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What About Jane: An Erotic Soap Opera (1972)

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Cast

Cast overview:
Clair Dia ...
Jane (as Emily Smith)
John Christian ...
Johnny
Martha Strawberry ...
Michelle
Lee Parsons ...
Tom
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Storyline

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Taglines:

An erotic soap opera for men and women

Genres:

Adult | Drama | Romance

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Details

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Release Date:

2 April 1973 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

What About Jane?  »

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Budget:

$20,000 (estimated)
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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Trivia

Tom Hanley originally shot a nude beach boy scene featuring himself, but didn't like the way it looked and cut said scene from the final finished version of the film. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Ambitious porno with two fab actresses
14 June 2011 | by (New York, New York) – See all my reviews

WHAT ABOUT JANE is a rare case of an early hardcore porn film that tried extra hard to be a real movie. Perhaps its departure from the normal formulas accounts for its extreme obscurity.

A collective team of filmmakers based in San Rafael under the "Cinmarin" banner made this, with the descriptive subtitle: "an erotic soap opera". That it is -not a spoof, but an attempt at creating an emotionally moving, even old-fashioned as to sentimentality, movie filled with XXX content. Maybe oil and water don't mix.

The lovely natural redhead Clair Dea stars as Jane, a housewife deeply in love with husband Johnny (John Christian), but unable to achieve an orgasm when they make love. It's clearly his fault, as she can get off while masturbating, but his wham/bam approach in bed is unsatisfying to her.

She seeks the counsel of her best friend dating back to college, Michelle (ultra-built Martha Strawberry), who suggests vibrator treatment. Michelle brings a huge Sarno-esque massage gadget from her car and treats Jane's clitoris to a workout that is more than satisfactory. Of course, the two women segue to a heated lesbian sex session.

We also get to see a demonstration of how Michelle's husband Tom (Lee Parsons) is careful to satisfy her needs as well as his own. Jane tries out the massage machine on hubby Johnny's penis, then gets him to hump her while also applying the vibrator, and both come away happy.

Film concludes with a dinner party at Michelle's place where the couples proceed to wife-swap and then have a no-holds-barred orgy.

Certainly a straightforward enough storyline, but the execution is far from the usual porn approach. Besides scenes that briefly approach JEANNE DIELMANS in depicting everyday life (washing the dishes, housework, etc.), the film is soft, almost cuddly in a way that exploitation films (hard or soft) are not. It could be that the average fan might complain (40 years ago or now) that a film isn't "rough enough", "dirty enough" or "nasty enough", but WHAT ABOUT JANE takes the high road, at its peril.

Both actresses give sensitive performances, with kudos going to Strawberry for an exceptionally naturalistic turn. Dia is appealing but a key scene of her breaking down, as she opens up to Strawberry about her most personal problems, is beyond the actress's abilities. On the other hand, she brings a beauty and sensuality to the role that a more talented thesp, say Georgina Spelvin, lacks.

Preventing the picture from receiving Classic grades is the poor casting of the male leads. John Christian as Johnny does a horrible job, almost delivering a zombie-like performance. The auteurs have several abstract fantasy sequences (clearly copied from George Lucas's THX 1138 with an all-white backdrop) where he's supposed to be robotic, but Christian is the wrong man for the job.

Lee Parsons is marginally better as the caring husband, but emerges as merely a cliché. They should have dug up some local talent on the order of John Seeman and Joey Silvera instead of these two lunks. Without strong male counterparts, the film devolves at times into the usual cock-centric reversal: women servicing themselves with abstract cocks.

In keeping with the title, soap opera organ music drones on the soundtrack, occasionally becoming atonal when a suspense scene calls for it, but another poor decision. Yet overall, Martha and Clair turned me on immensely with concentrated sex appeal.


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