The Imperial Reviews: Volume 27


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Classics and Why They Rule (yes, again :-))

Talk Dirty to Me

Let's begin with a little masterpiece to warm things up. In past discussions I have repeatedly referred to Anthony Spinelli's exquisite "Talk Dirty To Me" (1980) as a shining example of how quality porn should be like. Indeed, instead of reading the megabytes of text volleyed by the esteemed Mr. Evanson in his quest for "FILMING a porn movie" :-) one could just watch this one.

The recipe is simple and effective: first and foremost, a spartan and trim plot premise. I believe that the main plot problem of recent "couples" pornos (Blake excepted, since he uses no plot in his lame films) is the tortuousness of their plots. Spinelli keeps it simple by using two devices that every viewer should be familiar with. One is the odd couple of misfits; slick, seductive Jack (John Leslie) and dull-witted, virgin Lenny (Richard Pacheco). For some the echoes of "Of Mice and Men" are rather clear, but even for those not familiar with the work, the device harkens to another, more fundamental premise: one guy gets all the girls, his sidekick hopes for his leftovers, consumed in a mixture of admiration and jealousy. The other plot device is even more basic: seduction. Simple, yet effective. Spinelli's development and handling of these concepts is masterful.

Of course Spinelli has the material to work with; a tremendous cast that includes some of the best actors ever to appear in porn, including the best ever male lead. That's John Leslie for you newbies :-). In my arrogant opinion, never have John's qualites as a "stud" been showcased better than in this movie (yes, Ron, even more than "F" :-)). It's not just the plumbing: every male mainstay can more or less hold his own in the hydraulics business. Furthermore, huge organs or cumming feats are never an item of interest for me - though Peter North is certainly an amazing character by any standards. In my book, a great male lead must have charm. There is nothing more annoying than seeing all those pretty ladies of porn pretending to swoon before Wayne Summers', Tony Montana's or -of course- Ron Jeremy's "glory". A -female- friend, annoyed at the large percentage of unappealing males in the biz, has hypothesized that this is being done on purpose, so that the viewer does not feel antagonized by an overly handsome actor. I don't know whether this is true; personally, I resent the "long-haired rocker dude" type and the "sweaty, creepy Ron-like" one equally. Give me John Leslie or R.Bolla any day; these guys have personality.

Much as it appears irrelevant, the above rambling does have its purpose for this particular review, since the central theme of the plot is the seductive powers of Jack and his wager that he can manage to seduce a beautiful married lady (the magnificently elegant Jessie St. James) in just three days. Some people think that these powers hinge exclusively on his tactic of overwheliming the lady target with a torrent of dirty talk (hence the title of the movie :-)). Personally I think that it is charm that is being showcased here, not just the device of talking dirty. It's not as if Spinelli is telling us that your average Fred Bloggs can make Jessie St. James quiver with passion by bombarding her with profanities. His point IMHO is that Jack is so charming, that not only can he get away with profanity, but he can use it to his advantage at the same time.

And John Leslie is pretty damn effective. He's so seductive he almost charmed the pants off me :-). Jessie is a damn fine actress too and perfectly manages the rather difficult task of showing the gradual yielding to his charms. Many on-screen seductions -and that holds for mainstream too- are botched by what I call the "activation energy effect". The lady is stone cold, no matter what the fella does and then, all of a sudden, she just becomes putty. Bull, I say. Women are people (though IMHO a different species of the genus homo:-)), and people don't behave like that. Read Christopher Hampton's exquisite theatrical adaptation of Laclos' "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" for a well-made seduction, and the pathetic melting of Turandot in Puccini's otherwise brilliant opera to see how it should NOT be done. Da Ponte's Don Giovanni lies somewhere in between I think.

As usual, I will not go into a scene-by-scene analysis of the sex scenes; in this particular case it WILL spoil the enjoyment since the anticipation of the Jessie's final surrender is the basis for all the eroticism. Of note however, is John's scene with that hippy girl :-), Chris Cassidy. Chris is, as usual, simply delightful: no makeup, circles under eyes (she's supposed to be a doctor -hence no makeup at work- at the end of a long day -hence the eyes), fucking incredible sexual presence. I think she has the armpits shaved though (awwwwww!!! :-)). Chris belongs to that select group of women, like Sharon Kane and Nina Hartley, whose primary appeal is not beauty per se, but personality. Sharon Mitchel has personality too, but she is IMHO somewhat challenged in the beauty department to be very appealing :-).

