1001 Erotic Nights (1982)
Lisa De Leeuw
Phaery I. Burd
Anyone with a passing familiarity with the Middle Eastern/South Asian folktales-within-folktales "One Thousand and One Nights" will have a pretty good idea how this film is constructed. There are some artistic licenses taken, so here's a brief overview:
After discovering that he's being cuckolded by his wife (DeLeeuw) and his trusted advisors (Savage and Silvera), Sultan Chaka Khan* (Leslie) sours on women and, to avoid being duped again, decides to pick a woman from his harem at random to bed down with, having her strangled in the morning. Eventually, he ends up picking Scheherazade (Haven), who, in an effort to not get a morning strangling, spins a series of sexy stories, keeping the Sultan on the edge of his seat.
The idea of using "One Thousand and One Nights" as the framework for a porn is really smart. The commitment to the theme and the production values are top flight. Oddly, the film eschews using well-known stories (Aladdin, Ali Baba) for vignettes that are either "deep cuts" or tales created for the flick. Unfortunately, that's the (relatively minor) shortcoming of the film; while everything around the sex is really solid, the hardcore scenes are kind of underwhelming.
By and large, 1001 Erotic Nights' strengths outweigh the sorta boring sex scenes, and - as opposed to 69 Park Avenue - is the type of film that makes it seem like a review every two and a half days is an achievable goal after all. B
* One oddity is that there are a few touches ("You are here" on the map at the beginning, the Sultan's name, Paul Thomas's "Oh, shit!"s...) that seem like the film may have been intended as a tongue-in-cheek Mel Brooks-like parody. Instead, though, everything is played pretty straight.
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