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Pier Ludovico Pavoni
One of several MÄDCHEN titles to come out of Erwin C. Dietrich's Swiss soft porn factory Elite Film throughout the '70s (along with the likes of ...DIE NACH LIEBE SCHREIEN, AM WEGE LIEGEN, SICH HOCHARBEITEN, etc.), SELF SERVICE GIRLS was a virtual prototype for the kind of cinema that would receive little respect while simultaneously packing theaters to capacity. Prior to video and DVD, skin flicks were doing major business at cinemas worldwide. As there were still many countries that would not permit public exhibition of hardcore material at the time, the market for simulated sex features was positively huge. The French and Italian purveyors thereof had a tendency to cover up their motives with mock cultural and artistic alibis. Dietrich had no such qualms admitting he was in the money-making business, simply supplying what audiences demanded : plenty of attractive unwrapped starlets in healthy humorous scenarios. Without blowing his own horn, the man also delivered some of the most lavish production values within the genre at that stage. Regular Elite contributors, the father and son team of Walter and Peter Baumgartner were on hand for the movie's amazingly eclectic soundtrack and its bright and colorful camera work respectively.
The set-up is simple but cute. A male visitor to a sex shop keeps putting coins in a slot machine showing stag movies, ranting about how he's not interested in pornography at all but just in the way these movies are made (an excuse certain genre scribes apply to this very day...) while getting more turned on, not to mention hilariously foul-mouthed, with each successive segment. The seven sexy stories are largely played for laughs. Funniest of these has an alarmingly aggressive sculptress (stunning blonde Marianne Dupont, who supported the incredible Marie Forsa in Joe Sarno's spectacularly underrated BABY LOVE) recruiting a potential and potent male model in the sauna. When she finally gets him home and into a typically Greek athletic pose, she only proves interested in making a clay replica of his privates, even though she's exaggerating on the size issue ! An even more elaborate scenario has a single guy avenging himself on his lusty neighbors by recording a full tape of sex noises with him taking both parts and you will just have to witness this gob-smacking sequence to be able to believe it to play when they are finally ready to get some sleep. His plan backfires, sort of, when the exotic next door lady (ravishing Martina Domingo from Jess Franco's DOWNTOWN) is aroused rather than annoyed by this aural disturbance and creeps into his apartment while her husband's asleep and snoring.
For contrast, there are a few stories that attempt a slightly more poignant tone. One has an unfortunate hospital patient, who has somehow lost the use of his genitals (about which there's a particularly chilling voice over comment for all of us men), comforted by piping hot nurse Christa Free, star of Dietrich's little-seen TEUFEL IN MISS JONAS (a soft porn remake of Gerard Damiano's Porno Chic landmark DEVIL IN MISS JONES), who possesses one of the finest female forms ever displayed in dirty movies. The lusciously lit view of her riding the bedridden boy's face is a sight not easily forgotten ! The other tale contains the film's only hardcore footage apart from several borderline crotch-rubbing shots, courtesy of an ancient black & white loop - involving a rather fearsome contraption - and an extensive portion of the notorious BURIED TREASURE cartoon also featured in Alex De Renzy's HISTORY OF THE BLUE MOVIE. A lonely porno collector, played by handsome Eric Falk (Lina Romay's studly chauffeur in Dietrich's deliciously debauched ROLLS ROYCE BABY), spies through a hole in the wall on his pretty next door neighbor Esther Studer (a co-star in several Franco films including JACK THE RIPPER and LOVE LETTERS OF A Portuguese NUN) pleasuring herself - boy, does this flick ever make good on its title !
but is too shy to talk to her, until she takes the lead by wandering
buck naked into his apartment. Both sequences are far more leisurely paced than the comedic skits and make a mostly successful attempt at genuine eroticism.
Like the very popular German SCHOOLGIRL REPORT series, which lasted throughout the '70s, this cute carnal concoction offers a blend of buffoonery and bathos. Fortunately though, it eschews the former's heavy-handed moralizing which made it easy for middle class Kraut couples to enjoy a fair share of cinematic skin without the stigma of belonging to the "Dirty Mac" brigade. Hypocrisy is indeed of all ages but Dietrich and his gang would have none of it, presenting the viewer right off with his unflattering mirror image in the connecting character of the client, poking fun at bourgeois double standards.
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