Special request: Sue Lyon in Murder in a Blue World (1973)

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: In a futuristic world, a gang of thugs in matching outfits commits home invasions solely for the purpose of terrorizing the well-to-do, beating the husbands and raping the wives. The juvenile delinquents drive around together in a zany vehicle. Elsewhere in society, some medical scientists believe that they can cure the young hoodlums with an experimental brain-altering procedure.

If that’s not obvious enough to jog your memeory, here’s the capper: the rich people are being beaten and raped while they await their TV channel’s next broadcast: A Clockwork Orange.

Yes, it was an homage to Kubrick. According to the special features on the Blu-Ray, the director himself referred to this film in conversation as “A Clockwork Tangerine.” Actually, there is one slight spin on the ultra-violence: the droogie gang includes a gay guy, so they rape the husbands as well as the wives in their home invasions.

So far these comments read like I’m dissing the film, but to be honest, I’m glad I watched it. Blue World is surprisingly entertaining for a low-budget 1973 Spanish knock-off. The set design is impressive; there is a beautifully choreographed vehicle chase scene without .cgi; there is a totally bonkers ending; and there are a few laughs, some of them even intentional. I thought it was funny that Sue’s character was reading Lolita, and I was amused by some funny TV commercials from the not-too-distant future. In the category of unintentional laughs provoked by a small budget, we have this: Although the story takes place in the undefined future, everyone but the droogies still drives a 60s or 70s automobile, and the inhabitants still use rotary phones.

I’m not going to go into more detail because this guy wrote a very thorough analysis, including all the necessary details without spoiling anything. I agree with him on every point but one: he seemed impressed with Sue Lyon’s acting. Your mileage may vary. I found her line readings to be cold and stiff. Her character donned several different disguises, but her impersonations all talked in the same monotonous, passionless way, and basically looked alike except for their wardrobes and wigs. In terms of creating varied characters, Sue was never likely to become the Bill Hader of her time.

It’s a shame there’s no nudity in this film, because it was re-mastered to Blu-Ray from the director’s own negative, and the photography is vivid, properly lighted and highly competent. Sue did wear a semi-transparent blouse one evening, and a nipple was visible from time to time, as seen below.

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The Wikipedia page describes the film scene-by-scene. (SPOILERS. Obviously.)


Sue Lyon completely naked in Game of Murder (1973)

3 thoughts on “Special request: Sue Lyon in Murder in a Blue World (1973)

  1. This role seems to curse the rest of the career of the actresses who play Lolita, but at least Dominique Swain has been fairly steady with the nudity the last 20 years, including an awesome butt shot in some piece of shit called Nazi Overlord with the late Tom Sizemore (speaking of cursed!)

  2. I wonder if the lack of nudity has to do with Francisco Franco’s Spain. I’ve heard director Jesus Franco say that Spanish productions were not allowed to contain nudity then so he had to move to other countries to do many of his films. This film even contains Christopher Mitchum who I had never knew existed. I guess he wasn’t good enough to become even another Jim Mitchum never mind their dad.

    1. That could be, although I don’t know it for a fact. General√≠simo Franco was still undead, the Catholic Church still had an iron fist wrapped around Spain’s balls, and the film’s exteriors were lensed entirely in Madrid.

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