Ex-cop Jimmy Stone and his lawyer friend Mike Green leave New York City and move to Connecticut to start their own business running a brothel. Things go smoothly for a while until ruthless ... See full summary »
Ex-cop Jimmy Stone and his lawyer friend Mike Green leave New York City and move to Connecticut to start their own business running a brothel. Things go smoothly for a while until ruthless mobster Joe Goodson and his brutal goons try to muscle in on the business. Written by
This Palace May Be Grotty, But the Sex Hits the Spot
If not the best - his considerably more erotic 1977 JAIL BAIT takes the cake in that department - then at least by far the best-plotted of Carter Stevens's not quite A-list efforts, PLEASURE PALACE benefits from a solid script by the director and "Al Hazrad" (actually Al Goldstein's assistant editor Richard Jaccoma, going some way to explaining the odd pseudonym) and a cast more than capable of handling its requirements. Too often taken for granted, Eric Edwards proves as dependable as always portraying Jimmy Stone, a former vice cop fired from the squad for being too lenient on a lowlife pimp. Out of gratitude, the latter has sold him his Connecticut cat house for peanuts, an investment he has agreed to share with his shyster lawyer buddy Mike Green, memorably played by the equally easy to underestimate Robert "Bolla" Kerman. Both actors prove utterly believable as friends and their effortless banter not only brings their characters to life but also helps to sustain audience interest for its surprisingly long stretches between sex scenes. For some reason, Edwards doesn't even have a sex scene here.
While any adult film fan of some longevity expects stellar turns from these two actors, superstar Serena's the real revelation here, shaping up as Kerman's girl Friday Carol in a performance of great warmth and sympathy. As big an industry icon as she was, it often seemed like she couldn't be bothered to act, Gary Graver's ECSTASY GIRLS and - of all people - the generally maligned Leonard Kirtman's PRINCESS ranking as notable exceptions. She always delivered the goods sexually however, sufficiently accounting for throngs of devoted admirers, and this flick's no exception. Satisfying though her encounters with Kerman definitely are, it's her appropriately nasty trade-off as was their trademark with then boyfriend Jamie Gillis most will remember. The recently deceased Gillis further ups the ante as mobster Joe "Goodson" Buonfiglio, exuding credible menace as was his forte, eager to home in on our heroes' cottage industry once they got business up and running and the reason why the original owner sold the place off for a pithance in the first place.
Speaking of which, Carter Stevens endeared himself to not always entirely on the level investors by rigorously remaining within time and budgetary constraints, leaving little room for stylistic flourishes, so that eye-punishingly scarlet interior where unfortunately a lot of the action takes place is just something you will have to live with. Look at the bright side, it's a great way to tune the color control on your TV set ! Carnal comedians Roger Caine and Bobby Astyr are cleverly cast as a double act playing Goodson's bumbling henchmen turning unexpectedly nasty for the final brutally mood-shifting reel. Caine gets to keep it in his pants as well, he was notoriously iffy in that department anyway, but the late Astyr does a solid number on veteran performer Erica Havens whose career extends all the way back to the early '70s. Lisa Heyman's the short-haired blonde in the bathtub with old coot Jake Teague and Joey Silvera as judge and sheriff respectively, also seen in Shaun Costello's minor league MORE THAN SISTERS and TWO LIVES OF JENNIFER. One of the industry's more shall we say idiosyncratic performers, Veri Knotty got her porn name from her party trick specialty, there's just no nice way of putting this, tying her lower labia in knots ! As a credit to the unsung talents of Stevens's regular and also recently passed away DoP Bruce Sparks (a/k/a "Prudence Prevails"), I don't think she has ever looked prettier and thankfully keeps her special ability to herself on this occasion.
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