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5.8/10 by 8 users
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A young, once-great Hollywood film director refuses to accept changing times during the early 1930s, and confines himself to his decaying mansion to make silent porn flicks.

Release Date:January 1, 1975
Genres:Comedy, Drama, Foreign, Thriller
Production Co.:United Artists
Production Countries:United Kingdom
Director:John Byrum
Casts:, , , ,
Plot Keywords:female nudity, agoraphobia, hollywood, porn director, alcoholic, porn actress, 1930s, film within a film

Inserts Reviews

  • That was quite unique ! I like it!
    by KGB-Greece-Patras on 18 November 2004

    38 out of 40 people found the following review useful:

    I think many reviewers have lost the point here. This is no excuse for porn, you guys. If you want porn, go get porn. And if you are put off by a film that entirely takes place in an apartment, stay away. But I think that this film is not one you get to see every day. Its special 'plot' and context could only create a unique film. So, its rare... where do we find it? I saw it on MGM, late at night...

    This is a pretty sophisticated film on making porn. Dreyfuss is excellent as the alcoholic director. All in all, you are likely to love it if you like smart, dialog based films, and of course if you're not offended by some nudity and decadence. But what did you expect? This guys is making porn films in his apartment!

    Provocative , a bit offensive , surprisingly shockin, yes, but unique and original as well. Note: this is no expoitation flick, even though some might view enjoy it as such...

  • The tag line is right.
    by Tom DeFelice on 20 December 2003

    25 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

    "A degenerate film with dignity" is the tag line for this comedy...and it is...a comedy. One thing many people might miss from this movie is the humor. At times it is bitter sweet and at times it is caustic. With characters like the mogul named "Big Mac", who wants to conquer the hamburger stand market, to the the porn actor called "Rex the Wonder Horse", who moonlights as an undertaker; what can you do but laugh.

    It is very much a filmed stage play taking place in one large room with only a handful of actors. Yet you will hardly notice it. True to it's time frame (Hollywood at the dawn of sound), it's stands up to it's own time (1970's) and today's (2000's). Currently the porn industry does almost as much business as main stream films ("What Price Hollywood?"). In fact, Porn generates more money than Country Music. How many country music channels are there? How many porn?

    You may never listen to the tune "Moonglow" in the same way again.

    Watching it as a bitter sweet comedy, you cannot but enjoy this film. I have only seen the 117 min. version and not the shortened one. Be warned if only the 99 min. version is available.

    It's difficult to find this movie. But if you get the chance, see it.

  • It's Sure Good To Know That Your Rope Can Still Rise
    by CorumJI on 28 February 2000

    14 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

    This odd little film is typical of Dreyfus's early work, like "Duddy Kravitz", with an intriguing performance in an odd role. Dreyfus plays The Boy Wonder, a once highly talented silent film director who, by the early 30s, has become a ghost story, directing stag films for a living. While no actual connection is made, I believe that The Boy Wonder was also a name for Fatty Arbuckle, who this could easily "be" -- years after the scandalous incident that ruined his career. This film also gets interesting performances from Jessica Harper ("My Favorite Year"), Veronica Cartwright, and, long before his toon experience, Bob Hoskins. It takes place entirely within a house, during a single morning, and could easily be done as a stage play. It would classify as a fairly common "Slice of Life" film, excepting for the rather strong nudity and sexual content. In fact it was a bit scandalous when it was released, as an "X" movie with a major star like Dreyfus in it.

  • "Off color, Risky, Edgy, Masterpiece. Bound to be a Classic"
    by victorsargeant on 21 June 2005

    14 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

    I am please others have found this little unknown film, to be the treasure it is....I thought I was the only one who likes this film.

    True story I hear. So there I am at the salad bar at the Hollywood Sizzler, and who is next to me, but Richard Dreyfuss, hiding under a baseball cap.

    I had to write him a note, before this rare opportunity slipped away. "Dear Mr. Dreyfuss, your performance in "Inserts" was worth an Oscar. You were brilliant. The whole cast was perfect. I loved the "Cuban Gothic" house. Thank you for taking such a professional risk. Bravo." Signed: An Admirer Paid a waitress $5 to take it over to him. He was with his wife and kids, with his back to the room. I then slipped out after he opened the folded note and read my words. Read what others who love film have written about this underground classic yet to be discovered? The whole cast went on to become big movie stars after making this little masterpiece. Bravo to the writer, cast and crew.

  • Nearly 30 years later, it still sticks in the mind
    by ubiquit2s on 10 June 2004

    15 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

    I first saw this film alone. The following night I took my friends, and that weekend I named my band after it. In Cambridge in 1977, this film became a small cult. The allusions to silent days were intriguing to a burgeoning film buff, with Clark Gable, that kid from Pathe, forever trying to get through the door, junkie reminiscences of Wally Reid, and many more nods and in-jokes that I would undoubtedly smile at now from knowledge, not ignorance.

    The performances were, as I recall, uniformly good, with Dreyfus - whom I had only seen previously in American Graffiti - a revelation. This was also the first big screen role I can remember from Bob Hoskins, and after her small but memorable role in Love and Death, Jessica Harper brought just the right degree of irritating sexiness to Cathy Cake.

    Annoyingly, despite the limitations of scale, and the occasional staginess, I don't think John Byrum has ever made a better film!

  • "Inserts" has been generally misunderstood
    by braitman on 24 December 2004

    11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

    "Inserts" has long been one of my favorite films, a comic-tragic meditation on art, sex, self-delusion, acting, and the magic of Hollywood. Its complex themes are woven through the "shocking" theme of pornography in the silent era. This film has always gotten a raw deal from critics. One way that would be helping in approaching this film is to think of it as a filmed drama. I actually think it would work much better on the stage. In fact, for years I've been trying to locate the script. (Anyone got any ideas on that?) If you've only seen it once, and didn't like it, see it again and think of some of what I've said. You'll find it bold, rich, provocative, and unique.

