This latest adaptation of the famed Victorian porn novel makes several crucial errors, causing it to not reach the heights the material promises. Porn label Sweet Sinner made one followup, a mixed-combo epic FAMILY DESIRES set in Reconstruction Era America but has since abandoned the genre, releasing hundreds of generic XXX titles since.
'Tis a pity, because casting of Ben English, bringing his authentic British accent, in the central role of Gentleman Jack was a good move by director Nica Noelle. But the advertised Victorian Mansion setting fails to appear on-screen (no exterior shots at all and crummy set design inside), and the central premise of the novel is bowdlerized.
A MAN WITH A MAID was about rape, as Gentleman Jack for various perverse reasons takes women into his private room and deflowers them, relishing their torment. Noelle and her porn company proclaim a motto of "real lovemaking, real orgasms", which does not fit this format. So the girls in this video, even the virgins, put up only token resistance to Jack's violence, and quickly conform to the old porn cliché of enjoying the ravishing. This reduces the pretense of making a story film into the tedious modern wall-to-wall sex mode.
Standout in the cast is Stephanie Swift as Fanny, who brings her star power to a supporting role as a servant that Jack forcibly humps with the aid of Alice, a virgin he previously deflowered who has a grudge of her own against Fanny. Swift's uninhibited performance should please her fans. Another nice touch is casting the beautiful Nikki Jayne in a strictly soft-core role, a nice tease.
One thing Noelle gets right is the use of Victorian costumes, which until they are removed (leaving lasses clad only in high laced boots) demonstrate how erotic clothing can be, a lesson lost on 99% of current pornographers who deliver constant nudity just like the old skin flicks and completely unerotic Nudist Camp movies did.
English's recitation of flowery dialog and narration is effective, but this is dropped during the overlong sex scenes (typically at the Sweet Sinner 30-minute duration level), when the cast emits the usual "Oh sh*t!" and "F*ck me!" adult baby talk they've learned in porno boot camp at the outset of their XXX careers. This means the book's classic line "Suck me clean, Lady Betty!" is omitted from Noelle's script, much to the video's loss.
As Lady Betty (billed Mrs. Blunt instead), Magdalene St. Michaels is impressive especially with her busty décolletage outfit on, and inspired me to hope for a soft porn Victorian film starring Hayley Atwell, who resembles Magdalene quite a bit. A finale 3-some featuring her with James Deen and Elexis Monroe as her daughter is rather timidly presented to avoid even the slightest implication of incest, when the two ladies in the throes of fake video passion should certainly have succumbed for the sake of the prurient viewer. Hey Nica, this is porn, baby!
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