Lucio Fulci is one of my favorite directors and I have a real soft spot for his fascinating erotic thriller, Perversion Story (1969). Most of the action in the film takes place in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area, which also happens to be one of my regular stomping grounds. I spent a lot of time hanging out on Broadway in North Beach during the ’80s. The area had already lost a lot of its sparkle then but it still maintained some of its charm and there was nothing like it on a Saturday night. Strip clubs and topless bars co-mingled with rock clubs and popular night spots. You could watch Carol Doda strip and then walk across the street and catch a Black Flag show at the Mab (Mabuhay Gardens). These days Broadway is just a shadow of its former self but Lucio Fulci captured the city by the bay at its best.
My favorite scene in Perversion Story has the film’s leading man Jean Sorel making his way down Broadway and heading into the Roaring 20’s Club (or a facsimile), which offers “No Cover, Topless Dancers, Original Nude On the Swing.” There still is a Roaring 20’s club in San Francisco but it looks nothing like the club Sorel walks into in 1969 and that’s why I love the following clip so much. It presents Broadway and the topless clubs as Lucio Fulci might have experienced them in the 1960s. The clean & lively club is full of smiling nude women and great music. Then the lovely Marisa Mell shows up wearing a leopard catsuit and gives us a ’60s style strip show while she’s straddling a motorcycle. What more could a viewer ask for?