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Decent Europorn profits from non-overexposed cast
Yet another Euro film based on the memoirs of goodtime gal Josephine Mutzenbacher (aside from several softcore, there were also the XXX SENSATIONAL JANINE and PROFESSIONAL JANINE). All credits are pseudonymous in the US video version. Several of the plot incidents are also found in PROFESSIONAL JANINE. Among the familiar set pieces are the party at the tavern, including the orchestra, and the missing watch scene.
Josephine, a somewhat hard-looking redhead in her late 20s (Jane Iwanoff), shacked up with a businessman in the city, gets a visit from her country cousin Veronica, whom she initiates into the trade (though I'd say, watching Veronica in action, that she's been there before). After Jo's b.f. catches them partying, the girls have to make their own way, eventually seducing an *old* guy they meet at a brothel into financing a whorehouse of their own.
Fairly trivial stuff, but the women are offbeat attractive in a Europorn way. They don't look like plasticized, coked-up Hollywood pornettes of the late 70s/early 80s (or today, for that matter!). Dig the hairy pits and legs on hick Veronica, a little plain jane brunette hardly-the-type. And when did you ever see a guy as old as the one Jo, Veronica, and their redhead friend Sissy triple-team getting lucky in a US film? (Ron Jeremy doesn't count.)
Dubbing is so-so. A voice very familiar to American audiences of Euro imports essays the Josephine character. Tech credits are OK for a film shot all indoors, and the camera is focused. Billian's mise-en-scéne is not up to his near-contemporary "Josefine Mutzenbacher -- wie sie wirklich war," aka "Sensational Janine," but it's still a professional-looking picture, and well above average for the genre.
Anyone who watches a lot of porn soon gets tired of seeing the same old faces (&c) over and over. Most of the cast here are far from overexposed, and the porn scenes are watchable. Fans will note the presence of Barbara Moose and her co-star from "Pleasure So Deep" (a curly head blonde who played the maid in the latter film) at the big orgy finale. Lead Iwanoff also had a role in "Pleasure," so it's sort of old home week on the set.
Harmless kidstuff Western/SF Hybrid
Bickering sibs Taylor Locke and Carly Pope accidentally time-travel from a modern ghost town to the days of the old west. (They seem pretty blasé about the whole business.) Here they tangle with mean local rednecks before a teen cowboy helps them out. *Then* the flying saucer crashes in nearby woods, carrying 2 cute, furry, stuffed-animal-like aliens whom the kids must save from the rednecks. Story obviously derives quite closely from E.T., and it is no spoiler to disclose that the ending is *not* tragic. Tech credits are competent enough but SFX are on the lowbudget side. The alien mom and child are cuddly.
Younger kids should identify with Locke, who is pretty much a one-note smartass throughout and gets some OK lines. Personally, I'd like to give him a good smack, but others say he reminds them a great deal of me at about age 12. (I don't buy this but will give him benefit of the doubt.) Carly Pope's character begins as a sullen, snotty, rebellious teenage semi-JD, makes an expected transition to the sweeter (though kinda smug about being so pretty) GND type she plays (1999+) on WB's POPULAR, albeit with a much more obvious Canadian accent and tighter jeans here. Harmless SF stuff for kids, with no sex, traumatic violence, or bad language. Older Pope fans may want to take a look or two as well. (You know who you are.)
Patricia Romberg is sensational, too; don't miss this one!
Outstanding European XXX tells the early years of Josephine Mutzenbacher (Janine in US version), Viennese courtesan of c1890. Here she starts off as mischievous virgin and never does quite reach pro ranks, with in medias res ending that sets up the sequel. The story falters a bit here and there, but lead work by Patricia Romberg is completely winning. She seems to be having a good time throughout and is perhaps the most adorable hardcore starlet of all time.
Porn sequences are shorter, and more numerous, than in the average US film, and are well staged by director Hans Billian. Several sequels have been made but all are inferior to the original, not least because Rhomberg did not appear in any of them.
Biggest drawback is that many of the cast are unusually *old* to be working in porno and are not particularly attractive. Janine's mother and stepfather, who both have several XXX scenes, appear to be in their 50s. The priest who hears Janine's confession (there is a touch of anti-clericalism here) looks even older, though it's not clear how much of his own stuntwork he actually does, due to editing. Most of the featured males have the mien of drug-dealing pimps.
Film would have been much more enjoyable had the knockout Romberg been teamed with a cast more on her own physical level, but she does keep that sweet smile shining throughout. Even dubbed, as here, she's a total charmer and is enough reason all by herself to watch this film.
