Written by: Jimmy the Gent on March 20th, 2014
Theatrical Release Dates: USA, 1980 (Sadie), USA, 1981 (The Seductress)
Directors: Bob Chinn (Both Films)
Cast: Chris Cassidy, Jerome Deeds, Gary Eberhart, Deborah Sullavan (Sadie), Lee Carroll, Lisa De Leeuw, Billy Dee, Kathy Harcourt, Richard Reynolds, Rock Steadie (The Seductress)
DVD Release Date: March 11th, 2014
Approximate Running Times: 74 minutes (Sadie), 81 minutes (The Seductress)
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: $17.98
Sadie: Somerset Maughn’s short story ‘Rain’ was developed into a smash hit play in 1922. Since then the lead role of prostitute Sadie Thompson has been filmed many times featuring the likes of Gloria Swanson, Joan Crawford, and Rita Hayworth. In 1982 another name was added to the list: Cris [sic] Cassidy.
After all, a play featuring a prostitute would seem natural for a porn treatment. Cassidy’s acting abilities were generally above average though she did suffer from bad breast enhancement and a nipple ring. Nevertheless, she is 100% believable as a prostitute and the entire production obviously strives to turn this work of ‘erotica’ into a ‘porno chic’ extravaganza.
The primary influence on the plot notwithstanding, the setting and atmosphere seem patterned more on the play and film West Of Zanzibar, also remade as Kongo. Seediness and depravity seep through every frame of both versions, and they feature forced prostitution (‘white slavery’) which factors into Sadie. However, the evil and totalitarian regime that suppresses the foreigners seems to be cribbed straight from Safe In Hell, which also features a prostitute trying to change her ways and find a better life.
Now, why dwell so long on the literary and filmic sources of a low budget porno? Because it actually meets the admittedly low bar that it sets for itself to the point that it is an actual film that can stand on it’s artistic merits. The primary set of the desk / diner / bar common room of the ‘rest stop’ is quite well done and replete with interesting knickknacks such as double-dot Pepsi cola flange signs and Shazam comic books. Set during the Vietnam war, there is some distinct anti-war / anti-government sentiment on hand as well. The sex scenes featuring the senator’s daughter (either as participant or observer) feel like an integral part of the story; all others exist merely to sell tickets.
Seductress: Lee Carroll plays the titular character but is only nominally the star of the show. She does get the ball rolling as a junkie prostitute who works for a photographer to seduce and then blackmail married men. The plot is quite intricate and well scripted with double and triple crosses, and the sex scenes often contain discussions integral to the plot. It soon pivots on the character of Cindy Anderson played by Lisa De Leeuw.
Lisa is in her prime looking slim and ravishing and Kathy Harcourt appears in one of her few films. Both demonstrate that they can handle lines of dialog quite well, among other things. The early sex scenes are often intercut with the photographer plying his trade (and wearing black gloves like a sniper), but as the story progresses the sex get more passionate even as the characters become more desperate. The mystery is fun as it unravels, but even then this one is worthy of repeat viewings.
Both presentations are from negatives in 1:85 OAR widescreen and both look exceptional. The sound recording is a bit better in Seductress, which is slicker and more professional overall than Sadie. Both feature music during the sex scenes either replacing or diffusing the moaning and groaning. Original theatrical trailers are featured for both.
Sadie is an interesting oddity that is a bit plot heavy, where Seductress is a top notch adult feature that effortlessly balances a compelling story with a great cast and fine performances. Another exceptional release from Vinegar Syndrome.