Written by: Jimmy the Gent on May 23rd, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1981
Directors: John Amero, Lem Amero
Writers: Larue Watts, John Amero, Lem Amero
Cast: Suzy Mandel, Dory Devo, Eric Edwards, Wade Nichols, Jamie Gillis, Molly Malone, George Payne, Robert Kerman, Herschel Savage
DVD released: April 27th, 2010
Approximate running time: 83 minutes (Hardcore Version), 82 minutes (Softcore Version)
Aspect Ratio: 4:3 Full Frame
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Video X Pix
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.99
Synopsis: The Kane sisters, Sugar and Candy, are the toast of the Big Apple and the stars of Broadway. How did it happen? Well, it all started in the little town of Coyote Fang, Wyoming . . .
The main distinction between this film and most other hardcore product is that the Amero brothers were forced by necessity to turn to hardcore porn when the venues for softcore vanished. They started with roughies Body Of A Female (1965), The Lusting Hours (1967), and Diary Of A Swinger (1967). They had a significant association with the Findlays, with both Michael and Roberta appearing in The Lusting Hours, while John Ameros appeared in both A Thousand Pleasures and The Curse Of Her Flesh.
Their next venture was the softcore Bacchanale starring Uta Erickson – but they were forced to add hardcore scenes to make it a viable commodity. Next came their first ‘real’ hardcore film, Every Inch A Lady. These successes allowed the brothers to make an underground tribute to Hollywood musicals: White Tie And Tails. The production took several years to complete, and was finally released as Blonde Ambition.
Certainly one complication was star Suzy Mandel whose iron clad contract specified no sexual acts including simulated oral. Since the film was produced as three different versions: hardcore, softcore, and R, this entailed elaborate inserts created long after the primary shooting was complete. Suzy was a staple of UK sex comedies, but probably best known as a Benny Hill girl (prior to the Hill’s Angels). Here she plays a ditzy blonde; Sugar Kane was Marilyn Monroe’s character in Some Like It Hot. She speaks in a squeaky voice throughout, sort of a cross between Jayne Mansfield and Betty Boop.
The real star performance, however, is by Dory Devon who was a trained actress and dancer. Her clunky tap dancing in the style of Ruby Keeler (42nd Street) is just that – a form that embraces the tap sound rather than the more graceful styles usually associated with film musicals. In other words, vaudeville.
Dory Devon had no requirement for a sex double, and though she doesn’t set the screen afire with her adult performance, neither does anyone else, really. The Gone With The Wind orgy remake features syncopated sex scenes that required all the money shots to be synchronized like a Busby Berkely musical (42nd Street, etc.). Blonde Ambition is a movie with hardcore scenes rather than a hardcore film.
Back to the Findlay connection, Roberta is the director of cinematography, and though she was a master of the B&W noirish style there was contention between her dark method and the glossy MGM musicals look which the brothers desired. Other cast include Eric Edwards (at the peak of his acting ability), Richard Bolla is very funny as his chauffeur, and Wade Nichols is here just before he joined daily soap The Edge Of Night.
Really the only hint that both Amero brothers were openly gay present here is the final act which occurs in a gay bar in Greenwich Village. Candy and Sugar impersonate drag queens, but the main attraction here is the performance of Kurt Mann. Here he channels Bette Midler, but he also did a killer Phyllis Diller.
The feature is remasterd from a 35mm print and though there is some speckling (mostly at the beginning and at reel changes) this is a very fine presentation. To compare just look at the tribute to Jamie Gillis which contains scenes from other Video-X-Pix DVD releases – all ported from VHS. This includes scenes from Blonde Ambition, which look like VHS rather than the feature which looks like film. Speaking of film, you also get two snips from a 35 mm print (about 16 frames). Now that’s an unusual extra. And, not only was the hardcore version remastered from 35 mm, but so was the softcore version on disc 2. The first Suzy Mandel sex scene plays much better without all the double inserts, but some remain, and the rest of the film suffers from pacing and delivery, so the preference is for the unadulterated version.
This is not the greatest who-dunnit, or rags-to-riches musical, or adult comedy. There’s much to appreciate, though it does lag at times [it DRAGS at times too]. Nevertheless, this is historically important and an almost unique attempt to make a crossover adult film – it even has avant guard art sequences as found in Behind The Green Door [but without resorting to a 20 minute polarized money shot].
Note: The Lusting Hours (Amero Brothers) is available on the Something Weird triple feature DVD with The Ultimate Degenerate (with John Amero) and In Hot Blood (unrelated but excellent). A highly recommended companion piece to Blonde Ambition.