Four Women in Trouble (1970)
Primitive XXX barely qualifies as hardcore
Very early LA porn production, primitively made, features an unknown cast aside from the youthful, marcelled John C Holmes as an abortion doctor who doesn't take Blue Cross. IMDb dates this to 1973; however, it's undoubtedly a 1970 effort and must have seemed fairly crude even when it was new. The narration track on my copy is almost inaudible, so I can only guess at the plot development, such as there is. Four women have sex, find themselves pregnant, and seek the services of Dr Holmes (that's scary!). One of the setup scenarios seems to involve incest, with a quite mature chick cuddling stuffed animals and pretending to be a juvie while a guy playing her ?brother gropes her. Another is visibly coercive but the dialog is inaudible in my copy. Alex Comfort didn't use anything from this film.
It's mostly in focus but not very well shot or recorded, and it's far from a hardcore romp. There is very little explicit footage except for two later sequences, where Holmes examines a waifish blonde and then attends to his nurse and a Hispanic-looking woman, and even these are shot with a minimum of hardcore detail. The female cast are all pretty ordinary-looking hippie girls of c1970; the guys illustrate why porn fans love to refer to the male talent as "parolees." Nobody looks happy to be here, and it's somehow comforting that the actresses are shown having only limited sexual contact with these guys!
Film is strictly of historical interest, as a look at what they were doing in LA when they first started "showing it." On the IMDb scale, I'll give this an easy 1.
The Big Con (1975)
THE STING goes XXX
Also known as THE BIG CON, this is a porn version of THE STING, shot on a small budget but with a fair 1930s ambience and some OK incidental music of the jazz-hokum variety. Grifters Eric Edwards, Alan Marlo, and Sarah Nicholson (aka Jennifer Jordan) unite to separate rich yokel Hardy Harrison from his money by selling him a fake brothel. Nicholson noted this as her second XXX film role in a published interview of the time.
Brothel setting allows for some filler footage (voyeured by bug-eyed Harrison) of alleged hookers and johns in action, but there is very little hardcore in the production overall. Sonny Landham (who later had Hollywood action film credits) and stalwart Jamie Gillis road-test some of the staff, and disco diva Andrea True ("More More More") provides one of the most modest appearances of her lengthy porn career. Film is not a standard grinder in any sense of the word and would have worked as well -- perhaps better -- in softcore format, though it might not have found a release at all without the porn circuit for support. It's moderately amusing though shot on a shoestring, and seekers of cheap thrills will definitely be disappointed. Most of the actresses in hardcore scenes are a bit on the unglamorous side.
The Swing Thing (1972)
Lowgrade early 70s XXX
Very obscure early L.A. hardcore was apparently shot in a small house in the Valley. The only recognizable (to me) male is John C Holmes, difficult to miss. Principal femmes (redhead Brandy Saunders, looking about 15 with no makeup and a zillion freckles, and 2 blondes I don't ID) have that only-in-the-early-70s, high school hippie look and may even have made this film as a hoot during Senior Skip Day at Ridgemont. Explicit but far from erotic, and the only print I have seen is a bit worn. I give this a 2, instead of a 1, on the IMDB scale because the girls often look as if they are goofing on the experience of making a dirty movie. The sound is not very good but you can hear, as background music for sex scenes, what sounds like a cover of "What's Going On?" and what sounds like the original Elton John cut of "Honky Cat."
Teenage Twins (1976)
What's that rumble coming from the Providence, R.I., cemetery?
Some video copies of this film were retitled TWIN TARTS in the late 1980s, when many films with "Teenage" or "Young" were re-christened. Film is a fairly cheap-looking, about 60m, Carter Stevens effort with a script that ventures a bit for a porn grinder. Chief gimmick was that the femme leads were allegedly twin sisters taking the plunge into adult movies as a team.
Sisters Prudence and Hope, living with their mother and stepfather, share an unwelcome connection. Good girl Pru receives telepathic signals whenever trampy Hope gets sexual, and this makes Pru a little uncomfortable. Meanwhile, their stepfather and his friends are searching for a copy of the NECRONOMICON (script is credited to Al Hazred!) in order to pursue black magic goals. One sister turns out to be the precise vessel needed for the incantation of eternal life, and this sets up what may be termed a fairly polite gang-bang.
Incestuous lesbianism (Brooke and Taylor Young resemble one another, though their accents differ, and may be fraternal twins, as promoted at the time of film's release) and some rather casual sodomy (but hardly of the sort to appeal to Max Hardcore fans) highlight the proceedings here. The end is a bit abrupt and also flat, with one actor apparently missing a cue and no retake to get it right, but the film is a welcome departure from the average hardcore grinder of the day.
This is worth a peek from the *truly* dedicated Lovecraft completist as well as the fan of classic porn. It will look a bit primitive to followers of current hardcore cinema.
The Passions of Carol (1975)
I am the Ghost of Christmas Orgies Past ...
I saw this on bigscreen back in 1975 with no idea what it was about; it was just that week's feature at a porno house I occasionally visited, so I bought a ticket and went in. What it *is* is a story about Carol Scrooge, heartless editor of a PLAYGIRL-like male nudie mag, who is abusive to her employee Bob Cratchit and who receives a visit on Xmas Eve from the ghost of... You get the picture.
