Monday, December 28, 2020

Erotic Pleasures (1976)

Note: By rights I should have done all the special characters for the French names and words, but I opted to skip all the "Alt +"ing since...well, I didn't feel like it.

Life is tough for three Parisian women. Joelle (Maryline Guillaume) is a student desperate to lose her virginity. Martine (Carole Gire, credited as Chris Martin) is a young housewife who feels trapped by her career-minded husband. And wealthy Arlene (Siegried Cellier) wants to find a true gentleman to love, but only seems to attract men who want to use her for her body and money. In pursuit of their Erotic Pleasures (originally released as Tout pour le plaisir; All for Pleasure), Joelle, Martine, and Arlene learn that their fantasies aren't all they're cracked up to be in reality.

Joelle's quest for deflowering begins when she decides to ditch school and runs into some sort of street tough. When he takes her up to his place, she asks him to teach her how to have sex.

Unbeknownst to her, the ruffian is into submission and humiliation, and can't get it up unless she beats him with a belt. Without sexual experience of her own, she can't know whether his requests to be disciplined are "the way it should be done," and he tells her that since she "hadn't made love before" he's "showing [her] the right way." Frustrated with his act, she gives him the lashes and kicks he's after, but rushes out of his place none the wiser in the ways of balling.

Later, a friend offers to arrange a hang sesh with the friend's brother who, the friend'd been told by her brothers girlfriends, was "a great ball."

After hitting a joint and while vibing out to some sitar jams, the friend convinces Joelle that they should practice what will happen when her brother shows up, culminating with the two of them 69ing on a pretty sweet couch. Unfortunately for Joelle, the brother never shows, because - psych! - her friend doesn't have a brother.

At long last, Joelle's able to get laid when she asks her dream teacher Hector (Andre Miller, credited as Herve Amalou) for a ride home on his motorbike so he can tell her what she missed that day in school. Hector doesn't seem like he'd be the most considerate lover since he didn't bother offering Joelle his helmet when she hops on the back of his hog.

And lo, when they finally get down to it and she's in apparent discomfort, he just keeps on pumping away until he finishes on her stomach. There's a bit of tenderness between them directly after the act, and they have a fine old time, laughing away, while stripping her bed to hide the blood stained fitted sheet that "marked" the occasion of her entering womanhood. But then, Joelle's father comes home and chases Hector out of the apartment, he leaves her a note that merely says "Adieu", so fuck that guy.

After Martine's berated by her husband for making shitty tea, buying the wrong sugar, and just generally keeping poor house, she decides she'll live a little and cheat on her husband. First, she looks up her old flame Eric (Gilles Kervizic) who she remembers as sweet and romantic, but turns out to be a slob that expects her to clean up his place after they screw.

Then, she makes a go of it with a swinging couple (Dolores Manta and some guy) in her building (the husband, apparently, is Martine's husband's best friend, the wife an ex-girlfriend, which is a double whammy of cuckolding), but is understandably put out when the husband takes it upon himself to invite some other dudes to the flat to join the party.

Ultimately, she decides to commit to being a great housewife, only to find that her husband has decided he'll always be more dedicated to his career than his marriage and leaves.

Arlene's first unsuccessful coupling is with a young guy (Louison Boutin) who appears to be crashing with her and is more interested in sipping coffee, smoking a cigarette, and making faces at himself in a mirror than taking her from behind.

Then, he bills her 100 francs per day for his time there. Next, while sharing a cab with a well-dressed man (Dominique Aveline), she engages in some backseat action only to find that the man has forgotten his wallet and she's on the hook for the fare. The guy got two free rides.

At last, Arlene seems to have found the man she's been looking for when a shop clerk tells her that she can't pay with a personal check or credit card and a suave fellow (Guy Royer) insists on paying her bill in cash (based on a couple of historical exchange rate calculators, I think it's around $411 2020 USD, for what that's worth).

