m
By clicking on this video you agree to waive Badmovies.org of any and all responsibility. Including, but not limited to: physical, mental, and spiritual suffering.

May God have mercy upon your soul.

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Comments:Write CommentPages: 1 2 [3] 4 5
Sextette
Reply #17. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by steve eramo
why do i read warning lables and continue to do the things that i'm told not to do????

very clearly i was told to NOT click on the 'love will keep us together' clip.  but no.....i just HAD to see mae west and timothy dalton(how did he ever get to be james bond??) in what i assume was to be a duet.

well, i found out a few things:

1)animatronics are wonderful, i love how lifelike mae west looked.
2)timothy dalton...um....can't sing to save his soul.
3)the pain in my eyes subsided once the ice pick was removed.
4)the webmaster is an evil, evil, twisted man.

may this film burn in hell, along with osama bin laden
Sextette
Reply #18. Posted on April 24, 2003, 10:53:45 AM by Beeronius
Dear lord. My eyes burn from watching that clip...
Sextette
Reply #19. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Kaiomarz Bhada
This has to be the best movie I have ever seen! The song between Timothy Dalton and Mae West is the best coreographed piece of film ever! And Mae is the prettiest sh'e ever been! 85 year olds rock!
Sextette
Reply #20. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:03 PM by Miko Rittenberry
Lucifer himself could not create a horror of this magnitude.  I vaguely remember seeing this movie on cable a long time ago and it almost raped my childhood.  For the longest time, I swore that RED SONJA was the worst movie ever made... apparently, I had just successfully blocked this one from memory, only to have it brought back by this website.  Thanks.
Believe me, watching Dom DeLuise dance along to a cardboard cutout of Mae West might be the most f**king surreal thing anyone will ever see... *shudder*
Sextette
Reply #21. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Tom
This movie is gold..... I really LOVE it... it's so bad that it's good. Made my eyes water from laughing. Specially when you hear Mae's teeth smack up her gum! (I'll play the piana *smack*)
Sextette
Reply #22. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Trog
A masterpiece! Ranks in cinema history right up there with "Xanadu" and "Can't Stop the Music." A technological, directorial and performance achievement unequaled before or since.

The amazing Mae West, rumored at the time to be either 85 or 91, is utterly convincing. Ubiquitous use of state-of-the-art "Doris Day lenses" (pantyhose smeared with Vaseline and stretched over the camera) predate Industrial Light and Magic techniques by at least a decade.

So does the use of a wireless earpiece cleverly concealed in Miss West's wig so the director could feed her her lines. A huge advance over Marlon Brando's technique of hiding his lines on cards all over the set so he doesn't have to memorize them and they sound "fresh." Again, Miss West was far ahead of her time and displays an astonishing emotional range for which she was not well known.

One example: her reading of her line, "I'm the girl who works at Paramount all day and Fox all night." Audiences didn't know whether to laugh or cry, such was the rich emotional ambiguity of this, her crowning role. One appreciates her trail-blazing performance all the more when realizing that, though she had written this line for herself some fifty years earlier, it still sounds as fresh as if her director had just fed it to her through her earpiece.

And another thing. Michael Todd's cameo players in "Around the World in 80 Days" had nothing on "Sextette's" once-in-a-lifetime assemblage. Tony Curtis, Walter Pidgeon, Dom deLouise, Alice Cooper, Timothy Dalton, Regis Philbin, Tom Sellick -- all giving,er, standout performances, per Miss West's requirement -- plus an immortal musical score that ranges from the Captain and Tennille's "Love Will Keep Us Together" to the Beatles' "Honey Pie" -- well, there are no words.

If it's brilliant moviemaking you want; if it's comedy and heartbreak and thrilling music and choreography rolled into one (even dancing bellhops, like in Jerry Herman's "Hello, Dolly!" only this is different because those were waiters and these are bellhops!) don't hesitate to buy "Sextette." You'll regret it.

Sextette
Reply #23. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Steve Potts
Come on now,...everybody loves to crap on "Sextette", for all the WRONG reasons!  Its called a "farce", it was never ment to be taken seriously! Ms. West even said at the time that she made it 1978 that she did it "for her fans!"   What other star could pull something like this off at her age then?  Not Garbo, Swanson, or even Dietrich, who appeared briefly in Bowie's "Giggalo" 1976, looking great herself!

85 or 91, who cares! Mae West looks great in "Sextette" , no more than 65 or 70! She made this for her fans, so have a stiff drink, sit back & enjoy! There will never be anything like this made ever again in Hollywood, nor are there any legends left, the likes of Mae West!  
Sextette
Reply #24. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by qygibo
If Mae West REALLY cared for her fans, she wouldn't have made that P.O.S. movie.....  it's shudderriffic!!!
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