Chastity


1h 21m 1969

Brief Synopsis

Go on a cross country adventure with Cher in her first dramatic film, Chastity! Chastity (Cher) is a lonely young girl who is hitchhiking across the country in hopes of finding someone to love her and make her forget her disturbed past. She does find love with a man who she calls Andre (Stephen Whittaker). Chastity feels that the relationship is getting too serious so she decides to run. She goes to Mexico where she starts working at a whorehouse, there she befriends the strange lesbian owner (Barbara London). Chastity is looking for a mother figure in the woman, but the woman has different feelings for Chastity. She soon realizes that this is not the life for her and decides to return to Andre and try to start a new normal life. Things are good, but not for long as Chastity's dark disturbed past will never let her feel loved by anyone.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Release Date
Jun 1969
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Progress Motion Pictures
Distribution Company
American International Pictures
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 21m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (DeLuxe)

Synopsis

Unhappy with her life but unable or unwilling to confront the reasons for her unhappiness, a young woman who calls herself Chastity hitchhikes through the Southwest. Determined to live up to the name she has chosen for herself, she cruelly rebuffs a friendly truckdriver and then accepts a ride from Eddie, a young law student. Though he gives her a bed for the night and makes no physical demands upon her, Chastity runs away from him, takes $5 from a gas station, steals a car, and eventually hitches a ride to Mexico. Following an encounter with a cab driver who is a procurer, she visits a bordello owned by Diana Midnight and cheats a gullible young man out of his money by getting him to pay for an evening of "sexual entertainment" which never progresses beyond washing his hair. Despite the use of Diana's beach house, Chastity once more takes to the road when she discovers that her patroness is a lesbian. Returning to Eddie in the middle of the night, she spends some time with him but leaves abruptly the next morning. Chastity recalls her past and the trauma of her early home life, with its incestuous overtones. Racing to the highway, she stands there with tears streaming down her face as another truck driver pulls over to offer her a ride.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Release Date
Jun 1969
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Progress Motion Pictures
Distribution Company
American International Pictures
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 21m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (DeLuxe)

Articles

Cher in Chastity on DVD


The only real question posed by Chastity is whether the pop singer Cher demanded a showcase film, or if her husband/business manager Sonny Bono forced her into this vanity production. They'd already been put through the Hollywood wringer in Columbia's feeble Good Times (along with tyro feature director William Friedkin) and on this go-round it looks as if Sonny mounted a low-budget turkey of his own.

'Turkey' is a prejudicial word but it's a fair description for films that are for the most part painful to watch. Chastity is the aimless saga of a hitchiking teenager (Cher was 23 at the time) talking to herself as she drifts from man to man, sleeping with none of them. She commits petty thefts, responds strangely upon meeting a nice-guy student (Stephen Whittaker) and then steals a car in Phoenix and heads for Mexico. There she hooks up with a pimp, visits a house of prostitution and has an overnight fling with its lesbian madam Diana Midnight (Barbara London) before heading back to connect with the student again.

Cher's character is eventually revealed as a disturbed victim of child abuse, which is supposed to account for her aggressive refusal to be touched and her frequent irresponsible behavior. When she does find an honest and friendly boy, she freaks out and hits the road again, collapsing in tears over her inability to love.

If that sounds appealing, the movie is not. The only interest to be had here is wondering to what degree Chastity might represent Cher's personal background. Unfortunately, the singer's successful teaming with promotional partner Sonny Bono also tied her to embarrassing filmmaker Sonny Bono. To escape the Good Times trap he instead co-produced with Hugo Grimaldi, an editor-film doctor noted for kicking foreign genre films into shape for American release: The Snow Queen, Gigantis, the Fire Monster, First Spaceship on Venus. Some credits seem to come from friends of the family (the terrible animated titles) and the director "Alessio de Paola" is almost certainly the many-hatted Sonny Bono.

Sonny has seen his share of foreign films but Chastity takes a page from Walk on the Wild Side when Cher's adventuress "seeker" penetrates the Mexican brothel just to "see for herself" and hooks up with Barbara London's unconvincing Barbara Stanwyck imitation. As the scriptwriter, Sonny gives Cher plenty of terrible talking-to-myself dialogue that lacks a convincing female perspective. Why is Cher attracted to the madam? Because her touch reminds her of Mother, which leads to psychotic memories of Father, and so forth. Interestingly, Cher's breakthrough acting role a decade later in Silkwood also gave her an ambiguous sexuality.

Chastity's deadly lack of purpose kills it almost from the start. Cher would quickly find her show-business bearings and solidify a commercial public image for herself, but here she's incapable of expressing much of anything. A few infrequent smiles hint at her future promise as a comedienne. Otherwise, Cher's acting is limited to one morose stare after another. Her makeup and hairstyle do most of the work.

Cher may have done her own makeup on this no-budget effort. When combined with the poor lighting and camerawork, her million-dollar (and pre-plastic surgery) face becomes a blotchy patchwork of light mascara topped by exaggerated eyelashes. There's a green-gray area around her mouth in many large close-ups, making her look like a hound who needs a shave. Chastity surely taught Cher a permanent lesson about image maintenance.

