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Sleepy Head (1973)

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A frustrated sexually repressed woman lives with her even more repressed sister. When the woman's domineering lesbian ex-lover shows up, she tries to resist her, but the lover will sex up sisters' lives whether they like it or not.


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Title: Sleepy Head (1973)

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Uncredited cast:
Model (uncredited)
Lisa Grant ...
Burglar (uncredited)
Judith Hamilton ...
Nancy Price (uncredited)
Davey Jones ...
Larry Coin (uncredited)
Darby Lloyd Rains ...
Georgia Marrow (uncredited)
Levi Richards ...
Burglar (uncredited)
Jason Russell ...
Cal (uncredited)
Tina Russell ...
Tracy Wyatt (uncredited)
Georgina Spelvin ...
Bernice Wyatt (uncredited)
Marc Stevens ...
Glenn (uncredited)


A frustrated sexually repressed woman lives with her even more repressed sister. When the woman's domineering lesbian ex-lover shows up, she tries to resist her, but the lover will sex up sisters' lives whether they like it or not.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Georgina Spelvin in her most exciting full starring role yet!


Adult | Drama





Release Date:

24 September 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sleepy Girls  »

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Did You Know?


Tracy Wyatt: Have you ever prayed?
Nancy Price: Yeah!
Tracy Wyatt: Will you pray for me? He won't listen to my prayers anymore.
Nancy Price: [chuckles] Why do you think that?
Tracy Wyatt: Because my soul is damned to hell.
Nancy Price: Because you were raped?
Tracy Wyatt: Because I loved it. I loved every moment, every kiss, every touch.
See more »

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User Reviews

Sarno goes XXX, with mixed results; of mainly historical interest
10 January 2011 | by (New York, New York) – See all my reviews

All the motifs and fetishes of Joe Sarno's innumerable softcore movies appear in SLEEPY HEAD, but with hardcore sex footage included. It's interesting to see the adaptation to the times (and exigencies of the marketplace) but as evidenced by the complete lack of any credits on screen this is not a successful experiment.

In recent years (starting in the '90s via video reissues) Sarno has been rescued from complete obscurity to an unfortunate pendulum swing of currently overrated status. His name is tossed around in the same sentences with pantheon greats like Sirk and Fassbinder, and all sorts of revisionist scholarship takes him way too seriously. SLEEPY HEAD is an eye-opener because the natural XXX conclusion to many of Joe's gimmicks points up in bold relief their shortcomings.

Made in the wake of star Georgina Spelvin's phenomenal success in Gerard Damiano's DEVIL IN MISS JONES, this film casts her as a repressed old maid, living in the Manhattan apartment (oddly enough on W. 23rd St., about 4 blocks from where I live) of her even more repressed sister, Tina Russell. It should be noted that Tina was also a superstar at the time, appearing in over 20 releases during 1973 including the terrific WHATEVER HAPPENED TO MISS September?

Film begins with a dream sequence in color, which is shot with the same "pools of light against darkness" style as so many '60s Sarno epics, in which Judith Hamilton is introduced as the stock Sarno villainess ("the devil's consort"), trying to tempt Georgina into the wonders of lesbian love. Hamilton had already appeared as a lesbian lover of Spelvin's in DEVIL IN MISS JONES.

In the film proper Hamilton schemes as the puppet master, first seducing Spelvin as an old college chum come back to haunt her (despite the fact that their ages don't match, Spelvin being a good 10 years older than the rest of her costars), and then conniving to get sis Russell raped and then also seduced as her dream gal pal.

Along the way we have an impressive roster of NYC talent, mostly wasted in nothing roles. Darby Lloyd Rains is underutilized as author Spelvin's literary agent, who joins in the orgiastic sex on cue without convincing motivation; Russell's hubby Jason is unconvincingly cast as a computer programmer (!), Rains' boyfriend Cal, who not surprisingly eventually ends up in bed with Tina during the orgy; Levi Richards gets the plum assignment to rape Tina; Jamie Gillis cameos, virtually silent for a change, as a male model posing for shutterbug Hamilton (and of course seduced by her); and there's Marc Stevens, clumsily inserted into the film early on in an extraneous sex scene designed to keep the XXX fans from looking at their watches.

Sarno uses his trademark two or three women chatting in foreground closeup technique, stresses lesbian sex, and segues clumsily to an incest payoff, all of his softcore fetishes. Having the women moan, groan and writhe in exaggerated fashion has earned him in some circles acclaim for "depicting female orgasms" on-screen, but I found Spelvin's shrieking like a water buffalo in heat to be disastrous, mere camp. Compare it to several of her excellent performances for other directors (including Damiano) and one wonders why Sarno had her overact so obviously here.

Tina fares even worse: she's supposed to be a traveling bible saleslady employed by American Bible Society (a real-life organization, with headquarters not far from my office on Broadway), and her transition to sexaholic by the time Hamilton and Spelvin get through with her is very poorly directed. It's evidence of a "who cares?" attitude Sarno took to the dozens & dozens of hardcore movies & videos he directed and thoroughly disowned, but which remain part & parcel of his career (even though apologists choose to dismiss them).

Although it is the Spelvin/Russell incest that is meant as the story's climax, much attention is given to a May/December romance between Central Park guitarist Davey Jones and Spelvin. Jones, who had a brief career lasting just a year, appearing in many important NY movies like ILLUSIONS OF A LADY, NOT JUST ANOTHER WOMAN and MADAME ZENOBIA, is convincingly very young looking, sporting tons of acne. Makeup effects maybe?? Just kidding.

Hamilton's overacting here is pitiful, and her hirsute styling (not just legs & crotch but heavy under the armpits) is a turnoff. Sarno surprisingly cast her again in his softcore comedy THE SWITCH, who knows why.

Sarno belabors the climactic orgy scene interminably, adding to the film's quite bloated 93 minute running time (70 minutes was the norm at this point in porn history, or 55 minutes for a 1-day wonder). His editing is poor, with some shots out of sequence (watch for a false start insert of Central Park late in the day), some orgy master shots repeated ad infinitum, and the previously mentioned sloppy inclusion of completely extraneous scenes, notably Gillis's and Stevens's.

The dialog, including pointlessly dirty talk, is poor, but at least generally avoids the ad libbing so common to films of this era, esp. where Gillis and Stevens were concerned.

The happy ending is as phony as a 3-dollar bill. I took its supposed "irony" to be merely Joe thumbing his nose at the audience.

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