DVD: Mansfield 66/67

STUDIO: Gunpowder & Sky | DIRECTOR: David Ebersole and Todd Hughes
RELEASE DATE: July 3, 2018 | PRICE: DVD $12.99
SPECS: NR | 85 min. | Documentary

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie   | Audio  | Video  | Overall

Those familiar with pneumatic blonde bombshell Jayne Mansfield will probably know a few things about her life. That she famously lived in a Beverly Hills mansion known as the “Pink Palace,” for example, and that she was once married to Hungarian bodybuilder Mickey Hargitay. That the pair had a daughter, Mariska Hargitay, who became a TV star on TV’s Law & Order, and that Mansfield died horrifically in a car accident in the Nevada desert at the age of 34.

What many may not know, however, is that in the last few years of her life, Mansfield became friendly with Anton LaVey, America’s top purveyor of Satanism, and she too got involved in the dark arts as her screen and TV career waned.

Jayne Mansfield and Anton LaVey in Mansfield 66/67.

The documentary Mansfield 66/67 offers a fascinating look at Mansfield’s topsy-turvy life and career—especially the two years spotlighted in the title– and lays out the connections between the goateed, publicity-savvy Satanist LaVey and the curvaceous sex bomb who was no stranger to drawing attention to herself.

A mixed media bag of groovy archival footage and photos, crafty animation, funny talking head testimony (from filmmakers John Waters and Kenneh Anger, and actresses Mary Woronov, Mamie Van Doren and Tippi Hedren, among others), and avant garde dance sequences are utilized to tell of this unlikely relationship. Directors David Ebersole and Todd Hughes manage to dig up some wild behind-the-scenes film footage and offer some odd anecdotes—like how Mansfield allowed wild animals in her home, one of which nearly mauled her son to death—to make Mansfield 66/67 a truly odd and often unsettling experience.

Billed as a “a true story based on rumor and hearsay,” the film would have been better off if it had not included the annoying dance segments which play like unnecessary, amateurish pile-ons to a picture that is already chockful of weirdness and campiness.

While Mansfield 66/67 is far from a comprehensive summary of the actress’s life, it does add measured speculation to some of the blanks in her career tailspin. What emerges is an uneven but often captivating look at what happens when the dark side of fame, Hollywood hype, conjecture and fact converge.

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About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.