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“Hideout in the Sun”: Queen of Sexploitation Doris Wishman’s colorful crime drama debut (filmed in Nuderama!)
July features both “National Nude Day” and “National Nude Recreation Week,” so we thought it’d be a good opportunity to share with you director Doris Wishman’s very first movie, Hideout in the Sun (1960), a crime drama which mostly takes place in a Southern Florida nudist colony.
According to an interview with Wishman’s biographer, Michael Bowen, published on Flavorwire on June 2, 2016, New York City-born Doris Wishman ended up working for her cousin — low budget film producer Max Rosenberg — as a film booker at his company Classic Pictures, through the late 1940s and into the early 1950s.
Bowen says Classic Pictures was “a very eclectic company,” handling a mixture of imports and exploitation films, and much of what they distributed were essentially compilation films that were re-cut and re-packaged.
Wishman eventually ended up getting a job working in an office as a clerical assistant to celebrated film producer Joseph E. Levine and worked for him a few years.
Then, when her husband died, at just thirty years of age, she decided to try her hand at filmmaking.
Wishman was 48 years old when she directed her first film, Hideout in the Sun (it also carried the promotional title Beauties in the Sun), which featured actual scenes with real nudists shot at Sunshine Beach Nudist Resort.
Wishman would later claim that the nudist colony scenes for this film and her next film, Nude on the Moon, were shot at The Sunny Palms Lodge in Homestead, Florida — another famous nudist colony where a lot of the original footage in her first eight pictures was shot — but according to her biographer Michael Bowen, she had lied about the actual location for legal reasons.
The Sunshine Beach Nudist Resort — located in Tampa, FLA — was co-owned by bodybuilder, photographer and nudist enthusiast Dick Falcon, whose girlfriend was cheesecake model Dolores Carlos (she was cast in the role of “Dorothy”).
Wishman’s original story takes place in the Miami area, when two bank robbers — grouchy Duke and his nervous but more easy-going brother Steve Martin, played by Greg Conrad and Earl Bauer — pull off a daring daylight bank heist and then head down the highway (which is remarkably free of other vehicles) on their way to retrieve another getaway car but then discover that the replacement car’s got a dead battery.
Desperate and bickering endlessly with each other, they end up carjacking the dishy redheaded Dorothy in parking lot, sticking a pistol in her face and driving off with Dorothy sitting between them in the front seat of her land yacht (a 1957 Ford Anglia 101E, which went out of production in 1959).
The Martin boys continue looking for somewhere where they can hide out before their head planned rendezvous with the bewildered captain of a boat that they’re using to sail off to Cuba (in 1960!), and Dorothy recommends that they head over to the original destination where she’d planned on going that day, the Hibiscus Country Club.
Of course, when they arrive at the country club and hole up in one of the cabin rooms, they discover it’s actually a nudist colony.
Steve Martin pretends to be Dorothy’s husband, stripping down to join his “wife,” where he finds he enjoys Dorothy’s nudist lifestyle, skinny-dipping in the pool, playing nude volleyball and tennis… even bird watching in the buff.
He begins to become comfortable in the all-together, cavorting with the naked men, women and children (yes, even kiddies, so avert your eyes, you pervos!) all basking in the sun, with their strategically-placed towels and beach balls.
Meanwhile, angry brother Duke chain-smokes and wears out the carpet in the cabin pacing and looking out the window, muttering to himself, while he sees that his brother seems to have fallen in love with their hostage.
Duke ends up fleeing after the cops are alerted to the pacing, chain-smoking weirdo, and he goes on the run and somehow ends up at the Miami Serpentarium, where he’s confronted by an agitated cobra.
In a wonderful interview she did with Bill Orcutt in September 1997, for issue 8 of Muckraker magazine, Wishman talked about her lengthy career. Orcutt taped their conversation during a car ride to her apartment in Coconut Grove, Miami’s oldest neighborhood, and along the way, she berates him for not writing out any questions ahead of time, at one point calling him an “the world’s biggest idiot!” (her favorite put-down, apparently, as she uses the term several times).
