Friday, June 5, 2020

Thoroughly Amorous Amy (1978)

Deep in the bosom of city life
There lives a certain husband's wife
Who's found a better way to spend her days
Just one knock upon her door
May leave you splayed across the floor
Without so much as a single word or phrase

She's thoroughly amorous Amy!
Thoroughly amorous Amy!

She's a girl whose learned how to make life fun
She's a girl who tends to come undone

She's thoroughly amorous Amy!
Thoroughly amorous Amy!

All the people upon her block
Will be in for a pleasant shock
When mischief finds the mistress all alone
In the closet or down the hall
It really doesn't matter at all
No rules need apply where seeds are sown

She's thoroughly amorous Amy!
Thoroughly amorous Amy!

If I had to hazard a guess at the elevator pitch for this film, it would be: there's a San Francisco housewife that unwittingly attracts so much sexual attention that she's terrible at actually keeping house. The theme song, sung by Sigrid Wurschmidt, and the opening scene - the titular Amy (Tracy O'Neil) jogs through San Francisco hills, a beach, parks, a tavern, and streets collecting gentlemen (and a woman) admirers leading back to her townhouse - show the first part, and all of the shots of the interior demonstrate the second. (As an aside, I always appreciate a porno with an original theme song.)

The film features a procession of people - two of the guys Amy pied pipered during the opening credits ("guy" and Billy Dee), a cop (Mick Jones), a vacuum salesman (Rock Steadie), an Avon lady (Dia L'Eclaire), family friend Tom (Paul Thomas), Amy's husband Brent (Peter Johns), Tom's wife, Marge (Kristine Heller), and her sister, Ellen (Candida Royalle) - knocking on Amy's door and getting splayed out on her floor before being hidden away in a closet after one sex scene and before the next. There's got to be a name for this narrative trope ("successive hiding?"), and while it must have existed before the late '70s, the Jiggle Era of Three's Company seems to be the heyday. The first 45 and last 3 minutes of the film fit squarely within that plot device, complete with blaming off-screen sounds on something else (rats, in this case), and a character escaping out the back door and (re)entering through the front (Tom, here).

Interestingly, the 30 minutes that aren't hiding-related hijinks are the film's high point, sex and otherwise. The scene almost feels like a play: Tom seduces Ellen by discussing the death of his twin brother at birth (?!?), guessing that she's unable to find affection in Boise, Idaho, and admitting that he and Marge had been fantasizing and role-playing sex with her in the lead up to her visit. Other than it being her living room and a few cutaway shots, the titular Amy has nothing to do with this scene.

Tom (Paul Thomas) smooth talking sister-in-law Ellen (Candida Royalle)

In my opinion, even though it feels like it's from a different movie altogether, it's this part that actually elevates Thoroughly Amorous Amy as a whole. There's certainly a fun, light movie to be made of what the elevator pitch may have been, but what actually ended up on film isn't it. I had forgotten how underwhelmed I was with the pre-Tom/Ellen/Marge movie until I went back to the beginning to review for Robert Rimmer doesn't really explain what constitutes a "Collector's Choice" designation, admitting to the trickiness of the rating since "[o]ne man's cup of tea is another man's poison." (Though he does say that films not deemed CC have "boring...story-line quality and characterization" implying those that are CC have compelling stories and/or characters.) I would have assumed that it was the Thomas/Royalle/Heller scene that qualified, but his synopsis focuses primarily on the Amy portion and says that "the story of the insatiable Amy suddenly falls apart. The guy's wife and sister arrive and the her amyl nitrate to sniff and screws her while his wife and Amy watch. It all ends up in group sex with Amy's husband joining the fray. But some of it is happily silly." Reductive and inaccurate*, as far as I'm concerned.

This was one of director Carlos DeSantos's earlier films, and I think it shows with the pacing and some of the less-than-ideal camera angles in the non-sex scenes. Looking over his filmography, I believe I've only seen one other film (The Seven Seductions of Mme. Lau) but only have the vaguest recollection. I do recall it being more technically sophisticated, which would make sense since it was a few years and films after Amy. Theoretically, I'll be able to find out since Mme. Lau is one of DeSantos's four CC films [along with this entry, The Liberation of Honeydoll Jones (1977), and Soft as Silk, Sweet as Honey (1984)]. I guess it's all up to the randomizer!

Being the first entry of my Collectors' Choice Review (name subject to change), I'm going to try out a quality designation (also subject to change...or be abandoned completely). Specifically, if an imagined person was going to start an Old Porn collection, how large of a collection would it need to be before the film could reasonably be included. By that criteria, I'll give Thoroughly Amorous Amy a CC250 (so if the collection was 250 films total, it wouldn't be an egregious inclusion).

* It may seem petty and nitpicky to dunk on Rimmer for mistakes he makes, but I'm going to do it anyway. While I believe he was subjectively wrong in his summation of the penultimate scene, he makes an objective mistake in the entry in his book: he counts "guy" in the first scene as two guys - one in a hammock and one on a waterbed - when it's very obviously the same actor. 


° When I saw the opening credits, given the commonplace practice of actors' names changing from film to film, I expected Dia L'Eclaire to actually be Clair Dia. She was, in fact, not, though I'd bet dollars to donuts the former was a play on the latter.

° Tracy O'Neil has a great example of what I call "young grandma" face, which is where you can tell exactly what a young woman will look like when she's 70:

The features tend to be some combination of thin lips, prominent cheekbones, square jawline, pointy nose, and/or sharp chin.

° Paul Thomas treats us to some next level sex facery:


Okay! Post one in the books. Now, it's time to fire up the random number app and see what's in store for post numero dos.

And the winner is:

Okey doke. See you soon!

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