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Georgina Spelvin..thousands of anonymous actors traditionally used George Spelvin as a pseudonym..there are so many in-jokes in this film that I catch a new one with each viewing..in the porn field, it's like casting pearls before swine. This film is easily the best hardcore sex programmer ever made, and I'm gonna tell you why..the actors could actually act, the cutting is as good as any B movie, and the dialogue is sane and pertinent to the plot. It's on celluloid, which makes it look like a real movie (which it was), and all the people in it look like genuine human beings. OK, so where does the bad rap it's suffered come in? Well, most porn consumers want gorgeous girls and hot sex with no moralizing..and most film critics won't give a porn film a review at all. Admittedly, this is no Citizen Kane, but it stands head and shoulders above the asinine general run of sex films. Watch the suicide scene, compare it with mainstream treatments of the same subject, and you decide..is it art? I think so...
I was surprised to find so many reviews for a hardcore porn film...but, given the high quality of "The Devil in Miss Jones", maybe this shouldn't have come as such a shock. "DiMJ" actually works as a legitimate film--it's almost like a long episode of Rod Serling's "Night Gallery" with sex. The acting is quite good (watch for director Gerard Damiano as a Beckettian tormentee in Hell at the end of the film) and the atmosphere is wonderful. Yes, folks, the movie is SUPPOSED to be disturbing! Damiano was trying to tell a story of which sex just happened to be a part, so Jenna Jameson fans beware: you'll actually have to slog your way through a storyline here. Not a blonde to be found in the entire film, either. High points: the suicide scene, the ending, the moody soundtrack, Harry Reems' scenes as the menacing "Teacher"...and Georgina Spelvin, Miss Justine Jones herself. She is, in a word, superlative.
I don't watch very many adult films, but this was well worth sitting
through for performance, dialogue and concept alone. Lonely, middle
aged Justine Jones (Georgina Spelvin) decides to end her own life by
slitting her wrists in the bathtub. When she awakens she finds herself
bargaining for her place in the hereafter with the pleasant but stern
Mr. Abaca (John Clemens), an afterlife social worker or sorts. He tells
her she's already sealed her fate by committing suicide but since she
lived a virtually sin-free existence otherwise, he'll let her
experience lust and sexual pleasure for a brief period of time before
her stint in hell commences. Miss Jones then enters a doorway for a
series of sexual adventures, starting with learning the basics of human
sexuality from 'Teacher' Harry Reems. The scenes following involve the
expected couplings; a straight scene, a lesbian scene and two scenes
with multiple partners - as well as a few more imaginative solo scenes
of Justine learning how to pleasure herself with a water hose, a bowl
of fruit and a snake. Some of these sequences are given distinction
through sound and setting. For instance, there's no music accompanying
the lesbian scene, just the sound of howling wind; a simple yet
effective other-worldly touch. The water hose scene takes place in a
filthy, grimy bathtub, which is a reflection of how sex can be
temporary escape, no matter how ugly and miserable your surroundings.
By the time her introduction to the joys of sex concludes, Justine has
won back her will to live and is pleading for a second chance, but
finds herself trapped in a distinct and disturbing version of personal
No, the sex scenes aren't especially erotic, but who said every film incorporating hardcore sex had to be erotic? In fact, the first twenty minutes of this film are virtually sex free. And no, Georgina Spelvin looks nothing like today's porno stars. She middle aged and doesn't look like she just emerged from a Barbie Doll cloning factory. She can also act. This film simply would not have worked with a bad actress in the lead, as the role requires someone capable of showing a variety of different emotions; depression, frigidity, innocence, discovery and, ultimately, anguish and despair. Spelvin does this role justice and it's easy to see why she went on to an acclaimed and respected career in the adult industry.
This film probably isn't for everyone out there, but it's worthwhile to the right kind of audience; particularly those who think there can be more to hardcore films than a series of sex scenes carelessly and cheaply strung together for an easy profit.
