Friday, April 29, 2011

Pornonomy Reviews: Tell Them Johnny Wadd Is Here

Tell Them Johnny Wadd Is Here (1976)

Directed by:
Bob Chinn

Annette Haven
Felecia Sanda
Joan Devlon
Veronica Taylor
John Holmes
Tyler Reynolds

The Wadd film following Tropic of Passion (although apparently released after Liquid Lips, which was shot after TTJWIH), Tell Them is light years better, technically. It opens with a shot of a man (later revealed to be Wadd's buddy, a cop named Sam Kelly - Damon Christian, non-sex) getting an oyster ceviche from a Mexican street vendor. The scene could have been edited down by half, but it was still an interesting open and was the spiritual kin of Harry Callahan getting his hot dog or Frank Bullitt grocery shopping. Kelly puts in a call to Wadd hoping to get his help down ol' Mexico way in finding and rescuing his (Kelly's) junkie ex-wife, Doreen.

Following a typical "baby, please don't go" seen between Wadd and his girl (Annette Haven), Wadd heads down to Mexico to help Kelly. Along the way, with the help of the local police captain (Carlos Tobalina), the track the drug operation up the ladder from a gangster named Ringo to American kingpin Travis Elliot (Reynolds), who has Doreen under his control.

The film has an authentically gritty feel and puts the location shooting to much better use than Tropic's Hawaii locales. The story is more involved that Tropic (though considerably less intricate/muddled than Blonde Fire). The part of the film that really lingers, though, is the unavoidably ironic final scene: a lonesome on-the-beach number with a voiceover bemoaning people's dependence on hard drugs narrated by user and abuser Holmes. Possibly just hindsight and projection, but it's hard to shake the feeling that the script was tailored as an indirect plea from Chinn to Holmes....

The final final shot, post credits, is a "But Johnny Wadd will return in..." that is a nice nod to the Bond series. You know, as a point of interest. B

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