In this excerpt, she recalled how she struck upon the original idea for the film after her husband died and she’d gone a little crazy in the head (she kept fantasizing that her husband was still alive), and what happened when she tried to make her very first exploitation flick:
“When I shot Hideout, I went to this nudist camp — I had decided my first feature was going to be a nudist film because I knew Garden of Eden had done well — and the first person I saw was this big, fat lady, completely nude, wearing a hat.
Of course, this was very humorous to me. I couldn’t look around, it was very embarrassing. But I went in and showed her my script. And she said, ‘Oh, it looks OK.’ She called me up that evening and said, ‘Look, Doris, you know of course that you have to be nude.’ I said ‘Forget it. I’m not going to be nude.’ “
“When my cameraman called from New York, I said, ‘Ray, we can’t shoot.’ He said ‘Why not?’ I said ‘Because we have to be in the nude.’ He said ‘Great!’ I said, ‘Well, I’m not gonna be in the nude.’ So I called Zelda back and I said, ‘I guess our deal is off because I can’t work in the nude.’ She said, ‘Well, can you just wear a short top and a short bottom?” Well, naturally I’m gonna wear a short top and bottom; it’s hot as hell.”
“So we shot there. My sister [Pearl] gave me $10,000 and when I saw what I shot — I didn’t know what to do. That was a lot of money 37 years ago. I said, ‘Oh my God, what am I gonna do? [The footage was] horrible. It was unusable. So anyway, prior to this, I told you my husband had died, very young. And I used to go to bed and pretend I was meeting him and, you know, real sick stuff. But when I lost the money, I went to bed and though, ‘OK, if I pay my sister back ten dollars a week for the rest of my life… But at least it was healthy thinking!
Anyway, after a while I had to tell my sister and she gave me another $10,000. And I shot and this time it was great. And this was Hideout in the Sun. “
“But $10,000 wasn’t gonna do the picture. I took it to New York and I showed it to a company, Astor Pictures, and they loved it. So they financed the rest of it.
Now, unfortunately, they sold their company. So whoever bought the company got their films and they got Hideout. And then the fellow who bought the company went to jail for embezzlement and he died in prison and the negative was lost.”
Doris Wishman in the Alliance Cinema Gallery (photo by R. Orcutt)
“It had about five dates [she’s describing the film’s initial theatrical release]. Well, I searched and I searched and I searched to no avail. So I finally gave up and went on to other films. About four months ago, I went through my storage unit looking for a script and lo and behold I found the master copy of Hideout in the Sun. It is now a film classic. It’s a collector’s item.”
When Hideout in the Sun was released in 1960, Wishman had chosen to be credited as “Lazarus Wolk,” a derivation of the cameraman’s Larry Wolk’s name, and throughout her career, she would often use pseudonyms, sometimes male names, in order to make her films as marketable as possible. Early on, she also wanted it to appear that there was a large crew of people working on the films, but most of the directing, editing and other tasks were all done by Doris Wishman herself.
She would go on to make eight nudist features between 1959-1964, including Nude on the Moon(1961), Diary of a Nudist (1961), and Blaze Starr Goes Nudist (1962).
Later on in the 1960s and ’70s, as she began to develop a style that veered towards more avant-garde filmmaking, she would begin to explore what she called “roughies,” which were violence-tinged films that were more risqué sexually and more experimental, including Bad Girls Go To Hell (1965) and the spy thrillers Double Agent 73 and Deadly Weapons (both 1974), starring stripper Chesty Morgan, who was endowed with one of the largest busts (73 inches!) ever exposed on camera.
The prolific Doris Wishman ended up making more films than any other female filmmaker during her 42-year long career. Her 30 films — twenty-six of them made between 1959 and 1977, and three more between 1992-2002 — were often screened in grindhouse theatres or those specializing in adults-only fare, or they were among the double- and triple-feature sleaze offered at drive-ins across the country.
She was in post-production on Each Time I Kill — which would feature cameos by Fred Schneider of the B-52s, former ’80s scream queen Linnea Quigley and director John Waters — when she began undergoing intensive chemotherapy treatment for a very aggressive lymphoma cancer.
Doris Wishman — who often quipped “After I die, I will be making movies in hell!!” — died on August 10, 2002.