"Ring Christmas Bells" music will put a seasonal twinkle in your heart, but why do all of Ms Scrooge's holiday memories seem to involve hardcore sex? Does she ever get the Xmas spirit?
Cheaply made, and much in need of a script polish and a few extra days' production time, this is still an imaginative porn effort. Sonny Landham guests as prospective male model auditioned by Scrooge and her secretary; cult actress Susan Sloane appears in a kinky flashback of Xmas Past; Bob Cratchit (Jamie Gillis) and wife Tiny Kim (Pope) celebrate in their own sweet way. And you've never seen the reunion of Scrooge with Marley's ghost visualized quite as it is here.
One-of-a-kind pic is a must-see for anyone interested in the porn genre and should not be overlooked by dedicated Dickens scholars, either. My copy of this tape is on the Video-X-Pix label, which folded years ago. I don't know of a currently available version but it is certainly worth looking for and rates a 5 for its chutzpah. The concept is a bit better than the porn content. Play this and the Alistair Sim version back to back.
Devil's Ecstasy (1976)
Horror meets hardcore; draw is declared
Curious hybrid of horror and hardcore doesn't really work on either level but is still an honorable experiment. Beautiful redhead coed Cyndee Summers (even in hooker undies and too much makeup) visits her ancestral family farm and strange things happen. How come everybody at the party looks *dead*? Who is the naked wild girl who looks just like Cyn (and is also a dead ringer for the Bonnie Raitt of the early 70s; wow)? What is the story with Cyndee's aunt (a hardly-the-type for porn films if you ever saw one)? Maybe Cyn's b.f. and favorite prof from school should take a spin out to the farm and see if everything is OK.
The horror elements are extremely low budget. The sex scenes are very few and tend to the tame side, with considerable insert footage, though Summers appears to be doing her own stunt work in the closeups. There is some real suspense in waiting to find out if the (highly) unlikely aunt is going to put out or not. The mix of pseudo-Lovecraft Gothic with XXX is not smooth, and the film's heat and chill levels both stay low. This will not satisfy either the horror fan or the quester in search of le cinema bleu, though it might be relatively stimulating to a Trappist monk whose satellite dish can't get Cinemax or even MTV.
Basically this is an unsuccessful experiment from the days when no one really knew where sexually explicit cinema was going and stabs were made in many directions to see where the blood flowed thickest.
Lacklust porn with fine production values
Another Teutonic adaptation of the memoirs of turn-of-the-century goodtime gal Josephine Mutzenbacher (known as JANINE in the US versions), this is also known as PROFESSIONAL JANINE and is the official sequel to SENSATIONAL JANINE, one of the best XXX films ever made.
Tall cool brunette Leila Vigso stars. She has an ever wry-smile as she engages in numerous sex acts, but neither she nor the picture ever come to a boil. The erotic scenes are mostly very short, allowing many more of them than usual, but they are also poorly filmed, cheating the viewer of involvement. The director here worked as DP on the prequel, SENSATIONAL, but seems to have learned virtually nothing about the technique of staging erotic sex scenes there.
The cast is attractive, lacking the extremely old people who are found in the first JANINE picture. Karine Gambier appears in 2 sequences. Vigso seems a little smug in the role and, though she looks good, she also looks like a pretty cold fish sexually. Certainly the story calls for a business-like approach, but she gives me the impression she'd be happier in some other business, most of the time.
Janine begins hooking in the park, wins and then loses a Viennese businessman who won't tolerate her cheating, and is left to her wits again. She spends some time at a coffeehouse which fronts a brothel, before being rescued by a Hungarian Hussar who takes her to the country. There is a wacky sex-on-horseback competition with the Hussar and his army buddies (different, but not really very sexy, due to the obvious problems of filming it), and a party at a rural inn turns into an orgy. Then Janine is back in Vienna again, opening her own brothel with another orgy. The ending just segues toward a sequel.
Despite a lot of open-air filming and a large, attractive cast, this version of the story is inferior, as porno, to a competing rendition, JOSEPHINE, made about the same time. Between story bits we visit the park where a gravel-voiced hurdygurdy man croaks out verses of a vulgar ballad about Janine. He's supposed to be funny and may have been more so in the German language version. Overall, film is a disappointment, especially to anyone who has seen SENSATIONAL JANINE.
Behind the Green Door (1972)
Pioneer porno chic, now somewhat antique
One of the first porno chic crossovers, this 1972 film helped bring XXX movies to a mainstream audience. Anonymous young woman (Marilyn Chambers) is "abducted" to kinky sex theater where she performs on stage with a variety of other people for the delectation of an audience of voyeurs, who eventually perform among themselves. There are some fair SFX, though hardly on an ILM scale, and the story content is inherently slanted against any real involvement other than arousal by the viewer.
