Written by: Cliff Wood on October 19th, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: USA, December 26th, 1974
Director: Henry Paris (Radley Metzger)
Writer: Jake Barnes (Radley Metzger)
Cast: Barbara Bourbon, Sonny Landham, Darby Lloyd Rains, Marc Stevens, Eric Edwards, Kevin Andre, Day Jason, Alan Marlow, Jamie Gillis, Lola Lagarce, Levi Richards, Georgina Spelvin, Leo Lovemore, Linda Lovemore, David Savage
DVD released: August 10th, 2011
Approximate running time: 83 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Video X Pix
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.99
Synopsis: Mr. Mann is worried that his wife Pamela is cheating on him so he hires a private detective to find out the truth about his wife.
Director Radley Metzger under the pseudonym Henry Paris would make the shift from soft core sex films to full blown hard core with the 1974 film The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann. The sex in this film is tame when compared to other films from this era and it is evident very early on that Henry Paris determined to make a hard core film that also has a plot. His ability to combine story and hard core erotica is second to none as he has no peers that could even be labeled as his equal.This film can be summed up a simply the misadventures of a promiscuous housewife. The acting is first rate especially that of Barbara Bourbon who played the films lead Pamela Mann. She has a perfectly sculpted natural looking body that really helps sells her as an object of desire and before the films is over just about every man falls for her. It is a shame that besides this film she would only make a few more hard core films before fading away into obscurity. Eric Edwards the films male lead does a solid job as the private detective. His character is prepared to do anything include sleeping with the clients wife if it helps solve the case.
Though the other hard core films that were directed by Radley Metzger would also face various forms of censorship upon their initial and subsequent releases. The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann features what is arguably his most controversial scene from his oeuvre as a adult filmmaker. The scene in question is a rape / fantasy sequence in which this films protagonist is kidnapped by her chauffeur and another unnamed assailant. During this sequence the chauffeur, who is menacingly portrayed by the charismatic Jamie Gillis (The Opening of Misty Beethoven, Water Power) point a hand gun at Pamela Mann’s head while she is being violated. Of course later on in this film it is revealed that you shouldn’t always believe what you have seen and the truth behind what really happened in the scene is made crystal clear. Thankfully for this release from Video X Pix that scene can now been seen in its entirety, for the first ever on home video in North America.
This film like most of Henry Paris’ films has its fare share of comedy and there is an amusing running gag in which a man throughout the film pulls out his penis and blows his load on Mr. Mann’s secretary’s face. After the first time this happened she gets wiser and puts on a bib. The sex and story perfectly complement each other as the films passes by quickly.
Ultimately, while most filmmakers would have been content to stay in their niche, it is remarkable just how The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann holds up after all these years, especially when ones takes into account that this was a transitional film from one of cinemas greatest purveyors of smut.
Video X Pix presents The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann in an anamorphic widescreen that retains the films intended aspect ratio. This film, like all of Radley Metzger’s other hardcore feature was shot on super 16mm and blown up to 35mm. This is another exceptional restoration job from Video X Pix, who give this film its best looking home video release to date. Colors look vibrant, black and contrast levels look consistently good, details look sharp throughout and there are no problems with compression. It should be noted that there are some very mild instances of edge enhancement and an occasional moment of print debris, nothing that is ever excessive.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in English and removable English subtitles have been included with this release. Dialog comes through clearly, there are no problems with distortion and everything sounds balanced.
Extras for this release are spread over two discs.
Extras on disc one include a extensive stills gallery, a theatrical trailer for the film (5 minutes 57 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), a interview with actor Eric Edwards (38 minutes 35 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), a English subtitle trivia track that gives a thorough overview about the music selections that appear in the film and a audio commentary with screenwriter / director Radley Metzger and adult film historian Benson Hurst. The interview with Eric Edwards covers how he got into the adult film industry and his various experiences working in the adult film industry, including why he left the industry. Unfortunately he does not have that much to say about The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann. On the other hand the audio commentary with Radley Metzger is filled with an abundance of information about The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann. Other topics he discusses include why he made the transition from soft-core to hard-core, the meaning behind his pseudonyms Henry Paris and Jake Barnes, the cast and how he selected them and he even touches upon The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann’s infamous rape scene.
Extras on disc two include a soft-core version of The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann (72 minutes 55 minutes – anamorphic widescreen), a image gallery with posters, lobby cards, ad mats and various other promo related materials, a segment titled ‘Cutting Room Floor’ that contains nine minute of outtakes, a seven minute segment titled ‘Locations of Pamela’ that shows how locations from the film look today, a seven minute segment titled ‘Metzger’s Manhattan’ that contains exterior location footage that Radley Metzger shot for the film, a new trailer that was made for this 2011 DVD release (2 minutes 55 seconds – letterboxed widescreen) and a interview with actress Georgina Spelvin (38 minutes 28 seconds – anamorphic widescreen). The alternate soft-core version of The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann comes with a new introduction with its leading lady that ties in with America’s Bicentennial and periodically throughout this version a image of her talking appears to obscure anything remotely hard-core from being seen. The segments ‘Locations of Pamela’ and ‘Metzger’s Manhattan’ contain narration that puts the images on screen into perspective. Topics covered in the interview with Georgina Spelvin include her beginnings as an actress on Broadway, how she into the adult film industry, her first collaboration with Radley Metzger The Twilight Girls, her first major role in a adult film The Devil in Miss Jones and how she got cast in Police Academy.
Other extras include a forty four page booklet with liner notes that was written by Benson Hurst, Ian Culmell and Lawernce Cohen, who discuss the film, the music and critical analysis, respectively. a Barbra Bourbon post card and promotional inserts for planned future Henry Paris releases and how to order a CD that features various music selections from all of Henry Paris’s films.
It should be noted that an audio commentary with Eric Edwards and Veronica Hart, that appeared as part of VCA’s DVD release of The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann has not been carried over for this release. Fortunately outside of a few minor instances of insight, the bulk of that audio commentary is nothing more than the two of them having fun and have very little to say.
Overall it is hard not to be impressed with all the TLC that went into this release, which not only presents this film for the time ever uncut, it comes with an abundance of extra content that do an extraordinary job putting this film and those who worked on into crystal clear perspective. And if this is any indication of what to expect from future Henry Paris (Radley Metzger) releases from Video X Pix, then count me in as someone who is thrilled that classics from the Golden Age of adult cinema are finally get their just due on home video, after years of subpar releases.