The two dip out to a fancy hotel for champagne and afternoon delight, but while Arlene dozes in post-coital bliss, her assumed gentleman robs her blind. Interestingly, we're given a bit of insight into Arlene and her supposed predicament for attracting parasitic men when she returns to her apartment. Without access to her place, she asks to be let in by a man who's wildly in love with her. After he confesses hjs affections and Arlene all but seduces him, she suddenly throws a wad of cash at him accusing him of actually only desiring the money, so he angrily storms out. You have to wonder if her troubles are mostly the result of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Finally, all three women end up at the swinging couple's sex party that presumably got rolling when Martine left earlier.

The scene is a resolution both by being the final scene and where the three women come to terms with what they'd experienced on their day's journey. Joelle is pleasured by the party's hostess. On the one hand, it could just be due to the relative dearth of dicks. On the other, it could indicate Joelle's budding preference for sapphic delights after her earlier g/g rendezvous and being dissed and dismissed by Hector after her first and only "successful" hetero intercourse. My eagle-eyed wife (and sometimes Pornonomy collaborator) pointed out that for the first time since dressing at the start of the film, Arlene took off her boots (especially noteworthy since she was wearing pants, so she'd have had to put them back on after undressing), suggesting she was done searching.

Martine has sex with the same man whose invitation by the hosts earlier offended her to the point of leaving. Has she decided that now, left by her husband, she will start "screwing everybody in Paris"? And Arlene, paired with the host, is pointedly shown reading Guido Crepax's adaptation of the infamous Story of O.

My assumption is that Arlene is using O's journey into submission as a way to accept (and enjoy) being "used" by men for her money.

Basically, she loves being used.

Despite how I've structured this review, the women's stories aren't told one-at-a-time, but rather by rotating focus. The film is very nicely shot though I wouldn't have minded the use of the just-invented Steadicam. Admittedly, the handheld camera work is very French, but there were some parts that verged on motion sickness-inducing. The editing was also great (particularly during the Martine/Eric scene while she was considering the sorry state of Eric's place while they were doing it). And there were some instances of sophisticated and nuanced humor. Unlike Hot Action, the English voice acting was more than acceptable. (Strangely, it seemed like the French audio track was also over-dubbed for some reason, so also unlike Hot Action, I don't think it'd've made a substantial difference watching it in it's native language.)

What's Rimmer say?

[T]he film has a laughing comme-ci-comme-ca sophistication that escapes most American films.

I don't completely disagree, although there was a slight melancholy to the film, underscored by the end. Rather than a raucous orgy that ends in a cavalcade of money shots, the three protagonists are having sex with people they wouldn't have expected or preferred to at the outset of the film, and the camera simply focuses in on the record player as the credits roll.

The only thing Rob whiffed on is that he said that the film took place over a few days, whereas it was definitely only one day.

This is the second French film I've watched as a part of this endeavor and I'd say I enjoyed Erotic Pleasures about five times more than Hot Action (although looking back I may have been slightly harsher in my rating than was warranted), so objectively I should rate it around CC50, but subjectively, I'll bump it up to CC25.

° Four of the seven men with sex scenes in Erotic Pleasures were also in Hot Action (Andre Miller, Dominique Aveline, Guy Royer, and Jacques Gatteau). There was no overlap in the women.

° The box copy claims that Erotic Pleasures was director Francis Leroi's first x-rated film, but IAFD lists him as a co-director (with Frederic Lansac) of 1975's Pussy Talk. Among Lansac's brief filmography is a movie from 1977 called Big Fuck, which is a hilarious title.

° Francis Leroi is credited with twenty films. Eighteen were released between 1975 and 1982. The final two had nine (1991) and ten (2001) years between them. I wonder what he was up to the rest of that time.

° Martine calls Eric a dentist and he condescendingly corrects her by saying he's an "orthopedic specialist". I think they meant "orthodontic" though, because he has photos of bridgework on his wall and insists they both brush their teeth before having sex.

