Misty arrives in a small town to look for her mother who abandoned her 22 years ago. She stays with a bisexual artist and her friends and models for her. Meanwhile, a Christian woman with a secret tries to save her perverted niece.
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In a small town, on a dark stormy night, Misty enters the local bar filled with lonely locals to hide from the rain. She is looking for her mother who abandoned her 22 years ago. The problem is she doesn't know what her mother's name is or what she looks like. Since her investigation will obviously take a while and she needs a place to stay, a local bisexual artist is convinced by her live-in boyfriend and bisexual girlfriend to take her in as well. In return, Misty will model for her. Later, Misty meets a young local woman and her middle-aged guilt-ridden well-meaning lonely sexually repressed religious aunt who wants to save her niece from what she sees as perverted godless lifestyle. The young woman's boyfriend is always hitting on his girl's aunt, but the aunt always rebuffs him. Misty begins to enjoy her stay in the small beach-town and has many sexual encounters with the horny locals, including the young woman, the woman's boyfriend, the artist, and a few others. The artist ... Written by
I saw MISTY over 30 years ago at a Cleveland drive-in showing, and it has haunted me ever since (its quality so contrasting with the typical junk shown at those since-extinct venues). Seeing it on DVD recently I was still mightily impressed at filmmaker Joe Sarno's command of his medium -it's my favorite among his 100-plus works.
Rebecca Brooke toplines as Melissa Smith (nicknamed Misty), who enters waif-like out of the storm to a local inn, destined to change the lives of all the folks she encounters in the small nearby town (shot atmospherically on Long Island).
Fable-like tone is set in the early reels with effective sound effects of the storm outside (vaguely reminiscent of John Huston's KEY LARGO), as barfly Fred J. Lincoln recites the tragic "Ballad of Melissa Gray", about a vengeful moon goddess. Format resembles a Eugene O'Neill play (with sex added) or at least a live TV broadcast from the '50s of "Playhouse 90".
Misty is searching for her mother, who abandoned her to a foundling home 22 years ago, so it isn't surprising when a late in the film revelation establishes her parentage. Chief among the people she'll affect is an unconventional trio who've formed a menage a trois for the past six years: artist Andrea (Jennifer Jordan, billed as Sarah Nicholson), her lesbian lover Elaine (Jennifer Welles) and the man they share, George (Eric Edwards).
Taken by Misty's beauty, George suggests that she model for Andrea, setting in motion inevitable rifts in the previous status quo.
Meanwhile, a key subplot involves Gretchen (Chris Jordan), her husband and her aunt - a homely church lady who is constantly preaching the gospel to anyone who will listen. Sarno, in effective softcore mix & match sex scenes (this after all was made as an Adult Film back in 1975, though strictly soft X, not XXX) injects his favorite theme of incest as well as effective contrast of Nature vs. Intelligence using these three characters as template.
The inn's owners, including an uncredited Roger Caine (seduced by Misty) and his wife Essie (Julia Sorel, also from ABIGAIL LESLIE), also figure prominently in the narrative, along with its only resident guest, Edgar, for which Jamie Gillis provides a wholly different, sympathetic characterization compared to his usually nasty persona of the mid-'70s.
Other key players keep the pot boiling, including previous superstar (of XXX) Helen Madigan as Ellen (an adulterous married woman everyone gossips about), who gives Gillis a carefully framed softcore blow job. The unusual casting of an unknown middle-aged actress as Aunt Elvira pays off with her unusual topless sex scenes -not the typical porn star casting by a long shot.
Gothic ending with Jennifer Jordan alone at the rocky seaside as the Ballad is sexily voiced over as a lament: terrific.
Besides the wonderful ABIGAIL LESLIE (yes, that's the correct spelling, shown in the trailer if not the Sarno print used for video issue) that shares 7 cast members with MISTY, I recommend highly several films made in the same period with many similarities: Roberta Findlay's THE CLAMDIGGER'S DAUGHTER (Edwards and Chris Jordan get the leads), Chuck Vincent's MRS. BARRINGTON (very similar cast but with Kim Pope toplined) and the hardcore SUMMER OF LAURA (Edwards and Madigan, shot on Fire Island).
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