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THAR SHE BLOWS! was one of many Dave Friedman soft porn films I saw
back in my drive-in days of the 1970s. It is among his worst offerings,
a case of pure exploitation (i.e., marketing) overwhelming the need to
deliver a quality product. All sizzle, no steak.
This is amply demonstrated by the trailer: a non-stop array of stupid, leering double entendres beginning with the film's attention-getting title. Just as modern Hollywood has its high-concept, in la-la land's porno division there are empty one-liner packages like this one that get made and released too.
Stalwart softy actor Steve Vincent is stuck in the unplayable role of Capt. Frigate (there's two puns in one!), who we find out was castrated by some toughs, and is understandably grumpy ever since. In pointlessly trick casting, the B-girl who was humping when the guys bloodily cut him off at the pass is played by winsome Shari Mann, who reappears in a dual role as a charter customer on his boat named Teddi -bringing back all those painful memories (groan).
Creaky plot has a pair of familiar genre faces Stuart Lancaster and John Alderman as kind of a master/slave vaudeville act -they have chartered Frigate's boat and brought along Teddi and two cute little blondes for entertainment. Major subplot has Frigate's even cuter blonde sister Sally (alluring Chris Mathis) sleeping with the first mate (the puns just keep on coming) played by the always-slimy French Canadian porn veteran Alain Patrick, much to Capt. Frigate's chagrin. Dumbest joke is Alderman's screen name: Phil Latio.
The sex scenes are ho-hum and the games of humiliation between Stu & John fairly idiotic, until the film delivers a ludicrous climax. Film's crumminess is exemplified by Stu's voice-over summation: "Every Captain Ahab is slain by his own private Moby Dick".
By porn standards this is an able cast, but left at sea by such a horrendous script, credited to producer Friedman and director Richard Kanter. The cast and filmmakers were reunited for an entertaining self-spoof of the porn industry STARLET!, in which Stu & John have the same character names but are playing entirely different roles.
I don't think "Thar She Blows!" is the worst thing producer David
Friedman foisted on his pervy public, but then again, he didn't exactly
set the bar that high. Comparing it to other Friedman-produced movies,
"Thar She Blows!" doesn't match the quality of his more solid offerings
like "The Defilers," or "Johnny Firecloud," but it's better made than
"Blood Feast" and "Scum of the Earth," even if it's not nearly as fun
to watch as either. It shows more flesh than "The Notorious Daughter of
Fanny Hill" and is slightly more explicit than "The Head Mistress" yet
keeps the erotic heat at the same lukewarm temperature.
Friedman's script, co-written with director Richard Kanter, is chock-full of alliteration, double entendres and groan-inducing puns. It's a pretty safe bet the dialog was written with the trailer in mind, not a feature-length movie. Anyone who has heard Friedman's commentaries for Something Weird Video knows what style of humor to expect, and also knows that when Friedman delivered such jokes they were strangely endearing, if not exactly funny. Delivered by the "actresses" of "Thar She Blows!" the lines are stillborn, especially when uttered by Chris Mathis or Shari Mann. (Interestingly, Friedman himself makes a cameo as a bartender but says nothing.) The women were hired for one reason only (though Friedman would probably say two reasons) and that reason wasn't acting, so maybe I'm wrong to judge. The male leads including Russ Meyer stock player Stuart Lancaster as industrialist Kenyon Adler, and trash cinema's most ubiquitous actor John Alderman as Adler's assistant Phil (get ready to groan) Latio give much better performances, though even they could have benefited from additional takes. There is a funny moment when Lancaster, sitting on the deck talking with Alderman, seems to fart loudly in mid-conversation (in actuality the noise of him shifting his weight against vinyl seat cushions), made funnier by the fact that the actors don't acknowledge the sound. Still, you'll find more comedy in Friedman and Herschell Gordon Lewis's Blood Trilogy than you will in "Thar She Blows!" Conversely, you'll find more bloody castration in "Thar She Blows!" than you will in those early gore films, so it kind of balances out, I guess.
I still find it difficult to rate "Thar She Blows!" It's bad, certainly, and definitely no lost adult classic not even so-bad-it's good but it's not Friedman's worst. I didn't find it painful to sit through like "The Notorious Daughter of Fanny Hill," or "She Freak." Hell, I even found parts of it mildly entertaining. I'll give this one a generous five stars, but only because I don't have the option of giving it 4.5.
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