° Joelle's innocence was really magnified right before she lost her virginity. First, she has a swing in her room, and then she points to her bed and tells Hector, "That's a young girl's bed. Nothing's happened there yet."


Next in line:

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Corporate Assets (1985)

Paul Verhoeven would love Corporate Assets. There is high drama, wide swings in tone, and a wilder final six-ish minutes than about any adult film I've ever seen.

Tish Ambrose stars as Jill, an employee of the Beutel company. Jill is in charge of a small group of women offered as prizes to top-performing employees and influential men in business and politics at the whim of Beutel bigwig J.W. Sieverson (R. Bolla). While Lisa's the madame, of sorts, she's also expected to be available to men, as dictated by J.W. The harem are jaded, only-out-for-number-one Morgana (Rachel Ashley), sweet, romantic Tanya (Amber Lynn), and brash newcomer Babette (Sheri St. Clair), whose inability to fall in line ultimately has her broken - mentally and physically - by Louis (Herschel Savage), J.W.'s strong-arm thug.

For 12 years, Jill has had a penpal relationship with Winston (Eric Edwards), who was a POW in Vietnam alongside Lisa's brother, who was killed trying to escape. After the war, Winston wrote Jill to tell her what happened to her brother, and over the years, through their letters, they fell in love. With the urging of his "ol' country shrink" (Nick Random in a non-sex role), Winston travels to Los Angeles to meet Jill at long last, in an effort to get him past the visions of war that have plagued him.

We're given a glimpse of his recurring nightmare, which is revealed - during an argument with Jill, later - to be way darker than it initially seemed.

Jill never told Winston what she did for a living, so things are complicated when he shows up at Beutel asking after her. She's ready to move on from her role as madame and make a life with Winston, but J.W. is unwilling to let her out from under his thumb and has Louis keep tabs on her.

The cast is really great. R. Bolla plays J.W. with a cold ruthlessness. While he seems to express a degree of humanity, expressing admiration and affection for Jill during a poolside scene, his later actions left me wondering if he was genuine, or whether it was just the manipulation and gaslighting employed by an abuser....

Eric Edwards's Winston has a vulnerable sincerity. The worldweariness of Jill is palpable even while Ambrose portrays her as a consumate professional. Sheri St. Clair won some awards (1986 AVN Best Acress, 1985 CAFA Best Supporting Actress; I'd say the latter was more deserving than the former. Tish Ambrose or even Rachel Ashely would have been more deserving of Best Actress) as Babette. I'd posit that of all the actors, while Babette's fractured character may have experienced the biggest change (a statement debatable itself), her performance was the slightest. Many surprisingly deep characters were played with better care and nuance.

At 105 minutes (the Vinegar Syndrome release), Corporate Assets is well over my preferred 75-80 minute length, but I didn't feel there was a lot of fat to be cut. In fact, I did a quick comparison against the ~88 minute Vidco release, and what was left out of the shorter version were non-sex elements that would have weakened the story, for sure. I think there were a few of the hardcore scenes that could have been trimmed, but I felt most of the scenes were in service of the story.

Rimmer's take:

This one is so superior to many adult films that you may keep thinking it could have been better, especially if the character J.W. Sieverson...had been better developed.

If all the unrelated sex had been eliminated and the time devoted to a real tug of war between J.W.- not as a totally nasty man but a man who discovers belatedly his need for a loving woman - and Jill and Winston, this would have been a better film.

I don't disagree, necessarily, but I find it interesting that for all of the time Rimmer spends focusing on what women watching the films he reviews will respond to, he advises changing what is essentially a female-focused character piece into a film about J.W.

As for errors, Rimmer misinterpreted an early scene in which Bill Saunders (Harry Reems) has a heart attack during sex with Morgana and Tanya as an assassination orchestrated by J.W. rather than an accident during his "reward" for strong sales.

