Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Just Because: On The Boat!
I think I wrote once before about my experience, make that my fascination, with 1983's A Night In Heaven. I remember walking through video stores (we had a beta machine....) in the late 80's picking out a movie to rent with my family. I always snuck away to enjoy the box for Heaven and fantasize about what scenes I might view if only I was able to rent it. Sadly, there was nothing about the box that interested the rest of my family and it was years later when I finally saw the flick.
My fascination was more with Christopher Atkins, even before I saw any of his movies. I distinctly remember seeing an old copy of People magazine with Atkins on the cover and, like many gay kids across the country, was enthralled with both the blonde and the body. Now when I first fast forwarded my way through Heaven as a kid, my pause button got a workout on his love scene with Lesley Ann Warren which included a brief glimpse of Atkins penis.
As wonderful as that scene was, it was the boat scene, near the end of the film, which I could not quite get my head around, or forget. When Whitney (Robert Logan) figures out the young stripper (Atkins) slept with his wife, he kidnaps him, forces him to strip, and in one film's finest moments of embarrassment nudity, humiliates and scares Ricky (the Rocket) in the middle of a lake.
Now, as appealing and charming as Atkins is, he has never been exactly a master thespian. His line delivery of 'What About My Clothes' is cringe worthy, and makes little sense given what just occurred. Atkins, from Lagoon on, has been cast for his appearance and willingness to show skin. The producers of Heaven decided to get their money's worth and although there was a sex scene and some stripping scenes, it was as if they figured they would come up with just one more reason to get Christopher out of his clothes.
The scene is both unnecessary and yet desperately needed within the film. It is oddly hot, although the fantasy (minus the gun) of having a naked Atkins in front of you, vulnerable and completely powerless, seems an odd choice for a jealous husband. A choice however I am sure the films producers knew would be enjoyed by a large selection of Atkins' fans.
One of the things which always sticks out for me is how Atkins, possibly at the directors urging, only covers his penis very briefly. For most of the scene, Atkins keeps his hands up, and when he covers his body, it is his shivering nipples, ensuring his genitals always remain camera ready and exposed.