Written by: Carroll Jenkins on December 17th, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1969
Director: Joel M. Reed
Writer: Joel M. Reed
Cast:Jennifer Welles, John Cardoza, Honey Hunter, Stioge Glyspayne, John David, Charles Carlton Buffum, Georgina Spelvin
DVD released: May 16th, 2006
Approximate running time: 77 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Something Weird Video
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.99
Synopsis:Susan’s mother is bound and determined to make her a star, no matter the price to pay.
Writer / Director Joel Reed (Blood Bath) shows considerable talent, a serious contempt for humanity, and a pitch black sense of humor in his first actual feature. This is one of the finest of the NYC B&W ‘roughies’, though the abuse presented here is strictly psychological. The primary victims of this assault are poor Susan and we, the audience.
Jennifer Welles has probably her finest role and performance as the virginal bombshell whom her mother promotes like an agricultural commodity. In her only film appearance Honey Hunter chews the scenery with gusto and drops her top at a moments notice. Her figure is exceptional for a mature (and natural) performer, and if her performance is devoid of warmth or emotion then that’s dead on, because her character doesn’t possess any. All her sex scenes are humorously ironic, especially when she smokes cigarettes DURING sex.
Back to Jennifer, she has numerous sex scenes with various agents, photographers, promoters, producers; anyone who her mother determines can secure the path to stardom – but first in writing. Jennifer is stunning with her thick long mane of dark brown / black hair and it’s just a shame she didn’t get enhanced after this one was in the can. The other actors don’t have to [act] really, since they are only caricatures anyway. Exceptionally notable is a predatory lesbian talent agent played by Georgina Spelvin (The Devil in Miss Jones). She looks much better (and bustier) here than in her porno star period a few scant years later (color probably didn’t help any).
B&W cinematography by Ron Dorfman (noms de porn Art Ben) is quite striking and effective. The soundtrack is mostly non-existent and relies on ambient (real and/or faux) noise, but does feature an interesting surf-ish guitar instrumental backdrop for some traveling shots. Granted the actors must ‘stage play’ their dialog which does hamper their performances somewhat, but the dialog is discernable and decidedly delicious.
This is a ‘digitally remastered’ presentation and looks quite fine with the biggest ‘damage’ being the huge emulsion scrapings that serve as reel change markers. Sound is good, and there are lots of extras beginning with Reed’s first release, the faux mondo Sex By Advertisement (also with Welles and Spelvin). As is the norm with Something Weird double features, lots of genre trailers and even a condensed feature are thrown into the mix.
Treading water between the Joe Sarno soap operas and the Michael Findlay roughies is this New York noir nudie masterpiece of scuzzy sleaze. Unfortunately it did not succeed in furthering Reed’s own career, and he was subsequently forced by desperation into making the do or die bad taste epic Bloodsucking Freaks.