Corporate Assets also has the distinction of being an AVN 500 pick. They say:

Writer/director Thomas Paine uses common sense to incorporate veteran post-war trauma, the coupling of big business and government, and the sacrifice of emotional morals for material secruity, without drastically burdening the film or creating a grossly contrived product. The situations appear realistic and the dialogue natural; the plot's realism is the film's greatest asset.

High praise to which I agree, so: CC10.

° Another film where Eric Edwards is cured of impotence (see: Center Spread Girls).

° And another film with an Edwards-featured simulated sex scene (see: Virgin and the Lover).

° Tish Ambrose is in the same face family as Jane Pauley and Brie Larson.

° The romantic sex scene between Jill and Winston in Winston's mountain cabin was cut as a montage and bordered on self-parody. I wouldn't be surprised if it was an inspiration for the sex scene in Team America: World Police.

° Rachel Ashley is a smokeshow.


Up next:

Ah, oui, oui! Back to France.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Virgin and the Lover (1973)

Ah, if only Virgin and the Lover had been made in 1983 and not 1973. In a January 1988 Adam Film World article, director Kemal Horulu was praised for his "deep, complex, interesting" films and European story telling. Horulu says he "concentrate[s] on the story and [tries] to make things pretty." Given the rave reviews of Lustful Feelings (1977), Woman in Love (1978), and Blue Ecstasy (1980) accompanying the article Horulu seems to have figured out how to make compelling hardcore films. It's really too bad he didn't have his ducks in a row earlier.

The log line Vinegar Syndrome gave Virgin and the Lover ("A filmmaker lives in a sensual dreamworld in which he is torn between love for a beautiful woman and strange desires for a female mannequin.") only scratches the surface. On paper, the film is about gender norms, fragile masculinity, and mental health. On film, those themes get lost in a meandering, muddled mess.

Eric Edwards plays Paul, a filmmaker dating his therapist's (Reggi Defoe) secretary, Julie (Leah Marlon). Julie also has a less serious, primarily physical relationship with bohemian actor/photographer Andy (Jonathan John, who looks like a Rankin/Bass character).

Julie would like to ditch Andy (and semi-successfully tries to pawn him off on her coworker Joyce - Olinka Podany) for Paul, but is exasperated by Paul's reluctance towards physical intimacy.

Through his conversations with Dr. Tracy, we're told that until three years earlier, Paul was a virgin. He "had always been intimidated by women. The terrible specter of sexual failure clung to [him] with dead fingers." While attending a masquerade dressed as a woman, Paul was seduced by a woman dressed as a man. After his lover died in a car crash, Paul's crippling fear of sexual intimacy returned and he could only find lust and satisfaction by dressing a mannequin in his partner's masquerade outfit while wearing the dress he donned to the party. Interestingly, the mannequin didn't just function as an avatar for his lost love, but became any woman Paul was drawn to, including Stephanie (Darby Lloyd Rains), an actress from a lesbian porno Paul was working on (how a man with such a complex surrounding sex ended up making porn wasn't explored or explained) and Sandra (Susan Sloan), a former model turned horse carriage driver (totally normal career trajectory). Ultimately, in an effort to understand Paul, Julie throws ethics to the wind, reads Dr. Tracy's notes, and uses her newfound insight to seal the proverbial deal, and then she and Paul lived happily ever after.

Arguably more compelling than Virgin and the Lover itself, the film-within-the-film, Two Women, Parts I & II, deserves some attention. 


About it, Paul says:

I had never made a film about lesbians, even though the theme had always fascinated me. It seemed to me that the quality of their love was different. Deeper. More Erotic. The mystery of a woman's love for a woman. It's depth; passion; it's fulfilment were facets of the human condition I could barely imagine. Still the mystery of that private world stimulated me. Rarely had any sexual manifestation proven so exciting.

