Watching many of Joe Sarno's later efforts recently I have begun to wonder about his recent pantheon status in the history of porn, given the low quality of his video output. Watching THE BED was a refreshing reminder that he could crank out quality with the best of them back in his heyday, before hardcore XXX changed the landscape forever.
Odd credits sequence has Connie (Lorraine Claire/Peggy McNair) literally acting out the film's moniker, shown making up beds at a hot sheets motel. She's working with maid Dot (Mrs. Sarno: Peggy Stephans) and the story concerns the strange intrigues going on behind-the-scenes there. Francine Ashley plays Ellen, a mousy brunette teenager, who comes to work there as a maid -she's Connie's cousin.
Eventually baring her small breasts with their pointy nipples, Ellen is a prototypical teaser, and has to endure the come-on by sleazy Russ (Sarno regular Judson Todd). They had previously co-starred in Sarno's THE LOVE MERCHANT, and in fact the familiarity of this cast contributes to an unfortunate sameness here as so many of these mid-'60s Sarno pics flow together: similar plots/visual compositions/casts/soundtracks.
The musical track features a sustained drum beat for suspense or to underscore the disrobing scenes and their attendant teasing quality. One of the best scenes is a lesbian tryst for the great Rita Bennett matched against Barbi Kemp -one designed for the tit men in the adult audience.
SPOILERS AHEAD: It's a fun twist when Mrs. Sarno as Dot emerges as a villain, alongside the more heinous schemer Ellen. Dot gets poor Connie drunk for an orgy with three sleazy guys, where incriminating photos are taken. (In interviews Peggy has indicated that she was often cast as the baddie because she didn't have the big breasts required for a heroine role, but I'd love to see one of her lost non-Sarno movies as lead like DEATH OF A NYMPHET or JUSTINE, which look amazing from their trailers.) Some of the male extras, especially at a party scene, can't act worth a lick and drag the film down. But overall Sarno keeps the melodrama alive, leading to a tense finale with Ellen getting her comeuppance.
Hardly a classic, but prime Sarno.
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