Despite its B.O. and reputation, this is a fairly primitive picture. Every print I have seen is both overly dark and dupelike grainy. Chambers is stunning here, and though it is now nothing odd, at the time it was a real shock to see anyone so wholesomely attractive in the centerpiece role of a porn film. (The Ivory Snow publicity did not hurt ticket sales a bit.) Chambers later demonstrated (in the superior RESURRECTION OF EVE and in David Cronenberg's R-rated horror film RABID) acting talent not particularly visible in DOOR, but even now, 30 years later, she remains the BGD girl to an entire generation.
Film remains of much historical interest, though it has long since ceased to be a beacon for the seeker of cheap thrills. Look for lovely San Francisco porn actress Candy Johnson in the supporting ranks and pro footballer Ben Davidson in a non-sex role.
Tarzana, sesso selvaggio (1969)
Topless Jungle Girl: The Movie
African expedition finds wild white girl living with animals on a backlot jungle set. Although not reflected in the IMDB credits, the titular (and then some) role is played by Femi Benussi, at her most gorgeous. There are bad guys and good guys on the expedition, but the principal point of the film is summed up in the observation that Femi spends about 99% of her screen time wearing nothing but a little junglekini thong bottom. (She looks terrific, traveling the jungle on elephantback.) At one point she finds some of the expedition's castoff junk, including discarded clothing, and slips into a jacket she's found in the debris. Her pet chimp eyes her up and down, then shakes his head "no" and she slips right back out of the jacket. (This seems to be conclusive proof that the Darwinian theory is, after all, correct.)
One of numerous topless jungle girl movies emanating from Europe in the late 1960s and 1970s, this is par for the genre. This was not released in the US till about 1976, and then with partly anglicized credits which omitted Femi altogether. The only US video print I have seen, on the Sinister Cinema label, is a bit scratchy but watchable. Femi is worth a wow! in this. (So now where can I find a copy of AMAZONS FOR TWO ADVENTURERS, with peachy Marie Ekorre in a 1970s German version of this perennial favorite theme among voyeurs?)
Topless Jungle Girls, Cute German Division
German expedition to Africa's darkest jungle region stumbles upon topless blonde girl whom natives revere as a goddess. Is she possibly the long-lost granddaughter of wealthy Hamburg industrialist? (Would there be a movie if she wasn't?) Well, then, let's take her back to the BRD and reunite her with her family. But will she ever be able to adjust to a world of cars, tap water, and wearing a bra? Therein lies the conflict.
This was strictly adults-only US release of the 1950s and played for years as a "special". The NYT critic of the day declared it virtual pornography, though the exploitation material consists of some seminude Africans in NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC-type footage and a few peeks at the bare breasts of heroine Marion Michael, a fresh-faced German teenager. Her long fake hair, and the lion cub she frequently carries around, protect her modesty considerably. (Compare Tanya Roberts in SHEENA, which showed more and drew a PG from the MPAA.)
If, and I'm not naming names, you were too young to see this in the 50s or even the early 60s, when it played your nabe, and you always wondered what kind of positively adults-only thrills you might be missing, LIANE is available in a not-bad (but not-great) print from Sinister Cinema and you can satisfy your curiosity.
The storyline is pretty thin and is laid out point for point in the IMDB synopsis above. Marion is cute as a button and looks a lot more like a 1950s SEVENTEEN covergirl than a denizen of the tropischer Urwald. Sinister describes this as its best-selling Jungle Thrills entry, so apparently I'm not the only one who was waiting for this to hit video. Like so many other long-deferred delights, the anticipation was rather more rewarding than the fulfillment.
Cave Women (1979)
interesting project doesn't quite work
Offbeat porn from San Francisco's Golden Age credits leading lady Annette Haven as writer/director. Premise is that Haven, an anthropologist, is able to study cave people live. Since this is a porn film, it is not surprising that mostly the cave guys and gals engage in sex. Between segments Haven is pawed and explored by curious grunting cave guys, and the groping gets so out of hand by the finale that an orgy results.
Film probably looked much better in theatrical release than on video, since a great deal of it is fairly long shot. Binoculars might help on anything less than a 52" screen. The camera setups are rather static. The women are uniformly very beautiful (Haven, Tina Orchid, Chris Cassidy, Amber Hunt, Desiree West, Abigail Clayton); the men are serviceable. None of the sex scenes is particularly hot, though Clayton is photographed beautifully (what did you expect?). Pretty brown Desiree West, however, is shot from angles which make her look most uncharacteristically squatty. "Confucius say ... " titles, none funny and most of which had whiskers when I was in grade school, are interspersed during parts of the film to no effect; the orgy finale is barely started when THE END flashes on screen, but hang around, it goes on for another 5 minutes all the same.