  • Undiscovered gem of drama & cinema
    by Dominick R on 22 June 2002

    12 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

    This films plot centers around the making of, probably one of the first, porn movies, Sadly when it was released it was pre-arthouse cinemas and pre-video, so it was lumped in with second rate soft porn flic houses around soho London. Consequently it died a lonely death. Around this time Art house cinemas were starting to emerge in University towns which is how I caught it late night in Edinburgh. I was just knocked out by it's sharp drama wrapped in a comedy that launched incredibly incisive comment. Bob Hoskins character as the wannabee hood getting irate when he discovers that Richard Dreyfuss's character, the has-been director, has removed the camera from the tripod, in shear enthusiasm, as he filmed the sexual act. 'How is that going to look!' 'It's not going to look, it's going to be looked at!' retorts Richard Dreyfuss character. The economy of the lines are brilliant! Yes this is a one room drama, which is a tall order for cinema and few have conquered it but this film does brilliantly.

  • A classic film filled with futures stars.
    by doug-158 on 18 August 1999

    13 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

    This film received an X rating, which really hurt it. Richard Dreyfus is wonderful as a man who can't make the transition from silent films to talkies, so is reduced to making 2nd rate porno films. It also contains wonderful performances by Veronica Cartright and Jessica Harper. It is done as a "tongue in cheek" comedy. Today it would not receive an X rating. I have been searching for a VHS copy of the film, but have been unable to find one. Any ideas as to where I could get a copy, please let me know

  • Portrait of An Artist
    by aimless-46 on 16 November 2008

    5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

    John Byrum's 1975 film "Inserts" owes a lot to Hitchcock's 1948 classic "Rope". Although it does not feature Hitchcock's experimental feature length continuous shot, it is nonetheless told in real time. The 115 minute running length is the time needed to tell the story as it is the entire duration of the action on the screen, nicely book-ended by shots of the main character alone in his Hollywood home playing the piano. There are no flashbacks or progression of time sequences, and the camera frame never leaves the immediate area of the great room of the house.

    Technically two cameras as this is one of those "film within a film" things; one on and one off screen. The main character (played by Richard Dreyfuss) is a gone-to-seed once famous movie director nicknamed "The Boy Wonder". It's never made entirely clear whether his is a self-imposed exile; only that he has great disdain for talking pictures. In the midst of the Great Depression he earns money cranking out smut films shot inside his doomed home; a house standing in the path of the so-to-be Hollywood freeway.

    Inside his Moorish style bungalow, all the Boy Wonder needs is a girl, a boy, a camera, and a bottle. This is a casual set with the director prowling around in his bathrobe and the swimming pool serving as his septic tank. And not unexpectedly there are a fair amount of self-reflexive movie references in the script; such as those about the "new Gable kid at Pathe" who wants The Boy Wonder to direct his next film.

    "Inserts" is odd and ambitious, more a play than a film; with dialog and intensity level worthy of "Dinner Rush" (2002). Watch how all scene transitions are signaled by the entrance or exit of a character speaking dramatic entrance and exit lines. The Boy Wonder's leading lady (played by Veronica Cartwright) is the first character to make an appearance. She's an airhead flapper with a heroin habit and a heart of gold. Cartwright is wonderful in this role, with a voice just slightly less irritating than the one Jean Hagen brought to her character in "Singin in the Raid". Voices that for obvious reasons were a better fit in the silent film days.

    Next to appear is the leading man, Rex the Wonder Dog (Stephen Davies), a gravedigger who will do anything to break into the movie business. Bob Hoskins plays Big Mac, a gangster with a plan to open up a chain of hamburger stands. He is financing The Boy Wonder's films and pays a visit to the set along with his new girl Cathy Cake (Jessica Harper). Cathy has come from Chicago to break into the talkies and is playing Big Mac to get a jump-start on her acting career.

    "Inserts" shares its main theme with "The Stunt Man", the blurring of a participants's ability to distinguish between the reality of life and the fiction being acted for the camera. Watch for the occasions where the actors get into a scene too far; even the "barely with a pulse" Boy Wonder gets too involved. A liquor bottle broken over their head quickly brings these characters back to earth, insert heavy symbolism here.

    Bynum also allegorically explores the dynamic of an artist who must create for an audience for whom he has total contempt. The Boy Wonder is equally contemptuous of smut viewers and mainstream commercial movie goers.

    Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.

  • Not perfect, but great (especially for film history buffs)
    by echokilo-2 on 18 February 2005

    5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

    Several reviewers below make valid criticisms, but miss the point(s). 1. The script has some clunkers, yes, but it also has some of the greatest comedy lines in history: "Curious, I don't remember putting a banana in my pocket" And some killers: "You didn't turn the camera on? What were you thinking?" and "To tell you the truth Miss Cake, I didn't have my brain on my mind." 2. It's not really X-rated, or it's not erotic enough. Well, duh. It's not supposed to be. It's a commentary on eroticism (among many other things); not erotic. But it would get an NC-17 for prevalent, casually displayed pubic hair, which is verboten today. 3. Everybody agrees that the actors are brilliant. Enough said. If you can find it (and I did used on Amazon 2/05), get it. 4. It's the OTHER great film about building the freeways in LA (jackhammering every time the door is opened). And Bob Hoskins is in both (Roger Rabbit). I wonder if Zemeckis thought of him for "Eddie" because he'd seen Inserts. 5. "It's sure good to know, your rope can still rise"

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