The Telephone Book (7/29)

“One of my favorite films of the Seventies.” — Steve Martin

Truly alive and more wonderfully whacked-out with each passing vignette, this syrupy 1971 underground comedy from countercultural baron Nelson Lyon plays like a randy sketch comedy film devised tag-team by George Kuchar and Robert Downey Sr., with a little Ralph Bakshi and early Brian De Palma thrown in for good measure. A cute, bored young blonde named Alice (Laugh-In‘s Sarah Kennedy) is totally invigorated after receiving a life-changing obscene phone call from a deeply sonorous weirdo, and sets off on a quest to call every last crackpot in the phone book, in order to locate her velvet-voiced wonder. In a who’s-who of the era’s rad onscreen personas, The Telephone Book’s bizarre gallery of characters includes future Oscar nominee William Hickey (Prizzi’s Honor) delivering monologues while bedridden with an oversized permanent erection, Barry Morse (The Fugitive) as a fallen stag filmmaker, Warhol superstars Ondine and Ultra Violet, and voiceover guru Norman Rose as the obscene call king (appearing in an unforgettably disturbing pig mask.) Heady, heated, hilarious, capricious and oh-so-right. Brand-new DCP!
Dir. Nelson Lyon, 1971, DCP, 80 min.

Watch the trailer for “The Telephone Book”!