Written by: Cliff Wood on April 25th, 2006
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: September 19th, 2001
Approximate running time: 75 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: VCA
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
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.
The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann is presented in a full aspect ratio that looks like it faithfully retains the film’s original aspect ratio. This film was original shot on 16mm and the source material is a 1 inch video master that was most likely sourced from a 35mm print. The image is soft and the colors look faded. There is noticeable print damage still nothing that is excessive or that becomes too distracting. Overall the transfer is about on par with VCA’s other Henry Paris releases.
This release comes with only one audio source an English language track which is presented in a Dolby Digital mono. The sound is flat at times and there are some minor instances of hiss and other sound defects.
Extras for this release include original box art, photo gallery, production stills, press book and gallery of stills of adult cinema’s hall of fame performers in which Jim Holliday narrates. There is also the feature in which the viewer can jump to the starlets’ sex scene they enjoy with just the push of a button. Other extras include a three minute interview with Jim Holliday who gives a capsule review of The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann. The main extra for this release is an audio commentary with Eric Edwards and Veronica Hart. Eric Edwards played the private detective in the film. The audio commentary has a few minor instances of insight while the bulk of the time the two participants spend most the time having fun and have very little to say.
For this release VCA has removed about eight minutes of film in which Barbara Bourbon (Pamela Mann) and Jamie Gillis (The Chauffeur) in which Gillis holds a gun to Bourbon’s head during a staged rape fantasy sequence. This scene had been included on VCA VHS release of The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann and now it has been removed to avoid controversy in these politically correct times.
Overall The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann is one of the golden age of adult cinema’s better films and it hints at what was just around the corner from filmmaker Henry Paris, recommended.