Transitional Sarno movie -I liked it, but you probably won't
It takes a lot of tolerance, both to porn tropes and Joe Sarno's career arc, to appreciate the forgotten film A TIGHT DELIGHT. I'll describe its merits and demerits, and you decide if it's worth a peek.
Melanie/Melissa Scott, who made many porn films without ever establishing herself as a marquee star, toplines as "Erica Reeve, computer programmer on a week's vacation". Sarno has her frequently addressing the camera directly, delivering what passes for plot in this essentially all-sex endeavor.
She announces what we're about to see -the final event never happens, indicating a Sarno forgetfulness or perhaps a scene cut. At any rate, she lets us know that the opening scene, already in progress, is her friend Lynn Fields (Karen Summer) humping Ted Banister (Michael Knight), a visitor from Cleveland. (I'm from Cleveland, so that was gratifying, to see the guy get some.) Bad news is that later she keeps calling him Tod, since they couldn't afford a continuity person on this cheapie.
Erica says she plans to f**k Lynn's husband Tom, in this very same apartment. The thrill is that Lynn knows about the arrangement, but Tom is in the dark. My reaction -who cares? After some very poor shot matching, Erica announces she's off to hump Les Harper, husband of her high school friend Edith. Jumpcut to Erica, wearing glasses for a switch, giving Les a blow job. Scott is especially hot in this scene, demonstrating deep throat on a white shag carpet with typically Manhattan exposed brick wall behind.
When Erica returns, pesky Ted is still in the apartment, claiming he's looking for work in Manhattan. An extraneous lesbian scene by two unidentified characters is inserted at this point, and then it's back to the non-story.
Erica informs us that Janet Latiche and her boy friend Sven Holmgren are coming to visit. Erica heads to Janet's house to hump Janet's husband Francois. Janet, played by beautiful Tiffany Clark has sex with Sven, inter-cut with the Erica/Francois sex scene.
Erica returns and has a lesbian scene with Janet, on that same old white shag carpet (at this point I got confused at the Manhattan geography of it all, but no matter).
Next scene is the nadir of the film: Erica relents and asks Clevelander-who-came-for dinner Tod (he's not Ted anymore) to help her get off. Sarno stages the sex okay, but has the temerity to replay exactly the same setup shots (Erica in bath towel, Ted/Tod lolling by the coffeemaker) as he used in their first encounter several reels earlier. It's sloppy filmmaking and takes one out of the fantasy as a result.
Her forcefully announced earlier plan to hump Lynn's husband John never comes to pass. Apres-sex, Ted/Tod is running off to head back to Cleveland when Erica announces: "You fill a hot, wet open void in me", and promptly hires him to service her on a regular basis. If it were only that easy, we could get the unemployment figures down to a pre-recession level, not only in Cleveland but in New York City, too.
What makes this nonsense enjoyable is a number of factors: hot sex scenes by attractive performers, shooting on film rather than the dreaded video which was soon to put an end to Sarno's creativity, and the sheer structural goofiness of the movie, that makes it interesting in spite of itself. The resemblance to the Doris Wishman school of the cryptic is a plus; during one bout of cunnilingus Sarno cuts away to a placid shot of Central Park -nearly poaching on Wishman's penchant for rhythmic rather than narrative or sensible editing.
Interesting fetish motifs in A TIGHT DELIGHT include having the women always wearing high heels throughout their sex scenes -no dirty feet on display for a change. Also, the guys all give the gals a "second helping", returning to the sex act after each ejaculation - a nice "romantic" (har-har) touch. All in all, a film that "Louis Roman", or Joe Sarno, could be proud of, sort of.
Next up I'll be investigating a bunch of stray titles and pseudonyms that look very suspiciously like more of Joe's work, notably the output of one fictitious director "Francis Healy".
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