Contributor: Reb Belstner
Director: Michael Keatering (Pseudonym of Edward Craven Walker – inventor of the lava lamp.)
[Editor’s note: While verifying this, I found Walker’s Wikipedia entry very interesting! He was a member of a naturist camp in the 1950’s and that’s where he met his second wife Elizabeth Gilbert.]
At the opening of this film we are informed it is the third in a series to feature well-known “naturist ambassador” Elizabeth, having been featured in the previous films “Traveling Light” and “Sunswept” (the latter of which has a prominent product placement early in this movie). The sad truth is we actually see less of Elizabeth and more of nubile sisters Jill and Caren (yes, that’s with a “C” and not with a “K”).
At thirty minutes in length, we start off in swinging London with 17-year old Jill, our innocent heroine who happens to be a nudist, dance-skipping through the town and reading newspaper articles about naturism over the shoulders of older men.
In this film, we are early on shown flashing scenes of the electric nightlife of London in the Sixties. I had thought, at the time, I was going to see a narrative juxtaposition of the artificiality of city life vs. the upcoming purity of nature in the alps. Sadly, the diametrically opposed settings were not used again to what I felt would have been great affect. It seemed to me the only point in the urban setting was to get a promotional song called “Stalemate” by a group going by the name “The Condors”.
In a move that would make the late great Doris Wishman proud, none of the actors featured have any speaking lines. Instead voice overs are provided by different offscreen actors to give narrative to what I suppose is to be a slice-of-life documentary.
As we transition from narrative speech by actors representing first Jill, then Herbert, and finally Elizabeth – the nominal star of the show – we meet up in the Austrian alps with Karl, your guide, who teaches you to climb hills, etc, on skis. Not very informative, from a documentary point of view, but interesting none the less.
I guess it gets warm up there! After a short while Herbert sheds to a sleeveless undershirt and wipes sweat from his brow. Soon enough, 15 minutes into the film, everyone loses their clothing and finishes the uphill climb to the hut where they will spend their vacation.
It may seem counterintuitive, naturism in the alps in winter, but the fact of the matter is the sun reflecting off the fields of snow actually generates a good deal of warmth – enough to make you want to go down to your skivvies and beyond.
Upon arriving at the hut, the rest of the film devolves into a typical “nudist” film with sunbathing and even a beach ball! Because of the alpine setting there is the obligatory snowball fight, but also an interesting vignette concerning igloo building.
In the end, I found “Eves on Skies” a fun little jaunt but was unsure as to what it wanted to be: a film promoting the virtues of naturism or, as it seemed to turn into halfway through, a “nudie cutie” in which there were a dearth of men and the women were given the most screen time. I would also have liked to learn more about Elizabeth, the supposed “naturist ambassador” who got very little screen time.
If you have 30 minutes to spare and want to see igloos built in the buff, this movie is for you!
[Editors note: If you’re a registered library patron (which is free), you can view this film by requesting “video224” (also free). Learn more about Digital Lending here.]