The Imperial verdict. You saw it coming. Flawless. Riveting and erotic, Spinelli's masterpiece can justly breathe along with its "Sex World" brethren that rarefied air of perfection.

Rating: 4.00

Nothing To Hide

The "true" Spinelli sequel to Talk Dirty To Me -- there is a TDTM, Part 2, but it's not the canonical sequel. Viewed by many as a better movie than its predecessor, "Nothing to Hide" is certainly more ambitious in its dramatic aspirations. This time the mood is not as lighthearted as in TDTM; the relationship between Jack and Lenny, just barely touched on in the original (where the seduction was the primary plot concern) is now fully and properly addressed. Again, I won't go into details since they are certain to spoil the enjoyment of this fine movie; I will say however that sex-wise I find this film to be inferior to the original. Not bad by any means (the cast now includes a very young Erica Boyer and the always cute Tigr (Chelsea Manchester), so this HAS to be hot) but definetely not as erotic as TDTM.

The Imperial Verdict: this is another keeper. It's not "perfect" in my book, as it does not achieve that fine balance between sexual heat, full use of resources and interesting and erotic premise. It's a bloody marvellous work nonetheless.

Rating: 3.60

Sometimes, however, even the most highly touted of the Golden Age classics prove not to withstand the test of time. "Deep Throat" is almost universally dismissed nowadays as a poorly filmed silliness whose notoriety is all out of proportion with its actual merit. Some go even further and attack that other pillar of Porno Chic, "Misty Beethoven" (though, if you recall my review, I do not number myself among them). Some of these fond memories of our youth prove to be after all a result of our own mind's glorification of the past. I persoanlly dread to re-watch my first ever porn flick, Svetlana's "Sex Boat", for fear of disappointing myself.

Pandora's Mirror

When I recently re-watched "Pandora's Mirror", I suffered exactly this sort of disillusionment. For if one looks beyond the lavish sets and costumes, the robust and trim plot, and leading lady Veronica Hart's charisma, there is little real heat in this movie. The greatest gripe of course is that Veronica is only in a single sex scene, a mmf, and not a very well shot one at that. But even the other cast members -a cast including Tiffany Hart, Tiffany Clark, Kandi Barbour, Annie Sprinkle, Jamie Gillis, and Jerry Butler- are not having there best outings. I rest the fault entirely on the director's shoulders. Perhaps he was overly concerned with managing his huge budget. I don't know; what I can say is that it is advisable for first time viewers of this piece to leave their expectations at the door. "Pandora's Mirror" is undoubtedly a historically important and quite entertaining movie; it's most definetely however NOT a scorcher.

Rating: 3.00

Behind the Green Door

Another of these Golden Disappointments is "Behind the Green Door". True, I never watched it in the theatre; also, in 1972 I was only a toddler, so I can never know its effect on the mentality of that era. Still, the 20th Anniversary Edition leaves one with that sinking feeling of wondering what might have been. Marilyn Chambers is incredibly beautiful in this movie; having only seen her in her latter, "Insatiable" vintage, emaciated version, I was shocked at how pretty she could really be. Others -notably Playboy- have commented on the uncanny resemblance youn Marilyn bears to Cybill Shepherd - and it's true. The plot premise is unashamedly NC - no lame self-censorship here; Marilyn is abducted and forced to star in some weirdo sex show. First she is ravished by a pack of other ladies and Johnny Keys, and then does some Fellas in that famous "chandelier-chair" scene (that's how I personally call this lame device :-)). The g-g bit is ok but rather obscured, but the b-g is badly shot. Marilyn does all sorts of RCs on the "chandelier" but the camera work of the Mitchell boys is terrible. Terrible waste of irreplaceable resources :-(

There is a good chance that this 20th Anniversary edition was somehow cut by the prudish distributors of our day. I wouldn't know if that's the case, but the unshakable fact is that even so, this edition of BTGD does not live up to its reputation.

Rating: 2.75. Rentable only in order to complete one's historical education and to enjoy those brief glimpses of Marilyn's former, prettier self.