Biggest surprise of the film is hearing Haven say "Cro-manyon," correctly but totally unexpected from an American. (Maybe she really is an anthropologist, and her porn career was just research for a dissertation?) Film is a little different, and it's one you wish were better than it actually is, but it's really just loops shot with a static camera, a bit too far away. 3 seems about right for this.
first talking vagina film; fortunately, not the last
Schoolgirl Brittany Laine (aka softcore starlet Linda York) accidentally invokes the devil while reading the Necronomicon in bed, and her female parts begin to talk -- incessantly. Exorcism is required, but somehow I don't think Max von Sydow is up to this job.
Overall, film suffers from being altogether too tame. It was apparently shot during one of the periodic crackdowns on XXX in L.A., and though there is hardcore footage, it is all insert and it looks to me as if one couple probably did all the porn closeups for scenes featuring several different cast members. Even such porn stalwarts as Starlyn Simon and Rene Bond do not visibly provide their own stuntwork. This seriously lowers the erotic appeal of the film, which was not that high to begin with. Film is little more than a nudie cutie with some explicit footage spliced in. A cinnamon candy drop has more heat. This topic was handled considerably better in the 1976 French film PUSSY TALK (my local newspaper advertised it, demurely, as CAT TALK), and even the dopey 1977 softcore CHATTERBOX is more interesting than this. Strictly for those who would like to see Rene Bond tied to a table, peeled out of a tight nurse uniform, and softcore groped for a few minutes (you know who you are).
The Trouble with Young Stuff (1977)
hotsy title doesn't really match film
NY porn production, credited onscreen to the direction of Odus Hamlin, strongly resembles the work of 1960s softcore auteur Joseph W Sarno and utilizes one of his favorite plots. A closed sexual circle is infiltrated by a free spirit who stirs things up. In this case, 28-ish "teenager" Matilda arrives to spend time with her cousin (Crystal Sync). The cousin shares a house with b.f. and another couple. All are blue-collar working people, though there is just rather vague reference to the workday world. The two cousins have a sexual past, which Sync doesn't like to think about, but the barrier soon comes crashing down.
Story is interesting, though at close to 2 hours, much too long for the genre. The occasional bouts of explicit sex are mostly a little gratuitous and get in the way of the story (or maybe the story is too complex and gets in the way of the explicit sex). Some of the dialogue is tin-ear awful. The cast are all very natural-looking, like real people, and most obviously have professional acting experience.
Lead Crystal Sync is one of the most hardly-the-types you'll ever see in a porn film, a 5'9" brunette distinctly on the skinny side, non-voluptuous, non-glamorous, with cultivated vocal patterns, but she racked up numerous credits in the genre between about 1975 and 1981 and eventually scored enough cash to fix the seriously bucked teeth she had at the time of this picture. (For probably her best work, see 1981's THE TIFFANY MINX, a meaningless title which masks a really interesting and wellmade porno-suspense film.)Tech credits are somewhat primitive, and the musical score (discordant guitar riffs) is strictly a matter of taste.
Some prints of STUFF were retitled GIRL TROUBLE in the late 1980s, when any titles that smacked of underage sex were hastily doctored during the Traci Lords scandal; YOUNG STUFF has nothing to do with the story in any event. This is NOT a film for seekers of cheap porno thrills. It is quite slow, quite long, with "dry" spells that seem to last forever, and walks a very uneasy tightrope between porn grinder and slice of life art film -- eventually not quite working in either direction.
This is a commendable attempt to do something "different" within the porn genre, but it really doesn't work. The sex is realistic and not that photogenic; the discursive story would probably have been more interesting with the sex held to a softcore level and dished out in less seemingly-obligatory manner. I give this a 3.
fun, but bring your sense of humor
Sometimes described as "British," this is an NY-made film adapting the Victorian porn novel A MAN WITH A MAID. Seducer Jack, whose basement is rigged with incredible set of snares and boobytraps and bondage devices, lures young women into the same and forces them into sex action they are (natch) really anxious to experience. Various restraints are used, and the atmosphere is N/C, but dialogue is so goofy, performances broad enough, and the Gilbert & Sullivan soundtrack so inapropos that it is quite amusing, except to those persons who take sex altogether too seriously.
Jack's first victim is his fiancee Alice, who is a nice girl and doesn't do that sort of thing before she's married. She's played by lovely Susan Sloane, a very modestly-built brunette who is somewhat a cult figure among 32nd degree porn fans. Jack's awed reference to "The Himalayas!" upon denuding her is a hoot. And of course, once she's had some, she wants more (feminists may exit by the side door). Next, Jack tackles Molly, Alice's maid, and Alice helps out. With both women initiated, Jack's attention turns to the snooty social-climber Lady Bunt (Sarah Nicholson, aka Jennifer Jordan), and she and her lanky, hairy-pits teen daughter Cicely soon find themselves in Jack's dungeon. However, Jack has gone too far, as Alice advises us in a prim voiceover, and it is time to teach him a lesson. Suffice it to say that one is taught.
