Written by: George Pacheco on June 16th, 2015
Theatrical Release Dates: USA, April 22nd, 1977
Director: Alex De Renzy
Cast: Jeanne Silver, Joey Silvera, Paul Thomas, Lori Blue, Amber Hunt
DVD Release Date: May 12th, 2015
Approximate Running Times: 65 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Vinegar Syndrome
Region Encoding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $17.98
Alex De Renzy was no stranger to cinematic controversy within the world of adult film, having not only spearheaded the advent of un-simulated sex on screen with his 1970 pseudo documentary Pornography in Denmark, but further pushing those boundaries with such infamous Times Square titles as Femmes De Sade and this little picture, titled Long Jeanne Silver.
The film adopts a “fly on the wall” approach for what is essentially a loop carrier for adult film star Jeanne Silver, who introduces each segment with ad-libbed anecdotes about her life and sexual behavior before cutting to the action at hand. The main selling point for Long Jeanne Silver in the annals of adult cinema, however, was the fact that Silver was rendered an amputee during childhood, a fact which De Renzy exploits here in every scene.
This gives Long Jeanne Silver a vibe which has almost as much in common with Italian-style mondo exploitation as it does with home grown, American pornography. Take, for example, a scene where Silver is speaking on the couch with two performers prior to their sex sequence. The actress is flipping through her legendary layout for the now-defunct Cheri magazine and speaking frankly about sex before she breaks character and begins crying. It’s a very real scene which is difficult to watch, particularly given the actress’ recent reconnection with her fans, thanks to a convention appearance at Cinema Wasteland, and a fascinating interview with the Rialto Report podcast.
“Doing the Rialto Report was a way of me setting some rumors straight ,” explains Jeanne. “One of them being I was dead! To be honest, I’m surprised still that anyone remembers me from so long ago. It’s also shocking that it’s not just my age bracket but those in their twenties, as well. I guess ‘stump fucking’ didn’t become trendy, so I’m pretty much still the ‘original!'”
Silver adds, “I’ve only attended that one convention which was Cinema Wasteland, in Cleveland Ohio, and I had a blast! I shared space with the boys from Vinegar Syndrome, director Carter Stevens and Distripix. I met so many great people that I was friends with on Facebook and made new friends, as well. It was comfortable and not pretentious. I was treated like a true princess by Ken from Cinema Wasteland and his lovely wife Pam!”
There are some sequences here in the film which are genuinely erotic-particularly the opening scene with Joey Silvera and Amber Hunt-but Long Jeanne Silver for the most part is an envelope pushing film which centers its focus straight onto Jeanne and her special talents….with no holds barred and no stone unturned. Is it for everyone? No, but De Renzy’s film is certainly a interesting snapshot of an “anything goes” era of adult cinema over in San Francisco during the wild ‘n wooly 1970s.
Vinegar Syndrome’s DVD of Long Jeanne Silver has been transferred in 2k from an original, archival 16mm print, resulting in what is by far the best this film has ever looked on home video. Alpha Blue Archives had previously released the film on DVD with a handful of extras-including bonus Jeanne Silver clips and a photo gallery of her Cheri magazine layout-but it must be said that Vinegar Syndrome’s version features a much stronger color palette and clearer audio, making it a better choice for collector’s who are willing to sacrifice some extra content.
Where VinSyn’s release really shines, however, is the commentary track recorded by Silver herself, where the actress’ engaging personality, humble insight and infectious laugh are placed on full display. “I had fun doing the commentary,” admits Jeanne, “although at first I was a bit apprehensive. I had met Joe [Rubin, Vinegar Syndrome] at the Legends of Erotica show…in fact, he was the one that covered my flight to Vegas. It was there that I was approached for doing the commentary, which at first I wasn’t sure I wanted to do.”
She continues, “Watching the film for the first time brought up several emotions. There was fear, embarrassment, and remorse at first. Then it went into what I want to say was a sense of accomplishment, but not prideful, you know? The movie is definitely one for the record books, and originally I remembered maybe one or two things about filming, but as the movie continued more little snippets came flooding back. I can’t say that the memories were any different. Just more were introduced into my foggy brain.”
Overall, Long Jeanne Silver receives a great release from Vinegar Syndrome, and seems to have been a great way to offer some closure for Silver with this unique and still controversial film, one which the actress herself hadn’t seen until she recorded her commentary track.
Silver explains, “I cannot remember ever going to a screening back then. I did attend a few parties but nothing with ‘red Carpet’ status. As far as watching my own movies, I chose not to go into the ‘porn’ theaters since sticky seats and floors were not my thing. Of course, we didn’t have video then so I never received any copies of films until a few years ago, when [DVD Drive In critic] Casey Scott and Carter Stevens hooked me up with a few. I watched for the first time Piggies and House of Sin, but that was a few years ago, but since then I’ve seen a few others but not many since they seem to be impossible to find, and I can’t afford to buy them!”
A very special thanks to Jeanne Silver for providing extra commentary for this review.