The American International release is R-rated but the closest it comes to sex is in an unfunny comic bit when Chastity decides to play hooker and fleece a kid in the brothel (Tom Nolan). Viewers are likely to be more concerned when she pretends to be a gas station attendant ($6.95 for a fill-up!) and pours a quart of motor oil into some poor guy's radiator. There is some nudity among the depressingly realistic prostitutes in Barbara London's ugly establishment. A body double appears to have been used for a flash of faux Cher-skin.

MGM's DVD of Chastity is a flipper with two separate transfers (16:9 & flat), both of which accurately reproduce the film's crude lighting and unusually dirty opticals. Sonny Bono's music is okay, except for the blah title song. Chastity is surely a curiosity must-see for the Cher faithful, even though by curtain time they're likely to feel as cheated as the rest of us.

To order Chastity, go to TCM Shopping.

By Glenn Erickson
Cher In Chastity On Dvd

Cher in Chastity on DVD

The only real question posed by Chastity is whether the pop singer Cher demanded a showcase film, or if her husband/business manager Sonny Bono forced her into this vanity production. They'd already been put through the Hollywood wringer in Columbia's feeble Good Times (along with tyro feature director William Friedkin) and on this go-round it looks as if Sonny mounted a low-budget turkey of his own. 'Turkey' is a prejudicial word but it's a fair description for films that are for the most part painful to watch. Chastity is the aimless saga of a hitchiking teenager (Cher was 23 at the time) talking to herself as she drifts from man to man, sleeping with none of them. She commits petty thefts, responds strangely upon meeting a nice-guy student (Stephen Whittaker) and then steals a car in Phoenix and heads for Mexico. There she hooks up with a pimp, visits a house of prostitution and has an overnight fling with its lesbian madam Diana Midnight (Barbara London) before heading back to connect with the student again. Cher's character is eventually revealed as a disturbed victim of child abuse, which is supposed to account for her aggressive refusal to be touched and her frequent irresponsible behavior. When she does find an honest and friendly boy, she freaks out and hits the road again, collapsing in tears over her inability to love. If that sounds appealing, the movie is not. The only interest to be had here is wondering to what degree Chastity might represent Cher's personal background. Unfortunately, the singer's successful teaming with promotional partner Sonny Bono also tied her to embarrassing filmmaker Sonny Bono. To escape the Good Times trap he instead co-produced with Hugo Grimaldi, an editor-film doctor noted for kicking foreign genre films into shape for American release: The Snow Queen, Gigantis, the Fire Monster, First Spaceship on Venus. Some credits seem to come from friends of the family (the terrible animated titles) and the director "Alessio de Paola" is almost certainly the many-hatted Sonny Bono. Sonny has seen his share of foreign films but Chastity takes a page from Walk on the Wild Side when Cher's adventuress "seeker" penetrates the Mexican brothel just to "see for herself" and hooks up with Barbara London's unconvincing Barbara Stanwyck imitation. As the scriptwriter, Sonny gives Cher plenty of terrible talking-to-myself dialogue that lacks a convincing female perspective. Why is Cher attracted to the madam? Because her touch reminds her of Mother, which leads to psychotic memories of Father, and so forth. Interestingly, Cher's breakthrough acting role a decade later in Silkwood also gave her an ambiguous sexuality. Chastity's deadly lack of purpose kills it almost from the start. Cher would quickly find her show-business bearings and solidify a commercial public image for herself, but here she's incapable of expressing much of anything. A few infrequent smiles hint at her future promise as a comedienne. Otherwise, Cher's acting is limited to one morose stare after another. Her makeup and hairstyle do most of the work. Cher may have done her own makeup on this no-budget effort. When combined with the poor lighting and camerawork, her million-dollar (and pre-plastic surgery) face becomes a blotchy patchwork of light mascara topped by exaggerated eyelashes. There's a green-gray area around her mouth in many large close-ups, making her look like a hound who needs a shave. Chastity surely taught Cher a permanent lesson about image maintenance. The American International release is R-rated but the closest it comes to sex is in an unfunny comic bit when Chastity decides to play hooker and fleece a kid in the brothel (Tom Nolan). Viewers are likely to be more concerned when she pretends to be a gas station attendant ($6.95 for a fill-up!) and pours a quart of motor oil into some poor guy's radiator. There is some nudity among the depressingly realistic prostitutes in Barbara London's ugly establishment. A body double appears to have been used for a flash of faux Cher-skin. MGM's DVD of Chastity is a flipper with two separate transfers (16:9 & flat), both of which accurately reproduce the film's crude lighting and unusually dirty opticals. Sonny Bono's music is okay, except for the blah title song. Chastity is surely a curiosity must-see for the Cher faithful, even though by curtain time they're likely to feel as cheated as the rest of us. To order Chastity, go to TCM Shopping. By Glenn Erickson

Quotes

Hey, you wanna do a thing honey?
- Man in car
You gotta have a thing to do a thing, creep.
- Chastity

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Summer June 1969

Cher makes her solo starring debut without Sonny.

Released in United States Summer June 1969