Before you all get the wrong idea, no I haven’t taken a journey to that back room of the video store for this review. The title certainly sounds like it could’ve come from that section. The title is just the start, though. This film features college kids, sexy teachers, gangsters, a monkey, and a robot who dreams of strippers. Get ready for some school hijinks in 1960’s Sex Kittens Go to College.
Our story takes place at Collins College, where the administrators are anxiously awaiting the arrival of a new professor, Dr. Mathilda West. She’s a certifiable genius, holding multiple degrees…but what the college didn’t count on is that she looks like Mamie Van Doren! Immediately, students and teachers alike start to go a bit nuts over this sexy new arrival on campus. The star football player, Woo Woo Grabowski (Norman Grabowski) turns into a quivering pile of goo every time he’s around her. Of course, the good doctor sets out to study the poor athlete’s condition which upsets one of the students, Jody (Tuesday Weld), who has been trying to get pinned by Woo Woo for months. The other professors are also anxious to spend time with Dr. West, including the married Professor Watts (John Carradine).
Meanwhile, a couple of gangsters, Legs (Allan Drake) and Boomie (Mickey Shaughnessy), are sneaking around the campus looking for a bookie named Sam who has been winning big with his betting habits. Turns out, though, that Sam is actually a robot created by the college’s Dr. Zorch (Louis Nye), who is also a bit smitten with Dr. West. But trouble is brewing. It is soon revealed that Dr. Mathilda West was once known as the Tallahassee Tassle Toser…in other words, she was a stripper. Of course, this concerns the college’s PR man George Barton (Martin Milner)…who it seems also has the hots for her. From there we get a song and dance number, a battle with the gangsters where fire extinguishers are the weapon of choice, and the aforementioned robot dream sequence.
There’s so much going on in Sex Kittens Go to College that it is very easy to lose track of what little story there is. And there’s so much that I didn’t mention in my synopsis. There’s a pointless subplot involving a student named Suzanne (Mijanou Bardot…aka sister of Bridgitte) who is researching the sex lives of American men and becomes particularly (and inexplicably) enthralled with the two gangsters. We also have Jackie Coogan showing up as the college’s chief benefactor, Admiral Wildcat Macpherson…a character who has no bearing on the story whatsoever. Another familiar face in a small role is Ed Wood regular Vampira, and country singer Conway Twitty even appears in the nightclub scene and sings two songs for the soundtrack. Then there’s the chimp, Voltaire, who not only works in the lab with Mamie Van Doren but also is allowed into nightclubs and then shows up in the robot’s dream.
Let’s talk a bit about that dream sequence, because it’s one of the strangest things I’ve seen in a movie in quite a while. After Mamie Van Doren asks the robot, who is having a nervous breakdown, what he dreams about, we see what is in his mind. The robot is dressed in a tuxedo, with the monkey beside him, as one by one about half a dozen ladies perform a striptease for him. The sequence does actually feature nudity, and therefore it seems that some prints of the film did not include this scene back in 1960. Some of the performers go so far as do lap dances for the robot…at least that‘s what we’d call it if the big guy were able to sit down. The scene is a nearly 10 minutes long and couldn’t be more shoehorned in if they’d tried. At least the chimp doesn’t strip.
As for the rest of the film, there are a few mild chuckles here and there. Mostly these come in the form of awkward double entendres used to describe Miss Van Doren’s attributes. As 50’s blonde bombshells go, I’ve always enjoyed Mamie Van Doren. She’s a better actress than she’s often given credit for. However, things seem a bit uneven in this one. She comes across as a bit stilted in the early portions of the film. She seems a bit more like the Mamie I’ve seen in other films once we hit the musical number…which is probably the highlight of the film. Mamie belts out the song with amazing intensity. As musical numbers go, it’s well staged and is well above the pay grade of the rest of this film. I can even overlook the fact that it ends with monkey as a part of a kick line.
For the most part, Sex Kittens Go to College is a bit bloated and aimless. It’s not without a few B-movie charms, though. Besides, it answers that famous question, “do androids dream of electric sheep?” with a resounding “no!”