Spitfire

As usual, one can readily find some other, less hyped, movie that is infinitely better -and hotter- than the blockbusters. This is true today, and it was true in the Golden Age too. "Spitfire" is certainly no cheapo; it has the budget, the plot and the big cast: John Leslie, Samantha Fox, Chelsea Manchester (Tigr), Annie Sprinkle, Eric Edwards, R.Bolla, Sharon Mitchell, Joey Silvera and Penthouse kitten Ricky Harte among others (MANY others :-)).

I personally enjoyed the plot a lot: R.Bolla is a populist politician who has become immensely influential, partly because of his prudish, pro-abstinence platform, but mainly because of the image of his family, wife Samantha Fox and daughter Tigr. Our politician is typically corrupt: he embezzles the party contribution and the personal life of his family is anything but the pristine conservatism his supporters imagine. Most serious of these problems is the reality that his supposedly virginal daughter is a nymphomaniac (hey, it's a porno after all! :-)). The plot has several sub-plots, centering around the disgraced psychiatrist (Eric Edwards) employed by the mother to bring her daughter's passions under control (yes, they eventually screw :-)), a bunch of scandal-seeking reporters (Mitcell-Silvera-Harte), and a hot-shot political aide (John Leslie) who's caught in this story without realizing his own peril. In retrospect, this is one of the most ambitious porn plots I am aware of other than "Autobiography of a Flea".

The danger that the very scope of the plot will adversely affect the sexual heat is always there of course, and indeed the movie is not as volcanic as a simple glimpse at the cast would lead one to believe. The greatest problem is the very impatient editing. The sex scenes are built up wonderfully, but the action is frustratingly brief -it is clear that a lot more sex footage was shot and that "most of the heat was left on the cutting room floor" (as PT would say :-)). It's a great shame. Also, the lovely Rickki Harte does very little sex-wise; she in only one scene with Joey and only receives some cunnilingus. Damn, damn, damn! Waste of resources!

This last statement summarises the feeling one is left with, after this fine movie comes to a close. It could have been an unprecedented triumph; it's lack of sex dooms it to the status of just an entertaining flick.

Rating: 3.15

Let's Talk Sex

Let's, indeed. Hot sex is what this great 1984 Caballero production is all about, despite the suspicious title. Being extremely biased against the ridiculous -and inexplicably hugely successful- phone "sex" (my ass) business, I consciously tried to avoid renting this flick for months - and that despite having yummy Bridgette Monet on the cover. Naturally, it proved to be a bad move, since it denied me the enjoyment of a true scorcher.

The "phone sex" premise, no doubt ground-breaking in 1984 as a plot premise is in reality only barely touched upon. This is all about a company that sell fantasies to its regular custmers -so regular that they each have an extensive file for the employee to draw inspiration from. Other than that, the plot just serves to introduce a lengthy series of exquisite vignettes. The ones that stand out the most are the first three:

Also in the flick are Kitten Nativitad (on the receiving end of some brief g-g), Becky Savage, Laurien Wilde (Tina Ross - according to the Master this is her first movie), Linda Shaw, Herschel Savage and Tommy Byron looking all of 15 years old in this one :-)

The Imperial Verdict: Wow. Though nothing wild from a pervert's point of view, this is an incredibly hot item. A must-rent for couples, and a very resonable purchase if one can spare the bucks.

Rating: 3.40

Seka's Fantasies

But one should be led to believe that the Golden Age is only about high budget,"couples" type films. There also used to be many wonderfully hot wall-to-wallers as well. Seka was the queen of such flicks in the early 80s - obviously her terrible acting would never allow her a part in the challenging roles of the big productions, despite her uncanny popularity. "Seka's Fantasies" is perhaps the best example of this genre. The plot is lame, the sound is bad, the editing unsatsifactory, though definetely not disastrous, but the camera angles are good, the heat is searing, and the cast is tremendous.

Seka is not one of those delicate flowers, like Abby or Angel, who'll make your heart ache like a schoolboy's. Seka is the personification of woman as an agent of sin :-). Her attitude is cold and insolent, her on-screen personality as fake as her hair colour. You KNOW you shouldn't feel attracted to women like that; and yet you are, feeling guilty all the while. That voluptuous body is simply impossible to ignore.

In "Seka's Fantasies" she is at her most annoying and hottest at the same time. she is playing Fantasia, a woman who essentially arranges and participates in wall-to-wallers. She has never appeared as cold and wooden - and she has never looked that good either.

