When I noticed that The Last American Virgin (1982) was available for free on our Video-on-Demand list, I told Sam that we had to watch it because it was on my Master List. Can you guess his reaction?
“Is the librarian the title character?”
I should have seen that one coming. (Sigh.)
So who IS the last American virgin of this film? That would be Gary (Lawrence Monoson), the main character in this quintessentially ’80s movie. It’s like a walking, talking time capsule. The music, the clothes, the hair, the makeup, the naivety. The plot is almost interchangeable with the cult classic Fast Times at Ridgemont High, which was released the same year as this film — teenagers trying to have sex and then dealing with the consequences. Half of the time, I felt the movie nailed (tee hee) the awkwardness of teenage life, and half the time I was shouting at the screen, “Who ARE these people?”
Anyways… a little over an hour into the movie, the main characters finally visit the school library, where everybody seems to be hanging out right before the Christmas holidays. What’s the attraction? Certainly not the warm, fuzzy feeling you get from this “LIBRARY CLOSED!!” sign hanging on the door (see right). This is our first shot of the school library (!), and Sam and I spent waaaay too much time deciphering this sign. We finally figured out it was a drawing of the library doors locked up, with a bomb and some kind of hammer or axe trying to break through. Click the screenshot to view a larger image.
We hear the school librarian before we see her. Again, the recurring theme is all about service.
Next time, bring that book on time if you don’t want to pay a fine. We charge for every day overdue.
Gary then asks the librarian (played by Blanche Rubin, who gets listed right above “Soda Jerk” in the credits) a question.
You can bet there’s no welcoming chit-chat at this library counter.
Gary: Do you have the October Consumer Reports?
Librarian: What year?
Librarian: I’ll look. [turns to open up a card catalog drawer behind the desk]
Gary then spies one of his best friends, Rick (Steven Antin), who’s busy being a douchebag to the main love interest, Karen (Diane Franklin). No spoilers here; let’s just skip the plot and get straight to the money shot. That lovely wooden card catalog in the background is such a scene-stealer, right? Ohhhhh, yeah.
So, the two friends get into a loud argument (in the shot above, do you see the guy on the left giving them the evil eye?) and gasp! start a fist fight in the library. The librarian is SHOCKED! Let’s check out her reactions:
|First comes surprise…||… then comes anger!|
Never moving from her counter, she slams her fist on the counter and shouts out:
Stop it! I will not have that in here!
Then she pulls out the big guns:
Get out of here! I will call the principal if you don’t get out of here!
Apparently, the librarian is shouting at Gary specifically, and as he slams the door on his way out, we hear an extra-loud “Oh!” from her. (Maybe she was worried the LIBRARY CLOSED!! sign would fall off.) So we get to hear the librarian coming and going.
The library scenes are quite brief, lasting only about 3 minutes total. But due to those priceless reaction shots, she makes it into the Class III category. And as her scenes both begin and end with an emphasis on rules — and rule-breaking — she exemplifies the Spinster Librarian type. And let’s face it, she’s pretty dowdy in that drab outfit. Sam made an astute observation that the top might have been considered fashionable… like 20 years prior! Like this movie, the school librarian herself is a time capsule. Secondarily, she also serves as an Information Provider.
The school scenes were filmed at Birmingham High School (now known as the Birmingham Community Charter High School), which has starred in several films, TV shows, and music videos. You can read more about the filming locations here and here. I’m going to assume the school library scenes were also part of the high school.
Throughout the short scene, we get to see quite a few wide shots of the library interior, even during the fight.
This movie, generic plot and all, is actually a remake of a popular 1978 Israeli film called Eskimo Limon (aka Lemon Popsicle), which itself spawned 8 sequels. And apparently, director Brett Ratner announced last year that he was planning a modern remake. Seems there’s a lot of fondness out there for The Last American Virgin. If you are one of those people who are nostalgic for this movie (admittedly, I am not), you might also enjoy this quiz from Rotten Tomatoes.
Below is the original theatrical trailer, which includes a flash of the library fight!