This is what a sex film should be like. Even though the sex is central to the story, the story extends beyond the sex. Just as an action film needn't be all action, the sex scenes can be made more interesting by the context in which they are set. The high production values and memorable music add to the enjoyment. The sex scenes themselves, while at times very explicit, favor the sensual over the graphic. The scene with the snake and an oily lesbian encounter are stand-outs. Many consider the scene in which Spelvin takes on two men at once to be the highlight, but I would disagree. Up until this point the sex has seemed to be a natural expression of Justine's growing lust, but here the performers appear to be just showing off for the cameras. The wraparound Hell sequence is worthy of "The Twilight Zone".
Despite the fact this is a graphic hardcore sex movie..especially for 1973
anyway..it still doesnt feel like pornography. It's almost an art house
horror movie. There is nothing remotly sexual or erotic about it. Just
disturbing..which seems to be the point it was making. I've watched this
with friends and even DEBATED on it...who debates porno. The cheaply shot
dark lighting , grainy film adds to the disturbing qualities of the
movie..much better than modern guerilla porn of today.A worth watching
It was this film as well as "Behind the Green Door " and "Deep Throat" that led some mainstream critics, Roger Ebert included, to begin to take porno films seriously. It was a movement, speared mainly by Marylin Chambers, that was known as "porno chic." Lines would form at porno movie houses and would occasionally include celebrities. Openings mights might include spotlights, the stars emerging from limos, etc. However, the introduction of videotape seems to have ended it all (well portrayed in "Boogie Nights"). The adult film industry has for the most part gone downhill since this so-called "golden age." The DP scene so daringly depicted in the film is commonplace today.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
After DEEP THROAT's devastating success shook people's perceptions of
porn as some sort of ghetto-bound form of entertainment, its director
Gerard Damiano in turn twisted those same people's expectations by
radically changing course and creating what is still one of the most
thought-provoking adult films of all time. Though it has been the
inspiration for a Swiss soft-core reworking (Erwin C. Dietrich's DER
TEUFEL IN MISS JONAS) and a mostly forgotten gay porn adaptation (THE
DEVIL AND MR JONES, duh !), not to mention five "official" sequels and
a recent remake (Paul Thomas' glossy THE NEW DEVIL IN MISS JONES with
Jenna Jameson and Savanna Samson as the Horned One and Miss Jones
respectively), the original has lost none of its power to shock over
more than three decades. Of course, much of this is thanks to the truly
amazing Georgina Spelvin delivering one of the most awe-inspiring
acting and sexual performances the world has ever witnessed. A former
chorus line dancer named Michelle "Shelly" Graham (spelling varies
according to source), she entered the adult industry at a relatively
advanced age in her late thirties and went on to prove that
experience (she'd been married and a mom before entering a same sex
relationship with porno performer Judith Hamilton) can make a real
woman far more sexually interesting than any prettier and younger girl
could ever hope to be.
The movie opens on Spelvin as Justine Jones, a lonely spinster pushing forty, wordlessly preparing her suicide by slashing her wrists in the bathtub as Linda November's soothing vocals wail the absolutely haunting "I'm Coming Home" on the soundtrack. As life's blood drains from her slumping body, she's suddenly transported to the office of Mr Abaca (character actor John Clemens who played leading lady Tamie Trevor's husband in Danny Stone's HIGH RISE) without any memories of her prior actions. It turns out she's at some sort of halfway house between Heaven and Hell where it'll be determined where she should go. While she has lived a spotless life of chastity ("I haven't even done that "), the taking of her own life makes her ineligible for an eternity in Paradise. She's not expected at either place for a few days anyway, so Abaca grants her the opportunity to experience every form of sexual perversion in the netherworld so she'll at least deserve her damnation.
