GUERRILLAS IN PINK LACE. Mont Productions, 1964. George Montgomery, Valerie Varda, Joan Shawnlee. Screenplay by Fred Grofe Jr. Directed by George Montgomery. Currently available on YouTube (see below).

   The movie is bad.

   Bad doesn’t begin to describe it.

   The color photography is washed out. The acting is uniformly bad. The direction is ham-handed. The plot is ludicrous, bordering on racist tropes from twenty years earlier. Sexist doesn’t begin to describe it; there isn’t a woman in it credited with so much as a single brain cell. Sue Ann Langdon or Sherry North could have played every important female in the cast in different wigs, and probably should have.

   Nothing works from the goofy score, to the slightly less sexy for wear guerrillas in pink lace from the title, and there’s not really nudity in it considering it’s only possible reason for existing is sexploitation. There is one broadly slapstick swimming scene for Joan Shawnlee as a brainless brunette nude in the water trying to snatch her bra hooked on a Japanese water can while Murphy and the girls watch helpless, but that’s all the tease this film as to offer.

   And you know what?

   The stupid mess is fun.

   Stupid fun, but fun.

   You see, conman and unlucky gambler Murphy (George Montgomery) is in the Philippines after Pearl Harbor and down on his luck replete with a hangover and black eye, when Father Osgood (not Jim Montgomery, as IMDb insists, but Torn Thatcher) shows up. Father Osgood has a pass to be flown out that day, but he wants to stay behind and help his parishioners face the hardships of Japanese occupation.

   Murphy, of course, agrees to help him.

   He steals a cassock, a pair of glasses, and the Pass and manages to catch a ride to the airport with a bus load of exotic dancers whose boss has talked an officer into a pass. For Murphy it’s a fairly delightful farewell to Manila until the Japanese shoot down the plane.

   Only Murphy and the girls survive and end up on the small island of San Miguel where Murphy, who the girls still believe to be the courageous and Godly Father Osgood, all fine and well and rather cozy until it turns out there are Japanese on the island.

   Two Japanese specifically, an officer and a soldier keeping a radio observation outpost, a fat stupid officer and a cross-dressing (as a geisha girl to sing to the officer while Murphy steals from them and uses their radio to contact the Navy) idiot much put on soldier.

   Laurel and Hardy, Japanese soldiers.

   So while the ladies bathe and exercise and bemoan, Murphy is a man of God and not available, and surprisingly show less skin than the Japanese soldiers, and Murphy steals the Japanese blind and plots to get close to the radio to get a second message out after his initial raid, there is no real threat.

   And then of course the Japanese army shows up and all bets are off.

   Montgomery was a reliable and fairly popular leading man through the Forties into the early Sixties where he moved briefly to the small screen (Cimmaron) and then made several low budget adventure film in the Philippines (this was the third after Huk and The Iron Claw). He was one of the men suspected to be the Masked Rider of the Plains in the Republic serial The Lone Ranger, and again in The Masked Marvel, he was soon co-starring as a poor man’s John Payne opposite the likes of Ginger Rogers (Roxie Hart), cast as Philip Marlowe in The Brasher Doubloon, and in numerous adventure, comedy, and other films.

   In the Fifties he moved primarily into Westerns with some success (Cripple Creek, The Texas Rangers) and was married to singer Diana Shore. He continued to act until 1988, but had long since become popular and respected as a maker of fine furniture.

   Back on San Miguel, the small island, Murphy and the women decided to go out like heroes rather than run from the Japanese. They strip Japanese uniforms off soldiers they knock unconscious, sneak into the base, steal dynamite, and light up the night with an attack that consists of nothing but tossing sticks of dynamite into the camp in the dark among the panicking troops.

   And when they wake up the next morning they find the Japanese of decamped in the night even leaving the radio behind.

   The guerrillas in pink lace have won the battle of San Miguel.

   Murphy finds himself a Major in charge of special operations of San Miguel with his “army” commended for their skills and bravery, but the girls have just found out Murphy is no priest and…

   Well, they’ve been on the island for a while…

   If I’ve spoiled this for you, believe me, the plot is telegraphed in the title. This is no Westward the Women or Guns of Fort Petticoat. None of the cast so much as lose a nail despite the plane crash and living in the jungle.

   Well, one woman gets her hair twisted in a bush. I guess that was traumatic, but as a dramatic high point, it’s fairly lame.

   And there it stands, stupid, badly written, sexist, racist (though no one is much smarter than the Japanese), inexpertly directed by Montgomery (who did better on television and elsewhere), mostly badly acted (Montgomery does manage a kind of goofy charm as Murphy — at least to me) never delivering on the sex, or the comedy, much less the adventure, just an awful movie.

   But, like some shaggy, hair knotted, smelly, overly friendly dogs, I feel a certain good will towards it. Give it a scratch behind the ears — just be sure you wash your hands afterward.

   You wouldn’t want this dog to give you fleas.

   It probably would, and frankly I wouldn’t bet against an STD or two.