Two Women features Darby Lloyd Raines and Jennifer Welles as roommates. If I had to hazard a guess, they'd rate 5.5 and 1.6 on the Kinsey Scale, respectively. That is, Stephanie (DLR) being between "Predominantly homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual and Exclusively homosexual", and Lynn (Welles) between "Predominantly heterosexual, only incidentally homosexual and Predominantly heterosexual, but more than incidentally homosexual." In Part I, Darby assumes a stereotypically female role, preparing dinner (which amounts to dumping a bag of potato chips on a plate and lighting some candles) and getting angry at Jennifer for being late without calling. "I can understand a man playing games like this, but a woman shouldn't be so devious."

Stephanie's attitude softens when she realizes that Lynn is upset and frustrated (read: horny) since her date declined to come up to their apartment. After Lynn takes a shower, Stephanie pours her a glass of wine and offers to "take the edge off" Lynn's frustration. Paul screens Part I after declining to accompany Julie up to her apartment after a date (though Julie doesn't get her edge taken off by another woman, but rather by Andy), and is then finds his mannequin assuming the guise of Stephanie.

Part II has Stephanie assuming a typically male role, sporting a not insubstantial strap-on. Interestingly, after securing the harness, there's a very deliberate shot of her putting on a shirt; the black and red in the pattern suggest the outfit Paul's mannequin wears.

Before they get it on, Lynn asks Stephanie what pleasure she'll get from their tryst and Stephanie answers, "The satisfaction of giving you pleasure." After getting Lynn off, Stephanie dips over to a beside chair for a rather aggressive masturbation scene, pleading for Stephanie to "help [her] come." This time, after watching the scene, instead of returning to his place for a fantasy romp with either Lynn or Stephanie, he wanders the streets, saying in voice over "For some obscure reason, the film now depressed me. I felt terribly lonely." The only difference between the turn on of Part I and the turn off of Part II was the inclusion of the phallic object.

When he does return home, he goes through the process of dressing and making himself up and starts dancing with the mannequin who takes the form of Julie.

It turns out, though, that it actually is Julie, who has presumably has dressed as the mannequin. It's a little disconcerting to think that Paul was unable to differentiate between fantasy and reality. Every scene before, it was obvious that Paul was aware that the mannequin was inanimate and that he'd drift off into fantasy where she'd become "real". Here, though, he's dealing with a flesh and blood woman from the outset and projects her as lifeless.

While there are certainly scenes and themes that lend themselves to deeper thought and conversation, Virgin and the Lover ultimately suffers from:

1. A first-draft script. A lot of the voice over narration and dialog tries too hard to seem "literary" with more misses than hits. The opening credits state that the film's an adaptation of a French Novellette, but the French National Library doesn't support that claim.

2. Substandard simulated sex scenes. Adult films often lean too heavily on penetration close ups, sure. But at least those allow for the camera to cut to something. Here, with nearly half the "action" scenes being simulated, there are only so many angles that can be shot and pretty much all of them end up too long by half. Leah Marlon is credited as having a "non-sex" role, but if the final scene between her and Edwards was simulated, it was at least convincing. The same can't be said for the scenes with Jonathan John who seemed to have a tenuous at best notion for how genitalia fit together.

3. An unnecessary hardcore scene with Marc Stevens, Helen Madigan, and Julia Sorel. Chartiably speaking, the inclusion could function as a juxtaposition of the freewheeling promiscuity of Julie's friends (her past/present) and the conservative, reserved nature of Paul (her future). With rare exception, scenes with Marc Stevens just make me a little sad. I doubt he ever really came to terms with his sexuality and often seemed to struggle to maintain an erection with women, particularly problematic for someone so intent on branding himself as "Mr. 10 1/2".

4. A 90-minute run time. While Center Spread Girls was an outlier Virgin and the Lover reaffirmed my position that 75 minutes is the longest an X-rated film needs to be.

5. Inconsistent narration. Sure, "show don't tell" is generally a good rule, but I don't really have a bias against voice over. The problem here is that 92% of the voice over is Paul's perspective, 6% is Julie's, and 2% is the doctor's. Either the story only should have been from Paul's perspective, or the other characters should have had more to say.

