The unknown heroine of HOT SKIN AND COLD CASH performs in such a believable, matter-of-fact manner that elevates this tale of a NYC hooker into a satisfying, even moving motion picture. It's a jewel one wouldn't expect to find among Barry Mahon's assembly-line porn offerings.
The buxom blonde that Something Weird identifies as Victoria Astor (but who is definitely not the Cherie Winters IMDb tags with that pseudonym) portrays Shelly, working at $20 a pop in the Times Square area, desperate to earn money to help get her husband out of jail and send support for the care of her son. But this is no sentimental sob story -she is a tough cookie and the viewer gets to sympathize with her plight in a realistic manner. Like Alain Delon in the loner classic LE SAMOURAI, her only friend is her pet parakeet, named Orpheus.
The cool jazz score sets a proper after hours mood, as she waits for customers on Manhattan street corners. It's circa 1967, as theater marquees for HURRAY SUNDOWN and Elvis in EASY COME, EASY GO indicate (actually both titles fit the action!).
A sleazy lawyer arrives, who's supposed to be going to bat for her jailed husband, but we know he's just taking her money. To top it off, he tries to demand sex from her too. Even her hairdresser Jerry tries to put the make on her.
Her customer is a Japanese shutterbug named Yoshi, with a strange incident when another girl is already in his hotel room waiting -she's been sent to service him by a prospective business client. The other girl Margaret is a high-priced call girl, earning $200 a pop, but our heroine is steadfast in sticking to her old street-walking act. Yoshi sends Margaret packing, and enjoys himself by posing Shelly in sexy lingerie for photos.
Her next John brings her home for a threesome with his wife. Though sexy wifey suggested this arrangement in the first place, she gets cold feet and nothing comes of it, other than some embarrassing ham acting by the guy.
Shelly suffers through a boring lecture from her next client, who turns out to be a priest intent on saving her soul and not interested in sex. She gives the irritating guy his money back and is utterly convincing in her verbal defense of her lifestyle A couple of frat boys put up their new pledge to hiring her to pop his cherry, and he even talks her price down to $15. This sequence is well-acted but ultimately too tasteful -after all this is a Mahon porn film!
Climactic sequence has a suspicious looking guy hiring Shelly as an escort for a wild party, where stags aren't permitted. The film's most lowdown sexploitation footage occurs here, but it's fairly timid.
Film leaves her pounding the pavements, with a very believable voice-over detailing the lonely existence. Kudos to the unsung leading lady, who could teach a thousand Hollywood actresses a thing or two about how to underplay the "hooker with a heart of gold" role.
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