The Telephone Book * Vinegar Syndrome* Directed by Nelson Lyon, 1971 * Blu-ray release date - May 07, 2013
Review written by David Paul Wyatt Perko

Trying to dial in what this film might be about by its cover alone, one may as well hang it up. The cover rings true though to being inventive and intriguing and the film itself is exactly the same number. Shot in black & white, this film communicates on psychological levels where subliminal advertising lingers. Coiled with a Warholian edge (two Warhol starlets, Ondine and Ultra Violet, are actually in the film (a scene, with Warhol himself, was mysteriously cut out, then lost)), it calls up the visual antics of Rinse Dream’s X-rated films like Café Flesh and/or his, somewhat lighter, R-rated remake of Dr. Caligari–only instead of “I know you’re watching me” it could be “I know you’re listening to me.” Someone’s selling crazy and everyone’s lending an ear.

When prank phone caller Mr. Smith (Norman Rose) ends up with adorable, sex-pot Alice (Sarah Kennedy) on the other end of his line–talking like a horny jackal on lithium–it’s not “love at first sight,” but more like, “love at first hear” as she becomes so entranced by his mesmerizing, confidence that she decides to track and find him. What she doesn’t realize is that the path that must be taken, to find him, is more tangled than a telephone cord. Whether it’s working her way through meeting a delusional, stag filmmaker (Barry Morse) or a persuasive psychiatrist, Alice soon thinks nothing of dealing with one bizarre encounter after the next. In fact, she’s giggly about all of it. The true dream-like qualities of the film are on hold though until Mr. Smith, wearing a pig mask, finally gets connected to Alice and the two share strange but private moments together.

The Telephone Book is kooky, whimsical and kind of like an Ed Wood picture directed by Stanley Kubrick. Seeing it would be a good call. This black & white listing is one colorful work of art and you haven’t even heard about the hyper-sexual, climactic animation at the end yet! //