Sunday, August 7, 2011

Pornonomy Reviews: The Story of Joanna

The Story of Joanna (1975)

Directed by:
Gerard Damiano

Starring:
Juliet Graham
Terri Hall
Jamie Gillis
John Bush
John Koven
Roy Carlton
Zebedy Colt

Boy, oh boy, The Story of Joanna is a piece of work. Whether or not it was a conscious decision on Gerard Damiano's part, the film feels like a purposeful attempt to subvert the conventions of pornographic film. In the first 35 minutes, there is only one brief hardcore scene (Gillis, Graham), the last hardcore scene is a solid 15 minutes before the end of the movie, and that's a scene between two men (Gillis, Colt)! Along the way, there's an extended (surprisingly well-done) ballet/modern dance scene, and (more surprisingly) throughout the handful of hardcore scenes, a total lack of traditional "money shots."

Anyone with a passing knowledge of The Story of O will - correctly - assume that The Story of Joanna is about the sexual enlightening/discover of a woman by the guidance of a mysterious man. In this case Jamie Gillis chooses Teri Hall in a restaurant, brings her to his estate, and sets her on the path of physical discovery. Both Graham and Gillis excel in their roles, but knowing Gillis's ability to straddle the line between charming and disgusting, it's too bad that he wasn't pushed harder in his role.

Technically, the film looked great - in particular, the scene between Graham and Colt would have to rank as one of the best shot hardcore scenes I can remember - but suffers from uneven pacing. It's dark in tone, but not as arresting as, say, 3 AM or Damiano's Devil in Miss Jones. I'm glad I saw it, but there's little chance I'll ever revisit (except, maybe, to check out that Graham/Colt scene...). B-

4 comments:

  1. The lack of dialogue really killed this film for me -- all the elements are there for a solid A+, but alas it didn't work. Even the Gillis/Colt scene, which was part of the reason I watched the movie, was lame. Nicely shot, glad I saw it like you, but yep, not gonna watch it again. Nice write-up.

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  2. You have confused Juliet Graham with star Terri Hall. Graham (a blonde) appears in a lesbian scene with Hall (brunette).

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  3. Noted and fixed, Ned. Thanks for pointing that out!

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