Radley Metzger followed his masterpiece THE OPENING OF MISTY BEETHOVEN with this light 'n' breezy comedy of bad manners that offers nearly wall to wall sex mixed with the director's customary wit and elegance. Many longtime adult film fans regard this as their favorite Metzger movie, undoubtedly based on a couple of knockout erotic sequences that are among the most memorable he or any other carnal creator for that matter has ever put upon the blue screen. Personally, I think the film is a bit uneven with a faltering narrative primarily designed to accommodate the required number of frequently hot sex scenes, which makes it forever a runner-up to the likes of MISTY and THE PRIVATE AFTERNOONS OF PAMELA MANN.
Exception to the rule is the first 20 minutes or so, set in the restaurant where celebrity prostitute à la Xaviera Hollander Barbara Broadcast (industry icon Annette Haven) is interviewed by eager beaver journalist C.J. Laing. This lengthy sequence is bustling with all sorts of naughtiness, rendered even more arousing by the surreal humor sprouting from the casual attitude adopted by the participants, like an extended version of MISTY's airplane footage. Customer Zebedy Colt, who played the bisexual manservant in Gerard Damiano's STORY OF JOANNA, is served lunch in the form of waitress Clea Carson, a reliable second-stringer in both Armand Weston's TAKE OFF and Chuck Vincent's BAD PENNY. Well-endowed waiter Peter Andrews (nicknamed "the Horse" for obvious reasons, memorable as the star's partner in the opening scene of ALL ABOUT GLORIA LEONARD) supplies his own brand of salad dressing on the spot before he's whisked away by extremely hungry customer Susan McBain (the lonely call girl from Damiano's ODYSSEY) for one of the all time great oral encounters. She also has one of the film's funniest lines as she remarks how you really have to keep track of your waiter at a Caucasian restaurant because they all tend to look alike ! A lovely black actress identified in the credits as Shirley Peters, who also appeared with Harry Reems in Tim McCoy's ultra-obscure EROTIC DR. JEKYLL, shows up for her salad at Barbara's table but is quickly distracted by the amorous advances of handsome Alan Marlow. Waitresses break dishes all over the place, for which they have to pay the Maitre d' (the late Bobby Astyr) in kind, and admirers (watch for a youthful David Savage, the frisky office boy who kept unloading onto secretary Day Jason's face in one of PAMELA MANN's most memorable running jokes) keep interrupting Barbara's interview for signatures and "a little head" ! The pace and structure of this entire sequence shows Metzger at his finest and made me wish the whole film had been like that.
Unfortunately, the movie tends to fall apart somewhat at this point or at least settles into a more conventional adult film format. Barbara excuses herself to turn a trick across town at the office of busy business man Michael Gaunt, an excellent actor in Richard Mahler's American BABYLON, that is almost entirely devoid of dialog in sharp contrast to the previous scene. C.J., a vastly underrated performer with a distinctly submissive slant in fabulously filthy fare like Shaun Costello's SLAVE OF PLEASURE, does her one better however in the legendary kitchen encounter with sweaty dishwasher Wade Nichols, star of Chuck Vincent's ambitious VISIONS. Great build-up as they longingly stare at each other from across the steam-filled room. Laing grins in defiance as she squats to urinate into a bowl before receiving a killer rectal reaming that's on pretty much everyone's short list for best sex scene ever.
It's off to the disco next with Annette and C.J. making out on the dance floor while burly guys arm-wrestle at a nearby table (huh ?), oblivious to the girls' groping. They retreat to a stairwell where they are joined by Barbara's business partner Jamie Gillis for an intriguingly shot threesome that employs extreme close-ups to obscure the identity of the participants for a good part of the scene. Finally, Jamie and Annette flash back in horror to their experiences with a stuck-up PAP (Protestant American Princess) who worked for them, just an excuse to stick in some left-over footage from MISTY with Jamie and Constance Money that's heavy on B&D with ropes and nipple clamps. After that, the movie just stops rather than ends.
The way I see it, Metzger got a bit frustrated with the limitations of the hardcore format, having taken it as far as he could go with MISTY. The luxurious restaurant scenes, shot in the grand lobby of New York's bankrupt and boarded up Royal Manhattan Hotel at 44th and 8th - furnishings and fancy dinner ware being actively auctioned off while filming was still very much in progress ! - currently living out its life as the Milford Plaza (as was part of his last porn film, MARASCHINO CHERRY, shot semi-simultaneously but released the following year), suggest that he entered into the project with great enthusiasm but much of what follows feels slightly formulaic, as if he felt thwarted in the lofty ambitions he hoped to achieve but couldn't because of time and budgetary restraints, not to mention MISTY's arduous post-production period. Don't get me wrong, it's still a terrific adult film. Lighting and cinematography in particular are as good as you're ever going to find in the porno field.
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