Tech credits are good, and the film has a professional look although shot about 95% in one basement set. All the actors simulate British accents, at least as acceptably as in the average college dramatic production. Most of the femmes remind me of college girl actresses of that period (among whom I had some acquaintance). Note that this 85 min film has no more than about 7 min, if that much, of actual explicit sex in its running time. Most of it is on the level of a very slick and clever nudie cutie, though with better acting. Sloane and Barrett each racked up a handful of credits in NY porn films of c1974/5; Nicholson worked from c1974-c1981, with dozens of appearances. I never saw Heather Austin (also credited as Brown), who plays Cicely in anything else. Leading man Beerbohm Tree has obvious professional credentials.
Potentially distasteful subject matter is turned into neat comedy by inspired direction and performances. It will be altogether too slow and nonexplicit for many porn fans, but I give it a 7 and recommend it highly to non-raincoaters.
The Joy of Fooling Around (1978)
no joy, not enough fooling around
Oddball production, shot in the Greek islands, looks a lot like an Ilia Milanakos nudie of c1977. Mysterious man washes ashore. Is he a murderer sought by the police? He tangles with cute little blonde beach girl and with townie who does (as HUSTLER noted at the original release) look astonishingly like Alfred E Newman. He has sex with both of them. They have sex with other people, and each other. The police chase him. What really constitutes a happy ending in a film like this?
As a straight nudie this might have been a tolerable offering. As an honest-to-God hardcore it might have had its moments, too. The finished product, however, is a bit of a dog (sorry, Jack). There is a lot of softcore-style groping and grinding, and a fair amount of insert XXX, spliced into the softcore scenes but clearly performed by different people at a different time and often rather crudely matched. This technique does not work one bit better here than it did in any other film where they tried to turn a softcore into a hardcore in the editing room.
My presumption is that the US distrib bought a soft Euro nudie and tried to heat it up for the Pussycat Theater circuit. Locations are picturesque, and production values are about average for a lowbudget Greek islands skin flick. "Monique du Prez," probably a fake name for the actress playing the beach girl, is lovely and expressive, but I've never seen her anywhere else.
A porn-less version of this, entitled JOY OF MYKONOS, used to play on US pay-cable in the late 1980s. I never saw that cut, but would be willing to bet it was an improvement over the version released as "sort of" XXX. I give JOY a 1 in this edition.
Devil's Playground (1976)
bottom of the barrel
Although dated by IMDB to 1974, this looks more like c1976 to me, based on the cast. Lucifer (Kelly Guthrie) and his femme sidekick Angel (Bonnie Holiday) seduce 3 alleged teenage girls from San Francisco and recruit them as Hell's newest Belles. The girls are Desiree West, Angela Haze, and the darker brunette from MIDNIGHT HUSTLE. All appear to be over 21 but are decked out in pedophile drag: Girl Scout uni, Catholic schoolgirl duds, &c. In between porno segments, Lucifer and Angel grope the girls in a you've-gotta-be-kidding poverty row version of hell. Paul Thomas puts in an early XXX stint as "Uncle Fred," whom the girls look a little happier to be fooling around with than Lucifer.
Most of the sex is grubby, some is a little kinky, and none of it is remotely sexy. Guthrie displays some downright weird predilections here, and it is not that surprising to learn he also starred, for director Rik Tazi'ner, in an all-male version of this story (FINGER LICKEN GOOD), apparently shot on the same sets and from exactly the same script. I haven't seen GOOD, but there is a detailed review in Something Weird Video's "Blue Book" catalog. Even on a scale of 1-10, and even on bargain basement porn level, the hetero version of this can't go higher than a 1.
Porr i skandalskolan (1974)
tame but watchable Scandinavian feature
Swedish schoolgirl (pretty mature-looking to me) Theresa Svensson is caught exploring her sexuality and her prim older sister ships her off to boarding school. However it's obviously the Swedish campus of Harrad University and faculty-student relations are quite friendly. Helpful American exchange coed Brigitte Maier gives Eva some private lessons, and Eva adapts them to hetero. Meanwhile, a stuffy lawyer arrives to investigate the school and the frisky coeds decide to convert him from puritanism.
Directed by renowned cinematographer Mac Ahlberg, this is a cute comedy with a number of pretty, naked girls and a few segments of XXX. American Brigitte Maier does lioness' share of the outright hardcore (not that there is a lot of it in any case). Annica Salomonsson, wow-level brunette beauty, bares her body but does nothing explicit, and lead Svensson offers only some nudity and receives a bit of pretty girl-girl from Maier. Picture could have been shot soft X with no loss whatever. Anyone looking for heat is advised to look elsewhere, fast! Given that they've already seen AMERICAN PIE, there are only one or two places where you'd even bother sending your own over-12s out of the room while this is playing. Amiable enough for what it is.
