With John Holmes as its marketing hook, ONE WAY AT A TIME is an intentionally sloppy, anything-goes style porn film from the team of Alan and Laurie Colberg. It currently circulates in a version on DVD missing 30% of its original footage, but based on what's there we ain't missing' much.
Per the trailer and IMDb's helpful note, this was made as a spoof of the TV sitcom "One Day at a Time", starring Valerie Bertinelli, Mackenzie Phillips and Bonnie Franklin. I didn't pick up on this at all watching the movie, probably because I was never a fan of the hit show. The Colbergs name their characters after the TV ones.
On the show the late Franklin was barely old enough to be the mom to the other actresses, but this is made ludicrous for the movie, as tall daughter Barbara is likely older in real life than her mom, lovely but obscure actress Aubrey Nichols. Other sister as Julie is diminutive and unimpressive Lisa Kamala Loring.
Entire film (because the ending scene is intact with end credits, the 2 missing reels coming earlier) revolves around the boring antics of the kids, fooling around with their new mopeds and getting into sexual scrapes. For that reason, the movie resembles a series of loops, perhaps the Colbergs' true calling, though their feature films are most noteworthy for featuring all-star casts.
John Holmes shows up as a guest star at the opening, serviced by Ann (Nichols) in a well-shot suck & hump scene, with solid framing and photography of sex the movie's strongest suit. He's playing an actor and she's a businesswoman.
At this point my jaw literally dropped not because of the routine on-screen action but due to the soundtrack and accompanying credits. Candida Royale (who does not act in the movie) sings a title ballad on the soundtrack, in a minor key, and it is credited to the great jazz pianist Freddie Redd, whose Blue Note LP "Shades of Redd" is one of the prized first pressings in my BN jazz collection. The shock is in the credit: many '60s jazz albums by the likes of Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, Lee Morgan and Jimmy Smith are pirated for the background music in literally hundreds of porn films, at least as often as stealing Bernard Hermann and Morricone scores, but here is a famous (in jazz circles) artist credited and therefore paid for his work.
Film's in-jokes are pretty weird but obvious. A guy (Tony Bond) driving a sports car with ultra-blonde Sharon Kane picks up the two sisters and humps Mimi (as sis Lisa masturbates) and is identified by Mimi as John Holmes, who he claims to be. He even spends a minute giving the same fake bio info the real Holmes used to espouse (see: Colbergs' companion film SUPERSTAR, a mockumentary starring and about the Waddster), including his claim to have made 2000 films in a 10-year career. It is interesting that if you toss out the 10-minute loops (and the compilations on video derived from them) as well as the '80s shot-on-video features Holmes ends up being identified with only 150 movies in IMDb, so his likely actual total is perhaps 10% or so of his dumb claims. Doubling one's accomplishments is exaggeration, but multiplying by ten?
Further jokiness, emphasized in the movie's trailer, has both Johnny Hard and Johnny Harden in the credits. Jesse Adams is identified as Harden, wearing a grey wig as Ann's understanding boss, who visits her after she takes a day off work to sort-of-search (more worrying in place than out beating the bushes) for her missing offspring. She deep throats Adams in a more impressive scene than her opener with Holmes. The real (if pseudonyms lend themselves to such a description) Johnny Harden who was showcased non-stop in California COWGIRLS is credited here as Johnny Hard. I found this more confusing than amusing -score one for the Colbergs.
Also popping up episodically is black Frisco actor Mick Jones who humps Lisa in the trailer for mixed combo action, but this footage is missing from the Alpha Blue Archives current DVD - all we get is their foreplay. Same scene does have Laurien Dominique servicing both Jones and blond stud Jeff Scott for troilism.
Weirdest comedy here is from a guy named Rocky Racoon, playing Ann's bldg. janitor, who keeps making with the bad jokes, apparently emulating the great Pat Harrington Jr. of the TV show. His routine of donning a mask, pretending to be the Lone Ranger because that's his CB radio handle, and milking the failed sketch as much as he can is yet another example of porno filler that I found excruciating when watching these junkers at Adult cinemas back in the '70s. A mainstream analogy would be film noir of the late '40s vs. light comedies of that period: even the most mediocre noir is not only watchable but often thrilling 60-plus years later yet the lightweight comedies of that day are pretty tired and difficult to sit through.
Most notably absent in current edition of the film are Susan Nero (billed as "introducing") and Don Fernando, both victims of projector shredding.
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