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Private Lessons (1981) ***
JoeKarlosi8 February 2006
When a rich man leaves town for a business trip, he leaves his young 15-year-old son Philly (Eric Brown) at home in the care of his sexy foreign housemaid, Miss Mallow (Sylvia Kristel) and their sniveling chauffeur Lester (Howard Hesseman - 'Johnny Fever' of WKRP IN CINCINNATI). Like many red-blooded teenage boys, Philly and his young buddy Sherman are looking for cheap thrills by spying on sun bathing girls and dreaming of sex. What a surprise Philly's in for when Miss Mallow catches him watching her undress from outside the window one night and then invites him inside to get the best view. Soon, the maid is seducing the boy, and Philly begins to experience every adolescent male's fantasy - scoring with an older woman. The problem is, Miss Mallow and her partner Lester have other plans in store for this aspiring Casanova.

I first saw this unusually risqué teenage comedy/sex fantasy back in 1981 when I was 19, which was considerably older than the 15-year-old character is. But the dream was still something I could relate to, and when I saw that a DVD release was coming out I decided to revisit it and see how it stood up, so to speak, after 25 years. Turns out it's still fun, and Eric Brown is humorous as he stammers while trying to contain his excitement at seeing Sylvia Kristel (and her body double in some shots) naked. Kristel was popular doing this type of film in Europe, so it was interesting to see her in an American production doing something that would never be allowed at your local cineplex today. Not only are some of her sequences sensual, but there are a fair amount of laughs, some of them courtesy of Philly's pudgy know-it-all friend Sherman, and also from Howard Hesseman who has some funny moments being pushed around and humiliated by Ed Begley Jr! As is the case with many early '80s teen comedies, the soundtrack is pretty good too, and features music from Rod Stewart, Air Supply and John Cougar, among others.

The most easily obtainable version of this film I would guess is now the 2006 Lions Gate DVD, but purists should be warned that a couple of quick lower frontal nudity shots have been obscured on this release by an annoying white dot. Well, it's not like this is great art, and the movie doesn't really suffer from the brief obliteration. Besides, this was a forgotten cult classic of sorts and hard to locate for so long that it's just good to be able to view it again. I know some people get uptight about this daring film, especially in these days, but relax. It's just a fun little movie, if not a great one, and sometimes even has a little bit of charm to it as well. And it's nothing that many average teenage boys aren't thinking about already. *** out of ****
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Private Lessons
Scarecrow-884 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Silly, sleazy nonsense about foreigner Sylvia Kristel blackmailed into seducing a teenage Eric Brown by scumbag chauffeur Howard Hesseman. She will lead the horse to water, despite his ridiculous resistance at first, and then fake her own death with Hesseman tricking Brown into paying him off for disposing the body. But, Kristel falls in love with the gullible kid and decides to hatch a plot to turn the tables on the despicable chauffeur. Brown's father is away on "business".

Taboo-shattering, icky, squirm-inducing wet-dream fantasy might be more believable today as women(..and men)seem to stay on the headlines for sleeping with underage teens. I watched a specific R-rated version which does show plenty of Kristel..enough to make your mouth water anyway. She's quite sexy, but the whole plot with her falling for nerdy Brown is just too hard to swallow.
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A Great Little Fireside Film
Criz11 August 1999
This excellent, though aging badly, film, is well worth digging out of the dusty shelves of your video store. It's definitely not highbrow fare, but this story of an earnest 15 year old's relationship with his sexy French housekeeper is certainly watchable.

Although the subject matter is actually quite serious, many moments in the movie will have you laughing out loud. Patrick Piccininni is priceless as the best friend of the 15 year old Phillip, who eggs him on. Eric Brown is even better as Phillip, who isn't quite sure how to respond to his housekeeper's advances.

"Private Lessons" is more than just a reversed-role "Lolita"--it's far more entertaining to watch. It does, however, join a whole series of fairly predictable teen guy-and-teacher/housekeeper movies like "My Tutor". What I especially like about this film, though, is that it doesn't have the heavy air of moral judgment hanging around it. The characters are depicted as perfectly-capable agents of their own will, which is extremely refreshing. It was hard to watch "Private Lessons", though, without looking back on my teen years and longing to be in Phillip's shoes!
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You're dreaming.
lost-in-limbo16 May 2010
Every boy's wet dream… well that's how the early 80's sex teen comedy "Private Lessons" plays out… and maybe more audacious than most with its precariously lurid context. While I wouldn't call it one of the best of its sub-genre, it still was rather a popular and influential outing that would spawn knockoffs like "Homework", "My Tutor" and to some extent "Class". This is one of those films that its best to just go along with its low-brow attitude, as its quite asinine (especially the plot progression)cringe-like (with the circumstances characters find themselves in) and smutty. But then again the hormones run wild. Older lady… young boy. What fantasy can you think up?

15 year old Philly Fillmore's father has gone away on business, where he's left home alone with Nicole the new French housemaid. Soon Philly becomes infatuated in her, but her open advancements towards him come at a surprise. While shy at first, she slowly starts gaining his affection. But unknowingly to him, his crooked chauffeur Lester has blackmailed Nicole to seduce Philly in the scheme of getting money out of him.

