Written by: Jimmy the Gent on February 9th, 2014
Theatrical Release Dates: USA, 1973 (Deep Roots), USA, 1982 (Starlet Nights)
Directors: Lisa Barr aka Joseph Bardo (Both Films)
Cast: Jesse Chacan, Liz Renay, Anita Sands (Deep Roots), Kandi Barbour, Lesllie Bovee (Starlet Nights)
DVD Release Date: February 11th, 2014
Approximate Running Times: 76 minutes (Deep Roots), 80 minutes (Starlet Nights)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen (Both Films)
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English (Both Films)
DVD Release: Vinegar Syndrome
Region Encoding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $14.98
Deep Roots: Billy leaves his girlfriend behind on the reservation to seek the brave new world of the big city – Hollywood. She knows he’ll eventually return because of his deep roots to the reservation.
This is a top-notch early hardcore entertainment that is miles apart from the usual “let’s make another one” product. It’s a coming of age road trip film that serves as a framework for the various liaisons. The director credit as Lisa Barr is a pseudonym for actor Joe Bardo who appeared in an episode of The Beverly Hillbillies. He obviously has aspirations to produce a superior adult film (on a small budget), and he succeeds admirably. The script, casting, characterizations, editing, and cinematography are top notch for any adult film of any era. The final product almost transcends the porno genre; the biggest flaw being the grand finale orgy featuring the 50 Beautiful People that is the only part of the film that was haphazardly thrown together and rather tedious to endure.
American Indian Jesse Chacan plays the lead role of an American Indian, and his on-screen charisma is such that you don’t doubt all the fresh young women dropping their panties for him. All of the leading ladies are exactly that, excepting Liz Renay, who appears topless in a comic relief scene teaching one of the girls how to strut her stuff. Liz and Joe Bardo had earlier played husband and wife in Ray Dennis Steckler’s The Thrill Killers.
Starlet Nights: Joe Bardo is back, as is Jesse Chacan, but what a difference between 1978 and 1982. Joe still attempts to tell a story, but with ‘professional’ porno actresses and the usual dull and dreary sex scenes found in most adult product from that period.
Vinegar Syndrome knocks another one out of the park. Deep Roots looks fantastic in wide screen which is essential given the frame composition and the frequent close-ups (but there’s no mistaking this for Swedish Erotica or Caballero product). The source contains very little damage; though there are some red lines in a couple of frames where reel marks are located (probably lab processing).
Perspective – As a young man I became completely burnt out on adult features during the first video revolution of the early 80’s. Those VHS and Beta tapes were originally uncut high quality transfers (given the full frame aspect) from film sources. But soon the ‘legit’ releases were replaced by copies of worn tape masters duped on cheap retail equipment. Even worse was the same stable of stars appeared in each and every film doing the same positions to the point it became as easy to predict as WWF Prime Time Wrestling matches. Once I realized I was watching the rentals almost entirely on fast forward, I abandoned the quest to find anything else of merit in adult product.
The DVD revolution didn’t help matters much, since most releases were merely ports of beat VHS tapes, and many releases were severely cut: case in point Raw Talent with Jerry Butler. Occasionally a high profile release is remastered in a special edition, but this is a relatively rare occurrence. And where are high quality transfers of obscure releases by talented cast and crew that aspired to create a superior product that would transcend the grotty ‘standard’ of the industry? They are on Vinegar Syndrome, that’s where.
Deep Roots is fine adult entertainment (as is the recent release Abduction of an American Playgirl). If you want better seek out Anthony Spinelli’s Nothing To Hide, but it’s not been remastered.