Physical Attraction (1984)
hardcore project should probably have gone straight
Written by "Will Kelly," presumably a pseudonym for sometime porn scripter Valerie Kelly, this is a couples-oriented porn feature which would have been better done as a softcore, with higher production values. Prostitute Shanna McCullough (very nice performance) doesn't like her work, which is presented in a totally non-erotic manner: it's just a job. Her real passion is for running. She meets track coach David Cannon, who eventually recruits her for his team and the Olympic trials.
There is considerably more story than usual for a porn film and many of the sex scenes actually get in the way, as they involve peripheral characters (McCullough's co-worker Pam Jennings, their pimp Craig Roberts, his alternate squeeze Valerie LaVeaux, Cannon's friend Paul Thomas, and a couple of jealous femme athletes on Cannon's team). Tech credits are very good but the budget is minimal. Instead of showing us McCullough actually competing at the Olympic trials, e.g., we hear an off-camera tv broadcast that plays while Roberts and LaVeaux romp on his living room sofa.
With an expansion of the characters and deletion of the hardcore, this would have made an acceptable, though perhaps slightly far-fetched, straight film in 1984. Performances are better than average for XXX (though Cannon is a bit of a stiff, as always) but film is a shaky mix of genres, neither fish nor fowl as it stands, and the sex scenes tend to be explicit but far from erotic. McCullough's acting work is sensitive, and it is a bit depressing to consider that she is still, at about age 40 (by my estimate), working in this genre. Why she never made the transition to roles in "real" movies is a mystery to me.
Mind Twister (1993)
SINS OF DESIRE sins again
Fred Olen Ray production is a remake, not quite scene for scene, of his own SINS OF DESIRE, filmed just a couple of years earlier and starring Tanya Roberts. In the new version, buxom Suzanne Slater investigates the mysterious murder of her sister, which the police are unable to solve. Ultimately, sex is a major tool in her detective work. Denouement is the same as in the original.
Telly Savalas plays his final role here as the cop on the case; it's no Kojak. Maria Ford, uncharacteristically, is not called upon to strip but I'm always happy to see her in any capacity. On the detection trail Slater meets a quack shrink, with whom her sister had connection, as well as his nympho wife. Dinner with the couple leads to the film's set piece. "Have you ever made love with another woman?" the doctor wonders. "Just at slumber parties, when I was younger," Slater confesses, "but lately I've been thinking about it." (I was thinking about it too, by that point. Great godamighty!) Slater thereon gets her breasts smeared with day-glo paint and she and the doctor's wife slither around on a bed in hooker underwear lapping one another's nipples for quite a while. Wow. Tanya Roberts' similar scene with Delia Shephard in the original was not nearly as salacious. (Original included a bit more full frontal but not so much lewd simulation.)
If you saw the original, it's basically the bare bodies that are different in the remake, mostly those of Slater and Erika Nann, as Mrs Shrink. (These are breasts better than the kind God makes.) There is a brief appearance by a Rottweiler, for admirers of this noble schwäbisch breed (Hi, Jack!). Tech credits are OK, performances tolerable for the genre, and there are no surprises pleasant or unpleasant.
Fred Olen Ray's directorial career has run a wide gamut, from crude horror (SCALPS) to better horror (THE TOMB), shoot-em-ups both silly and not so bad (BULLETPROOF, CYCLONE), post-apocalyptic action (WARLORDS), erotic thrillers (INNER SANCTUM, SINS OF DESIRE), wacky horror comedy (HOLLYWOOD CHAINSAW HOOKERS, BEVERLY HILLS VAMP), R-rated silicone shows (ATTACK OF THE 50-FOOT CENTERFOLD), G-rated kid stuff (LITTLE MISS MAGIC), and even a fairly decent B-western (THE SHOOTER). This isn't counting some aliases I did not realize were his until I read his IMDB listing and learned I had seen even more Ray films than I thought I had.
Ray's overall achievement is fairly high, considering the budgets with which he usually works. Some of his films are bottom-of-the-barrel stuff that even a marginal video distrib might have second thoughts about releasing, and some are downright wonders of Poverty Row. His output has been quite eclectic, though I'm not aware of any ventures into hardcore porn, and he is probably the closest living equivalent to a B-pic legend such as Edward L Cahn, who tackled almost every genre of the 30s, 40s, and 50s and who occasionally hit an honest double, if never quite a four-bagger. Thumbs up, Fred! What do you have coming out this week?
Bad Girls Dormitory (1986)
NY exploiter has moments in spite of best intentions
Various young women find themselves at an NYC juvenile facility which proves that teen WIP don't have to take a backseat to their adult compatriots. Various cliques vie for superiority, the warden has an odd Eurotrash accent, and inmate Jennifer Delora conducts regular private catfights with one of the guards. Other inmates sex it up with male guards, but the only lesbian content is by implication (and what about those fights, Jen?)