Guided along by the Teacher (THROAT's Dr Young himself, Harry Reems, in a solemn performance as far removed from that zany character as can be imagined), Justine discovers most erotic variations known to man (oral, straight and rectal penetration in groups of two and three of both men and women) and her gleeful responses to each new experience provide most of those scenes' turn-on value. Real life lover Hamilton (also with Spelvin in Gary Graver's excellent 3 A.M.) supplies the Sapphic action with the howling wind adding an eerie touch. The only other female, Sue Flaken (from Lloyd Kaufman's hard to see XXX musical THE NEW COMERS aka SEVEN DELICIOUS WISHES), playfully fights Spelvin for oral dominance over the massive member of Marc Stevens (who made a memorable Jacob Marley in Costello's PASSIONS OF CAROL), the latter returning for the legendary "sandwich" scene with Georgina and Levi Richards of A DIRTY WESTERN notoriety. Rumor has it that both "studs" were so nervous that the actress had to convince them the actual shooting was just a rehearsal, encouraging and talking them through the whole act ! Inevitably, Miss Jones winds up in Hell, a white-chalked dungeon of never ending boredom, the only escape of which is obsessive lunacy as demonstrated by Damiano's cameo turn as Georgina's cell mate trying to focus on an imaginary fly while the woman tries to tempt him with her fleshy wares.
Deep and downbeat (a reason the film has generated as many detractors as it has followers), DEVIL IN MISS JONES is a rare adult film that once seen can never be truly erased from memory. Plot (liberally "borrowed" from Sartre's HUIS CLOS a/k/a NO EXIT), acting and production were unlike anything experienced by audiences at the time, illustrating Damiano's huge gamble that pretty much generated the whole subsequent "Golden Age" deal, roughly encompassing the remainder of the '70s and the first half of the '80s. Time has not dulled its effect one iota. Spelvin's dramatic intensity still makes you feel Justine's despair at having (wrongheadedly, perhaps ?) lived a life of sin-free purity and her sexual performance scorches anything in its path. Anyone genuinely interested in the history of porn cinema should start his studies right here. The only downside being that this masterpiece will spoil you for life !
Devil in Miss Jones isn't your regular pornographic movie, it's dark,
depressing, not very erotic and sometimes disturbing. The movie opens
with Justine Jones (Georgina Spelvin), a lonely virgin spinster who
slits her wrists in the bathtub. Because she has lived sinless life,
she finds herself in limbo where Mr. Abaca (John Clemens) informs her
that she can't qualify for Heaven and she hasn't sinned enough for
Hell. After a discussion, Mr. Abaca decided that Miss Jones may return
to the world for a short time to experience the sensual gratification.
Devil in Miss Jones has a hunting mood, it isn't scary, but it definitely doesn't feel like a pornographic movie. As that said, The Devil in Miss Jones isn't for them who are just looking for a constant sex-scenes movie. Devil in Miss Jones actually has an intelligent plot, it also has a very interesting vision of hell, and the ending is terrific, I'm not going spoil the ending, because that's the surprise that makes this movie good. Devil in Miss Jones is a rare and unique pornographic movie, that deserve to be called a classic (at least in it's genre..)
I saw this in 1974 while in college on a double bill w/ Deep Throat. What really set it apart from the others from that era (& I saw a bunch, is that it stood up well as drama. Georgina Spelvin gave arguably the best acting performance for the genre.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Georgina Spelvin may not be the most attractive creature that ever
graced the silver screen but I would say that everything she does is
exactly what a man wants a woman to do. Also, a scene involving a
writhing snake was done tastefully and erotically and I believe I would
like to see a woman do that in real life. Okay, done with that bit.
Devil In Miss Jones is an absolutely beautiful example of porn chic, and it's the only porn film I can recall with an existential slant. It's at times depressing and bleak, but straight trough to the end it cops a very conservative moralistic tone.
I would absolutely recommend this film to anyone, whether you are a casual viewer of pornography or not. This one's too good to pass up--9/10.
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