Welp, let's see what Bobby Rimmer-roo has to say:

It has a...psychological story line that keeps you interested throughout th efilm, plus exceptional sexmaking, cinematography and good acting. Horolu [sic] gives a sense of reality to most of his films that keeps you watching.

Agree to disagree on the "exceptional sexmaking". In his review, Rimmer titles the film Virgin & Her Lover and somehow dates the film as 1980, though he does state that he has "a feeling that this film was made a few years earlier." He also claims that "[t]he virgin is a mannequin!" (see also his erroneous title) which, yeah, I don't think so. The likeliest explanation for the title is that it's basically nonsense that sounds like it could've been a French book. My next best guess is that Paul is the virgin since he was one until his ill-fated relationship with the woman from the masquerade and has effectively been one since. Anyway, like so many films I've watched since (re)starting this blog, Virgin and the Lover is a few tweaks away from a very, very good film, but as it is, it'll rate a CC100.

° There was a Turkish Olympian named Kemal Horulu that was born in 1926. Same guy? Sure! Why not?

° Darby Lloyd Raines reminds me of a kind of mean grade school bus driver.

° At one point, Julie tells Paul, "I do like you so much. I could eat a whole apple pie!" What the fuck does that mean?

° The truly rotten make up job on Olinka Podanny makes it look like she has five o'clock shadow.

° Kemal Horulu sure seemed obsessed with getting actresses into bridge pose.

° The opening credits show two characters named Polly, but Darby Lloyd Rains is definitely named Stephanie. Initially, I thought maybe she was playing an actress named Polly playing a character named Stephanie, but Jennifer Welles is credited as playing Lynn which is her name in Two Women, so the credits must've just been an oversight since it would've been nuts to name two characters "Polly", the 374th most popular name for girls born in 1950.


Next up:

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Center Spread Girls (1982)

"There's enough heat in this room to make eunuchs come and nuns dance naked in the rectory!"

When Morality Over Madness ("M.O.M. Wants What's Good For You") threatens Panther magazine publisher Sue Forbes (Georgina Spelvin) with blackmail, a group of professionally successful former centerfolds come to her aid. Led by attorney Jane Mohr (Veronica Hart) the ladies - including actor Beverly Martine (Annette Haven), reporter Ellie Parker (Desiree Cousteau), painter Vee Beachem (Lisa De Leeuw), and photographer Anne (Tara Aire) - are assigned (alone or in pairs) an M.O.M. member whose mind is to be changed regarding the so-called pornographic nature of the magazine. The targets are judge Roy Hammer (R. Bolla), "reformed" porn star Lyndon Loveless (Eric Edwards), Reverend W.W. Williams (Paul Thomas), rich a-hole Thurman Parrish (Frank Hollowell) [or, well, maybe his wife Louella? (Jesie St. James); more on that later], and newly-elected governor businessman Hamilton "Ham" Osmond (Michael Morrison).

Robert McCallum's Center Spread Girls has a killer cast who looked and acted great. Not only do the expected actors turn in quality performances (Spelvin, Bolla, Hart, Haven, etc.), but Tara Aire reminded me what an underrated gem she was and Desiree Cousteau was surprisingly solid in one of the few (only?) roles I can recall where she wasn't an airhead. The first few sex scenes (Lisa De Leeuw/Mike Horner; Tara Aire/Jon Martin) were pedestrian at best, but most of the rest were good to very good. Based on natural chemistry, the best may have been when Beverly cures Lyndon of his years-long impotence and when Jane and Judge Hammer finally confront their conflicting feelings and get down to doin' the hibbidy dibbidy.

Annette Haven and Eric Edwards were so good together, I was shocked to find they'd only appeared in four films together: Love You, Center Spread Girls, Bodies in Heat, and Sheer Haven. I figured they may have at least had some loops together, but that doesn't seem to be the case either. Weird. Veronica Hart and R. Bolla, on the other hand, appeared in ten films together including three more McCallum features: the all-timer Amanda by Night, Indecent Exposure, and Society Affairs.

