Rhymes with Sushi: Uschi Digard  

wiloma 49M
3 posts
1/11/2006 1:19 am

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

Rhymes with Sushi: Uschi Digard

Other fans of Russ Meyer will have their favorite actress in his films, but for me one is supreme: Uschi Digard.

Don't get me wrong: I love them all. When I was first seeing Meyer's films, I thought: Haji is mysterious beauty personified Kitten Natividad is synonymous with naughty fun; Alaina Capri is the kind of challenge every man wants, and Raven de la Croix is simply one of the most gorgeous women ever to walk the earth. Seeing them on screen always made me feel like maybe there was some actual reason for being on earth. But the only one who ever made me melt like ice on a spring day is Uschi Digard.

The fact that out of all Meyer's actresses only Uschi Digard had much of a career beyond Meyer's films tells me that I am not alone in thinking this. Reading Uschi's filmography and noting the number of films and the diversity of their genres always impresses me. Granted, she wasn't such a popular woman because of her great dramatic skill (though I'd contend that it's only because no one ever asked her to act). But she radiates earthy sensuality like no other woman in Meyer's oeuvre. Seeing Uschi on screen is like becoming a magnet that suddenly found the North Pole.

I've never had the chance to meet her. As I understand, she's married with at least one daughter and lives in Palm Springs, so perhaps I'll get that chance someday. Everything about her appeals to me. Besides being so damned fine and sexy, she has been a United Nations interpreter who speaks eight languages (nine, if you count the bizarre Swiss version of German), has worked in avant-garde films (my own area of work) and is just generally fascinating, and I love fascinating women.

Uschi Digard has probably had more more non-speaking nude roles in talking pictures than any other actress I can think of, in everything from Phantasm to Zucker Abrams Zucker pictures.* I guess her body is so magnificent that no one much cares if she speaks or not. Myself, I find her deep contralto voice just completely hubba hubba tingly, so I often wish she'd been in more films than she was in, just to hear her actually act, but of course the film industry has never worked that way.

I'm watching Cherry, Harry & Raquel right now. It has always been my favorite Russ Meyer film, and a large part of that is that it has so much Uschi in it. It's also an amazingly sumptuous film to watch: once Meyer returned to shooting color films, his eye for lush color and vibrant lighting gave his films a look unlike anything else before David Lynch. They have a cleanness to them, but they're also very rich, and this is no mean feat in camera-land. Watching Uschi Digard swim around in the water I remember how very good Meyer was at composition. I should try to do that sometime.

So if any of you ever see Uschi Digard or talk to her, tell her that she's marvelous, and has inspired at least one person to take up a career in film.

*Zucker Abrams & Zucker have used both Uschi Digard and Kitten Natividad in their movies, Uschi in The Kentucky Fried Movie and Kitten in Airplane. Coincidence? I think not.

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