After a losing streak of watching around 20 stinkers by the late Fred J. Lincoln of late, I finally got lucky: his HELLO NORMA JEANE is a winner. Unpretentious '90s porn is well-cast and hot as hell - just what Dr. Fred ordered.
The hook is of course Marilyn Monroe, one movie icon who seems destined to last forever. The sort of impersonator in question is Canadian actress Norma Jeane, who made a good impression in the film THE DINNER PARTY and takes full center stage here.
I think what made this feature work is that F.J. keeps things simple - a workable storyline on which to hang really high quality sex scenes, and characters that are functional. Having been burned so often (and recently) by these Lincoln/Patti Rhodes assembly line pornos I wasn't expecting (or demanding) anything deep, so JEANE's simple pleasures were satisfying.
Since it's set in Hollywood, JEANE's story is about betrayal and backbiting, a useful little plot. Randy West is a porn director whose bedmate and leading lady, lovely Chayse Manhatten (hate that name & hate that bank) is quitting the biz, with their new discovery Norma Jeane about to be unveiled.
But after an evocative shower scene showing off her perfect body, the short- haired blonde is found unconscious on the bathroom floor by Randy & Chayse, apparently having fallen, and having amnesia.
The creepy duo take this occasion to brainwash the girl, making her think she's had Chayse's career in order to start filming her in new pornos as an instant superstar. The logic here is quite tenuous, but in this compact 75-minute feature the next twist is sprung immediately: Norma is on the phone to her main man Marc Wallice, who's also a porn director and will be visiting in a week to supplant Randy and take over the instant it-girl's career.
Double-crossing is second nature to these folks, as directly after hanging up the phone Wallice humps Tammi Ann, giving her an anal treatment to boot. These swift and goofy plot twists were actually a relief, because coincidentally I had just watched David Cronenberg's atrocious MAPS TO THE STARS, a bitter look at Hollywood that is so far-fetched in its plotting (and lame in its asinine and sophomoric name-dropping) that it makes Fred seem like a genius by comparison. (For hilarious postings by DC's horde of apologists, see the IMDb message boards for STARS.)
Randy has quickly begun production on a porn epic, with Vince Vouyer banging Norma by the pool, for posterity. Once again taking a shower, Norma sings "Happy Birthday Mr. President" and just in case the viewer is slow on the draw she calls a guy Joe, mistaking him for the Yankee Clipper.
The second half of the film is what I have christened Jazz Porn: sex scenes scored to excellent jazz accompaniment for a tremendous combination effect. Norma has given arriving Wallice his walking papers, along with Randy, and is now the captain of her own ship. She enlists the team of Skye Blue and Summer Cummings (truly legendary lesbian artistes in porn) to start writing, producing and directing porn hits together.
Sitting at her computer with Skye/Summer's script displayed on screen, Norma starts reading the scenario, and Skye and Summer act it out. The next 30 minutes of sex is matched to uncredited extended performances by a small jazz combo of adaptations of "Black Magic Woman" and then "Sympathy for the Devil", featuring terrific vibes and organ solos against hypnotic rhythms.
The first 20 minutes is a classic lesbian scene spotlighting Summer and her gargantuan breasts, though the emphasis soon shifts to her private parts. Far outdoing today's host of naturalistic lesbian videos, this sequence is far more fanciful and more akin to the outlaw BDSM lesbian content of say a Madison Young or Dana Vespoli.
With plenty of dom/sub interplay, Skye proceeds to stuff two strings of Ben Wah balls sequentially into Summer's behind, then a string of ping pong balls into her vagina, followed by a vibrator in latter. With all types of fingering and other sexuality she brings her partner to convincing orgasms in quite an exhausting workout.
The music is perfectly matched to the action, and the Stones' song begins as accompaniment to Norma telling her mirror (and the viewer) about the perks of her success, including casting, as she humps stud Jerry Pike in her bathtub to end the feature.
Besides Fred's contribution, legendary actor Eric Edwards provides excellent videography in one of just a handful of such assignments for him behind the camera after his acting career wound down. His close-ups are particularly well- shot.
Having seen only 10 to 15% of Fred's output so far, most of it hackwork, the refreshing nature of HELLO NORMA JEANE gives me hope that there are a few more gems to sift out of his 30-year legacy.
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