There were a few narrative missteps:

A. The Carson sisters (Jacqueline Brooks - the film's sole subpar actor - and Lily Rodgers) who were assigned Ham spy him in a "governor/...I don't know, sexy Uncle Sam?" roleplay:

...and also pose as representatives of a senator who wants Ham to know he has "national political potential" as a ruse to get him in a light bondage scenario that's documented (via notes, not photos), by the secretary (then dressed as a biker chick slash necromancer).

One of the two would have sufficed for the"persuasion" plot, but including both gives any Michael Morrison devotees out there an extra helping. Morrison is truly an inspiration to chubby, averagely endowed men everywhere and was low-key one of the era's most impressive ejaculators.

2. During a progress meeting with the crew, Jane mentions she's hired a messenger service to deliver the M.O.M. members the evidence the ladies have accrued, but when the time comes, it's Beverly in disguise who delivers the messages, and even then as a ruse to swap out videotapes that got mixed up.

Now that I think about it, the only plausible explanation for how Beverly got the uniform is that she intercepted the actual messenger and swapped clothes (though, face it, that's a bellhop uniform). I'm going to assume that the scene was either left on the cutting room floor or was never shot due to time constraints.

D. The Parrishes' role in M.O.M. could have been better explained. At the outset, I assumed conservative, chauvinist Thurman was the member, but after Vee and Anne help Luella discover she's a lesbian, Thurman ties her up and says he'll take her place at the press conference.

Despite those minor quibbles Center Spread Girls is a resounding success. The plot is light, the pacing is brisk (recently, I've gotten leery of adult films longer than 80 minutes, but even at nearly 90 this one is well edited and never bogs down), and the climactic press conference scene hits all the notes of the smug antagonists being undone by the plucky underdogs, akin to, like, Animal House or a Police Academy movie.

I do wish that the final scene, where publisher Sue gets her "pound of flesh" apology from M.O.M. had actually been the scorcher four-way that was hinted at.

The actors (Spelvin, Edwards, PT, and Morrison) were certainly capable. Instead, the scene was cut to in media res with Lyndon already fucked into oblivion and nowhere to be seen. The brief action is fine, just a bit anticlimactic.

Stop! Rimmer time!

Can you put six top female porno stars in a film, an equal number of male actors, and give everyone time to act in an integrated story line as well as copulate? It ain't easy! But Lime [producer Harold] Lime and McCallum have done it.

The denoument is silly, and of course the plot is too - but it all hangs together. Most women will laugh. If it's one of the first tapes you buy or rent, it will introduce you to quite a few of the top stars, whom you will see again and again.

Agreed! Though it's always hilarious to me when Rimmer talks about what "most women" may do or think. It's pretty apparent that I enjoyed the hell out of this film, so I'm going to go buck wild and give Center Spread Girls a CC10!


° The Lyndon Loveless/Linda Lovelace angle wasn't overdone (the name/former porn star as morality crusader and Loveless refering to his "ordeal" was about the extent of it) and certainly didn't seem vindictive (Loveless was a sympathetic character). Still not a great look winking and nodding at an (alleged, sure, but probable) abuse survivor, especially through today's "believe women" lens.

° The metatextual moments in the Haven/Edwards scene were great. Beverly wants to watch one of Loveless's movies while they screw (the scene is the Edwards/Brooke Wet, Arcadia Lake scene from Amanda by Night). It's a neat touch that's smarter than recycling a loop for a feature. It reminded me of how Scrubs used Neil Flynn's minor role in The Fugitive as part of the backstory of Janitor.

Then, while Beverly's leaving and thinking about Loveless's assertion that she could be a "porno star", she says, "No, I couldn't carry it off," then looks directly to camera and adds, "Who'd ever believe it?"

Good luck finding any mention of Haven from then to now that doesn't mention her "traditional" Hollywood beauty or her classy demeanor.