Film has a large cast, which seemingly includes every NY actress of its day with teenish looks and willingness to strip for the camera. Tech credits are crude and the film looks lowbudget. What saves it for me is an early sequence where the prison's brand new doctor, a drug addict with the demeanor of a male porn actor, happens upon the side door to the shower room. Naturally, a gang bath is taking place at the time. We study the soapy inmates from his P.O.V. for what seems like about 5 minutes, until finally the camera settles on sad-faced Carey Zuris, who stares at the lens and asks, "Seen enough?"
Plotwise, of course, she's talking to the doctor guy, but she might as well be speaking to the voyeur audience itself. To a more sensitive crowd than that which relishes WIP films, this moment might even be somewhat of an epiphany, but I suspect the automatic response from genre fans was, "No, baby, why don't you turn around now so we can check out the other side?" (Okay, that's what *I* said, watching this film on tape in my living room. But I'll bet $2 I'm not the only one who did.)
Cast was and remains virtually unknown. Frances Rains, Jennifer Delora, and Natalie O'Connell had other mid-80s credits in NY-produced exploiter films. The only other place I've seen Zuris was as a nude extra in Chuck Vincent's NEW YORK'S FINEST. All the girls look fairly natural as JDs and most give fairly convincing performances, with Zuris perhaps the standout (she does suffer a lioness' share of the indignities usually visited upon actresses in a production such as this but retains considerable poise throughout and probably deserved bigger roles and better breaks than she ever got during her acting career). Delora is given an homage to the *other* scene you remember from WHITE HEAT. It doesn't really work. One redhead prisoner looks genuinely underage, though she's probably just an underdeveloped 20 yr old with no makeup; her molestation by a slimy guard who catches her smoking a J in the basement mostly consists of removing her shirt at command and displaying the AAAs. The actress playing the warden gives a somewhat eccentric performance but does not sound as if English is her native language, which might explain it. Admirers of big hooters will definitely admire redheaded Natalie O'Connell (most of the other cast members are A-cuppers, but what's wrong with that, I'd like to know? they're all real).
Picture is determinedly sleazy, but strictly on the basis of the "Seen enough?" exchange I'll give it a 4. If the very thought of women behind bars, unable to control their passionate impulses, forced to pay their debt to society, but what about their obligations to themselves? barbed wire could not hold them back, savage dogs could not control them, if you only see one picture this year, you MUST see ... does not set your blood racing, rent THE MATRIX or NOTTING HILL or something. This one is for WIP fans only.
Blade Violent - I violenti (1983)
CAGED WOMEN strike again
This film has been identified in some secondary sources as an alternate title for the one released in US as CAGED WOMEN but they are in fact different, though not *too* different. For the greater part, WIP fans do prefer "the mixture, as before," without innovations, though it helps if there is a plot more coherent than the average Jess Franco production.
In this outing, Laura Gemser is not Emanuelle, doing undercover journalism at a prison, but rather a hard con doing time. Lorraine de Selle is still on staff and still has that hooker underwear she modeled in CAGED WOMEN, and best of all, the haystack hair blonde and skinny teenish brunette are both doing 20-life here too. The blonde looks as if she's eaten a little lasagna since the previous picture. Her opening scene finds her wearing nothing but *tight* kini panties, over which her tummy roll hangs enticingly. Wow! (scene is 'way too short.)
Here, dangerous male cons are temporarily housed in the women's lockup, but they get loose and a riot ensues -- at least when they're not having sex with horny femme cons who haven't seen a man since the Aldo Moro administration. No shower scene in my video copy, which is always a drawback, though it does feature a weird theatrical presentation by the inmates, for the inmates. (And you thought WEEDS was an original idea!) OK of its type.
Emanuelle in a cage
WIP title conceals an entry in the "Black Emanuelle" series. Journalist Em (Laura Gemser, of course) goes undercover at a women's prison to get copy for an exposé. Naturally the place is a hellhole. Gemser bares her skinny body a few times, has sex scene with Gabriele Tinti (what a surprise), dumps a bucket of feces on a guard and spends time in the hole for it, where she is rather unconvincingly chewed on by hungry rats.
Standout inmates here are a haystack hair blonde of about 30, a little overweight but it sure looks good on her, who does a lesbian exhibition to entertain a femme guard, and a tall skinny teenish brunette who is stripped and manhandled by a couple of male guards while Lorraine de Selle, in hooker undies, voyeurs from her boudoir and gets groped by her own b.f. I don't ID either of these inmates but would not mind seeing more of their work. Dubbing is so-so and tech credits about average for an Italian Poverty Row production. This seems to have an authentic US R-rating so is probably a somewhat abridged version of the original. I saw this on big screen in the early 80s and later added a copy to my own video library but it's still just a modest entry in the WIP sweepstakes.