Written by: Carroll Jenkins on August 23rd, 2009
Theatrical Release Dates: USA, 1973 (Blue Summer), USA, 1975 (Sometime Sweet Susan), USA, 1974 (Summer School Teachers), USA, 1972 (Teenage Divorce)
Directors: Chuck Vincent (Blue Summer), Fred Donaldson (Sometime Sweet Susan), Barbara Peters (Summer School Teachers), Laurence E. Mascott (Teenage Divorce)
Cast: Davey Jones, Bo White, Lilly Bi Peep, Joann Sterling, Melissa Evers, Chris Jordan, Jacqueline Carol, Any Mathieu, Shana McGran, Eric Edwards, Larry Lima, Sylvia Bernstein, Harding Harrison, Jeff Allen, Joe Asaro, Robert McLane, Mike Ledis (Blue Summer), Shawn Harris, Craig Baumgarten, Neil Flanagan, Jamie Gillis, Carole Holland, Jennifer Jordan, Rod Loomis, Alex Mann, Harry Reems, Tom Skowron, Kristen Steen (Sometime Sweet Susan), Candice Rialson, Pat Anderson, Rhonda Leigh Hopkins (Summer School Teachers), Tom Holland, George Takei, Holly Mascott (Teenage Divorce)
DVD released: October 13th, 2009
Approximate running time: 338 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Secret Key Motion Pictures
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.99
The best film, Blue Summer, is from the master of low-budget sexploitation [when he wasn’t doing hardcore], Chuck Vincent. Chuck’s low budget wonders had plots right out of Crown International’s catalog, only with actual scripts, decent acting, a little melodrama, a little humor, and lots of T&A. A little existentialism thrown into the mix for this one as well. There are a few names here, mostly current or future porno stars: Eric Edwards, Chris Jordan, Darcey Hollingsworth (Davey Jones). This is male fantasy like it should be, tripped out with the trappings of the early seventies. Far out, dude.
Sometime Sweet Susan is a hardcore film that was apparently distributed in a hard R version to legitimate theaters. Seems the gambit failed, because this is the only effort from both the writer/director and female lead. Too tame for the raincoat crowd and too bleak for the porno chic. The soundtrack is excellent and helps maintain the momentum through many overlong sex scenes. It’s integrity is sometimes maintained by the use of freeze frames where the naughty bits would be. The story is of a woman in an asylum who’s tortured by her traumatic past. Her primary personality is fairly normal though withdrawn, but her alter-ego is a prostitute and sexual deviant. Harry Reems stars as the doctor, and Jamie Gillis has a bit as a rapist.
Summer School Teachers is a routine effort from New World Pictures. Staring Candice Rialson (Hollywood Boulevard), and with a sizeable role for Dick Miller (Bucket Of Blood) as the Head Coach. The sparring between Candice and chauvinist pig Dick are the highlights of the film. That and a humorous love scene between Candice and a nerdy suitor, during which she takes a naked five foot headlong fall into a one foot deep concrete pool. Luckily her dude broke her fall. Otherwise, this one is produced by a woman, written and directed by Barbara Peters (Humanoids From The Deep), and edited by a woman. So not a lot of sexist male fantasies here, though there is a strong touch of feminism. The primary story thread is a girl’s football team, resisted by elderly principle Vince Barnett (Scarface, Shame of a Nation).
Apparently completed as Josie’s Castle in 1972, this hippie drama couldn’t secure release, so group sex party footage was added and it was re-edited into Teenage Divorce. Even so, the result is a rather compelling experience as it rambles along. Rather similar to A Small Circle Of Friends, made at the end of the decade, this film wears it’s authentic freak credentials as a medallion around it’s neck. By far the most interesting aspect is George Takei’s (Sulu of Star Trek) appearance as the third roommate, complete with hippie headband.
All selections are presented in 4:3 color and this appears to be the proper aspect ratio. They are unrestored and there are no closed captions or subtitles. Blue Summer looks rather nice (considering the budget), except for some dark scenes that have a polarized look (mostly blue) which was obviously intended but doesn’t transfer well. Sometime Sweet Susan suffers from a few specks and the aforementioned cuts / edits. Summer School Teachers looks fine, but Teenage Divorce looks pretty terrible. There are lots of specs (mostly orange) almost throughout the film, though bright outdoors scenes fare better. There are also green projection lines as well. Not really worse than the recent faux grindhouse features by Taratino et. al. and this is the real thing.
The winner here is Chuck Vincent’s Blue Summer. A Vincent retrospective would be quite interesting since most of his softcore titles are still MIA on DVD. Some were on early VHS releases or cable channels, such as Summer Camp and the softcore remake of Fascination, Sex Appeal.