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From: ca38@aol.com (CA38)
Subject: [Review] The X-Rated Videotape Star Index II
Date: Sat, 25 Apr 98 23:22:19
Organization: AOL http://www.aol.com

Book Review

The X-Rated Videotape Star Index II
By Patrick Riley
Amherst, Prometheus Books, 1997
ISBN # 1-57392-168-8

As a fan of what has been called the "Golden Age" of X-Rated film and video, I have spent many happy hours tracking down all the movies a particular female performer has made. Inaccurate box covers, girls that change their "nome de porn" add to the complexity of this. It is therefore with great pleasure that I have discovered guides that listed, by performer, all of their movies. Suddenly trips to the local movie store, and later, the Internet, were made in the anticipation that , armed with new research, I would soon be watching a fresh scene from a favorite star. First, the Blue Guide, and then Patrick Riley's first book proved to be invaluable resources for chasing down the movies of the ladies that I enjoy.

It is then with some anticipation the I awaited my copy of Riley's newest index, The X-Rated Videotape Star Index II. If this volume lived up to its predecessor, it would be very useful indeed. I was not disappointed. At 780 pages, the book is half again as large as the first. This in itself does not give an accurate representation of the additional data included, becausea change in format has increased the informational density considerably - more on this later. A check for performers for which I have maintained my own film list shows that Mr. Riley has remarkably complete information.

The book also introduces an increased number of comments and physical descriptions for the various stars-not always in flattering terms, showing the author is not afraid to speak his mind. While I may disagree with some comments, seeing my beloved Holly McCall dismissed as "Fat and Ugly", others are right on target. In any case these verbal sketches give some guidance for the adventurous who wish to see new performers of a particular body or ethnic type. Helpful here would be a small portrait of the listed performers, but space precludes that.

My only criticisms of the work are its completeness, and overly dense format. It may be odd to criticize an index for being overly complete, but in some cases there are listings for which the performer has on the smallest, even non sex role. Short of actually rating the amount of screen time, or number of scenes that a performer appears in - which would be a monumental task - it might be best to drop those listings. This is more a philosophical point, but it would increase the utility of the book for those seeking out relevant movies.

My second criticism is the format of the listings. Mr. Riley has departed from his prior, highly readable layout, to one that is very jumbled and hard to read. This does increase the amount of data, and no doubt prevented thebook from reaching unwieldy dimensions, but it is hard on the eyes. Perhaps using smaller typeface and a four column layout could achieve the same result and be a bit easier to read.

Neither of these criticisms reduce the value of the work, in my estimation, and may be inevitable compromises inherent in covering so much in one volume. Perhaps, if the book proves successful, Mr. Riley may be persuaded to issue a two volume second edition, which could clean up the layout, and possiblyhave enough room for thumbnails of the performer's portraits. I know I would purchase such a resource.

The X-Rated Videotape Star Index II is an invaluable guide, and belongs on the shelf - or behind the VCR - of any true fan of the genre. Even the databases and search engines available over the net cover only a fraction of the material in this index. Certainly all who purchase tapes through the mail and over the Internet will find that this book pays for itself with the first order. If you can only afford one reference, this should be it.

Just for the record, I have no connection with the industry or Mr. Riley in any way.

Chuck

"All books can be indecent books, though recent books are bolder
for filth, I'm glad to say, is in the mind of the beholder"

T.Lehrer

 

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