5.5/10
24
2 user 14 critic

Touch Me (1971)

Various people in an encounter group relate their sexual problems to a therapist, who then prescribes "solutions".

Director:

(as Sam Weston)

Writers:

(story and screenplay), (story and screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Tom Stevens ...
Dr. Lloyd Davis
...
Harry Belmont (as Buck Flower)
...
Marianne Nelson (as Tiffany Stewart)
...
Bill Bradford
Andy Bellamy ...
Lisa Stevens (as Cindy Green)
...
Robert Stevens (as John Keats)
...
Doris Welby (as René Bond)
Richard Smedley ...
James Salter (as Byron Shelley)
...
Betsy Lyman (as Cindy Stokes)
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Storyline

Various people in an encounter group relate their sexual problems to a therapist, who then prescribes "solutions".

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

... release yourself into this epic orgy ... depicting encounter therapy practices See more »

Genres:

Adult | Drama

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Details

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Release Date:

17 September 1971 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(DVD)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Porn about a Sexual Encounter Group -best film of its type
9 May 2011 | by (New York, New York) – See all my reviews

Anthony Spinelli is a master pornographer, so I wasn't entirely surprised to discover the high quality of this early (1971) effort. Structured in the form of a White Coater, it delivers a serious, convincing educational movie in porn clothing (or unclothing), featuring a once-in-a-lifetime cast.

I eventually fixed the IMDb credits list, which erroneously puts Robyn Hilton in the cast. Frontline has four female porn superstars: Sandy Dempsey, Andy Bellamy, Rene Bond and Suzanne Fields -all of whom are acting with greater conviction than usual. It's probably because they're working from a superior script credited to "Michael Abel and Stanley Zero", neither of whom needed to hide between phony monikers.

"Tom Stevens" toplines in the non-sex role of Dr. Lloyd Davis, a psychotherapist who's holding a two-day marathon for eight people at his mansion. Goal is sensitivity training for sensual awareness -to get these hung-up individuals to express themselves and be more open to pleasure (read: SEX).

What's unusual about the movie is that Stevens' frequent speeches and the sensual exercises the cast goes through generally make sense and don't insult the viewer's intelligence. For porn, and this is a hardcore picture, the high-minded approach is refreshing and often riveting, though the film naturally lapses into sequences of sex for the fans' sake, usually indicated by the soundtrack Mickey Mousing into strip house music rather than the highly romantic flute-dominated accompaniment of most scenes.

The doc's philosophy is ultimately summed up in the phrase: "Just do it, don't dream about it", about as deep as a Nike commercial. Level of sensuality and sexual explicitness gradually escalates from early, simple exercises like eating a tangerine, touching each other, switching partners, to later explicit sexual couplings. Final reels have the subjects asked to act out their fantasies, which leads to some violent (rape) and humiliating results, that play as if in a real movie with some impact, not just porn content.

As the ringer in the group, Buck Flower is well-cast as a wisecracking cynic who's just there to get laid. It's one of his better, more sincere than usual, performances, and we actually see the character develop under the doc's tutelage.

SPOILERS ALERT:

Ric Lutze is impressive in a serious role for a change, eschewing the giggling and campiness that I associate with him. He's suffering from insecurity about the size of his penis (!), and truly excels in the final reel when he literally rapes partner Sandy Dempsey when asked to live out his fantasy. This is a unique sequence in porn, with the viewer impressed with both the context (everybody's watching, no one intercedes) and execution of the XXX scene. Even better is the followup, where the doc submits Ric for regular counseling with a shrink to correct his antisocial tendencies.

Dempsey is really the star of the movie, hiding oddly enough behind the pseudonym "Tiffany Stewart" in one of her best all-time acting jobs. In lesser roles are busty Andy Bellamy, as the frigid, most timid of the gals; Rene Bond, winsome as the virginal lass afraid of sex; and Suzanne Fields (pseudonym: "Cindy Stokes") as a lesbian. How some deluded IMDb contributor could have mistaken any of these distinctive actresses for Robyn Hilton is unbelievable.

John Keith plays Bellamy's husband, who's sick and tired of her unresponsiveness in bed. I'm sick and tired of seeing him appear in hardcore films when he can never achieve an erection -which is the case in this film, too; there are insert tight closeups in his sex scenes showing penetration, but to my untutored eye it looked like Lutze doubling for him. Fourth subject is familiar porn actor Richard Smedley (just watched him do effective comedy in AFFAIR IN THE AIR), credited with the silly moniker "Byron Shelley".

This is truly a pro effort, including sometimes imaginative editing credited to Michael Kahn, future multiple-Oscar winner for several all-time Spielberg classics (SCHINDLER'S LIST, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK!). I won't spoil it, but there is one matched jump cut early in the film that is a quality juxtaposition one would expect in a real movie, not porn.

Film is bookended by the doc noting the rise of encounter groups in America, with one psychologist projecting that by 1973 there will be over a million people engaging in them. I've seen the documentary SANDSTONE about a leading example of the craze, but I guess it quickly died out like so many other carryovers from the Free Love/hippie era.

So the mystery is: how did a high-quality film like this, one of the best pre-DEEP THROAT XXX features, get discarded over the years. I saw it buried on a random, three-fer spotlighting Rene Bond issued by Alpha Blue Archives, but it has zero reputation. Could it be that fans actually prefer sloppy, ad-lib, pointless 1-day wonders to films that try to be good? How sad.


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