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Someone I Touched (Lou Antonio, 1975)

Message movie lectures rarely come more preachy than with Someone I Touched, a made for television feature designed to put the sexual revolution in its place. Chock full of campy pop-psychological speeches, amusing fashions from the era, and no shortage of delightfully overblown melodrama, the movie proceeds with enough of a straight face to be frequently hilarious. In this single-minded enterprise, a promiscuous supermarket cashier (Glynnis OíConnor) contracts a syphilis infection and begins retracing her sexual steps. As it turns out, one of her past conquests was Sam (James Olson), a successful married man who refuses to own up to his misdeeds. Since itís the 1970s, everyone seems to be having sex with everyone else, which inevitably puts Laura, a happy housewife played by Cloris Leachman, at risk. The potential of her inevitable infection, complicated by her pregnancy, provides most of the suspense here, but it seems unlikely that anyone wonít be able to tell where this movieís going from the get go.  

Oddly, though most of Someone I Touchedís screen time is devoted to the marital strife between Sam and Laura, the most engaging and histrionic scenes, by far, involve the cashier and her mother. The rest of the film, at least until a plot twist predictably arrives at the start of the third act, hits overly familiar buttons. A county health official crops up from time to time to rattle off statistics about VD and to put the fear of God into us. The debates of feminism course throughout the script. A philandering husband gets a verbal dressing down from a female doctor. The abortion debate rears its head when the same husband implies that Laura not have her baby. Women are revealed to be as capable at wrecking homes as men.  

It probably goes without saying that Someone I Touched is less than masterfully made. Still, it stands as an entertaining time capsule of a culture that has faded. The way that it manages to feel so quaint while it is convinced itís being frank and brave is one of the pleasures afforded by the passing of time. From its hilarious dialogue (ďMaybe the bug didnít careÖ but I did!Ē) to its faux sincerity, Someone I Touched is wretched, but that barely keeps it from being enjoyable to watch.  

Cloris Leachman sings the somewhat inappropriate title song in a pleasant, lilting voice.

 

48

Jeremy Heilman 

07.14.11