The first segment involves an orgy at Laura Lazarre's place. I like Laura; she's the embodiment of what we foreigners conceive as the quintessential American girl. Not some lame blonde Barbie facsimile, but one those hot brunettes we used to drool over in your 70s action series, the ones we dreamed roaming in those midwest farms of yours: tall, straight, slender, delicious grey eyes, high cheekbones, toothy smile. Excellent. When she tackles out, she's even better of course. Small breasts, too :-). Laura does an outdoor mmf that culminates in a brief and poorly shot DP. It looks absolutely freezing; the actors are in obvious discomfort. Laura then proceeds indoors and does a b-g. Very nice once again.

Alternating with Laura's scene is Seka, a fella and a hispanic-looking woman of no great beauty, Sophia Solano. Seka is magnificent on the RC, and her breasts are put in unexpectedly good and prolonged use. Michael Morisson, fresh from DP'ing Laura, joins the group and helps DP Sophia. Ho-hum.

The second half of the movie is Chris Cassidy's fantasy sequence. Chris, unfortunately wearing makeup (VERY un-hippylike, Chris :-)) but with the armpits unshaven (blond hair of course :-)), first does a nice b-g with Randy West, with lots and lots of spooning. Nice. Young Randy's hair is even more hilarious even than today's :-). Seka comes in, has a cheesy catfight with Chris (so that the undressing is a bit more interesting I guess :-)) and eventually settle down to a decent g-g. The camera work her could be better. The scene alternates with a mm-fff group scene that includes Crystal Dawn and Connie Peterson doing anal. This is also a good scene. Finally there is an orgy in Chris' room: Seka RC's on Randy while Chris is TP'ed (!). This is her only DP scene as I understand and should not be missed by any serious fan of That Hippy Girl :-)

Overall an excellent wall-to-waller, plenty of raunchy sex and gorgeous performers. The techincal quality is a bit uneven, particularly during Laura Lazarre's DP, but the film remains enjoyable throughout. A definite must rent, and even a marginal purchase for staunch fans of the ladies in the cast. Despite its raunch level, it can be good material for wives/girlfriends. Brad, you know what to do :-)

Rating: 3.25

[Update 6/4/1996. Once again, this version has been cut. I've now watched the full, original film (procured from Holland, where all good thigs come from :-)) and it includes a short fisting scene on Seka by Sophia Solana. I'm not into fistings and the scene is not all that great by any standards, so the rating is unchanged. On second viewing I must also say that Connie Peterson is one of the highlights of the show; despite being rather badly made up -like most of the girls in the flick, one has to admit; the make-up dude was a dick- she dishes out her trademark smile so often, it's amazing. I've always liked Connie P., she was clearly into what she was doing (which, more frequently than not, was something anal :-))]

Sex Goddesses

Just in case I leave you with the impression that they didn't make crap in the Golden Age, let me close today's monster on a low note. "Sex Goddesses": Thinly disguised compilation of Swedish Erotika loops featuring Seka and Juliette Anderson, presented by a bunch of "Greek Gods". The godess Venus is the Very cute Jeniffer West. So far so good: but the "gods" ... ugh! These dudes look like shit. Peter informs me that the the "white guy (wearing glasses) is the one and only William Margold". I wouldn't know; I was to busy squinting and FF'ing every time their ugly mugs filled the screens. He looks pretty dire. Barf.

The gods bring along a couple of mortal women, the "agents of Seka and Juliette" we are told. Maria Tortuga (pretty dire as well) and Sheila (blonde, badly scarred plastic breasts). The problem with a group scene were only 1/5 of the group is cute, is that you don't really enjoy her, plus you sprain a finger or two on the old FF button.

The clips shown are typical Swedish Erotica stuff: extreme closeup, horrible sound, but a bit of heat now and then. With Seka and Juliette in those clips are John Holmes, Jamie Gillis, Don Fernando, Mike Horner and Mike Ranger.

A very poor movie, only recommended to those nuts who feel they must see everything that Seka has done. The rest should steer clear of this little horror.

Rating: 2.05

And that's about it for today, kids. Part 28 is partly written, so it should be posted in a week or so. And gimme feedback! I need the attention :-).
Table of Contents | Part 26 | Part 28 | Copyright(C)


Created: Saturday, November 04, 1995, 11:23:28 AM