What the film has going for it is the iconic soundtrack of buoyant tunes from the likes of Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton, Crazy Horse, Air Supply and Earth, Wind & Fire. It was like a jukebox at times with some oddly placed tunes. The other distracting element (other than spending a lot time leering of its attractive female cast and extras) was that of European goddess, Emmanuelle's Sylvia Kristal as teasingly upfront foreign housemaid. She looks beautiful; the best moment arises when she seductively strips in front of a gobs-smacked Eric Brown. Although another body double was used for Kristal's nude scenes. Eric Brown plays the gawky naïve young lad Philly whose curiosity turns to obsession --- in what he believes is love for the housemaid. Howard Hesseman is good as the deviously slim bag chauffeur Lester and Ed Begley Jr. has fun with his little support role. In one humorous sequence he does his best "Dirty Harry" persona with Hesseman at the end of it. Patrick Piccininni plays Philly's obnoxious pal Sherman and Pamela Jean Bryant is Sherman's stuck-up older sister that Philly kind of fancies. Or better put likes to see naked. Ron Foster turns up as Philly's father and Dan Barrows amusingly chips in as the gardener. Also showing up in minor, but enjoyable parts are Peter Elbling, Dan Greenberg (the writer) and a delightfully titillating Meridith Baer as an uptight school teacher. It's technically well-made by director Alan Myerson and breezily paced with Greenberg's simple material.
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Great genre flick!
OrnD29 June 2005
This is a classic 70s/80s 'hot for teacher' movie about a teenage boy whose sexy housekeeper seduces him. The plot, mediocre at best. The acting, salvageable. The art direction...wait a second! This movie is about recollecting those teenage years with your 70's glasses on, not about quality film-making. It's about T&A and tan lines, cheesy dialog, and being able to see boom mics in the shot. Nothing but FUN!

Don't listen to all the 'boring' people who weighed in on this movie, they shouldn't have watched it in the first place. I hate that PC people like that are actually out there comparing these types of movies to Oscar contenders. News brief: THIS MOVIE ISN'T SUPPOSED TO AND ISN"T TRYING BE IN THAT LEAGUE. This is plain old fun and teen fantasy. All this crap about 'oh that poor boy' is ridiculous. There isn't a 16 year old boy in the world that wouldn't give his left arm to be in this situation.

If you have fun with the 70s and 80s and you can enjoy low budget, cheesy films...see this. If you take life too seriously and suffer allergic reaction to nudity and political INcorrectness...avoid at all costs.
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If older women make beautiful lovers, then how come there aren't more Nicole Mallows?!
axemblue23 January 2005
"Private Lessons" isn't astonishingly bad... if you can look at it from the standpoint of it being a cheap adolescent thrill on late-night "Skin-emax" or any other premium station du jour. I'm mostly fine with plots involving taboo; even the "Onegai" series of anime doesn't phase me. But I will say this: the one and only reason anyone should feel compelled to watch this movie is to see the rather hot (back then anyway) Sylvia Kristel in the nude. It does have a cute premise, but it's never done much justice due to all of the amateurish writing and pacing.

Eric Brown is Phillip Fillmore (Philly Philly??), a 15-year-old kid with hormones gone berserk. In other words, he's pretty damn average. His deadbeat dad has left on a... business trip (wink wink nudge nudge) and has left Philly back home with his recently arrived immigrant housekeeper Nicole Mallow (Kristel) and sleazy chauffeur Lester (Howard Hesseman). Seems Philly's got the hots for Nicole, and Lester takes advantage of this, persuading Nicole to fake her own death at the hands (or loins) of the boy so he can make off with Philly's money like a bandit. But Nicole switches around mid-plot, deciding instead to help stop Lester's Half-Baked Evil Scheme™. Cue several slapstick hijinks culminating in a final sex scene and serve.

Obviously, you don't watch movies like this for plots, no matter how inane and far-fetched they may be; you watch them to get sprung. Alas, this was back in the early eighties, and unless you had a big name and/or a lot of cash to burn, your film was almost destined to rot in film quality hell. Such seems to have been the case with "Private Lessons," and the fact that it is billed as a comedy rather than an adult movie bewilders me to no end. Even with the nudity, the filmography is agonizing to watch, but since this was probably produced as a "quick buck" teen-pleaser, that's not surprising. Panning shots of Kristel fondling or teasing Brown while the kid makes goofy, unrealistic "shocked and amazed" expressions are about as dynamic as this thing gets.

I should also mention that the character of Philly's chubby friend (Patrick Piccininni) is simply the most irritating part of the movie in my opinion. Some people have commented that this character, who comes across as being doomed to remain a virgin for the rest of his life, is rather cute in his behavior, and I fail to see how they arrive at that judgment... as if one gawking teenage boy wasn't enough. Hesseman's character is strictly porno-level, period, end of story. Even Dan Greenburg, the author of the book this film is based on, had the ego to have a bit role as the hotel owner, even going so far as to appear fully credited in the "profile" shots of the cast during the closing credits!

It's hard to recommend "Private Lessons" for any other reason than the aforementioned Ms. Kristel and the fact that it is better than most soft-porn out there. Aside from these aspects, it's downright mediocre.
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Some kids have all the luck
bkoganbing20 September 2017
Watching Private Lessons made me feel most sorry for young Patrick Piccininni who is the best friend of Eric Brown. While he gets all that experience and adventure with Sylvia Kristel as the new French housekeeper, his friend has this little old lady as his housekeeper.

Both these kids have all the graces of the more sophisticated kids from Porky's. When we meet them they are ogling the slightly older girls at a neighboring pool party. Later Brown gets to spend a few weeks alone while dad played by Ron Foster gets in a little business with pleasure. Hard to believe that even with the idle rich a kid would be essentially unsupervised over a summer. Not like Foster couldn't afford anything. Not even a relative of some kind.

So Brown is left alone with Sylvia Kristel and she seduces him. But it's all part of a plot to part him from a lot of his trust fund money. Guiding the plot is family chauffeur Howard Hesseman who does have a few good lines and some great facial expressions.

All in all the whole thing is rather puerile and stupid. A rich kid's Porky's.
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Every teen boy's fantasy
lisapoet5 July 2003
Imagine having the chance to film scenes with Emmanuelle herself... But enough about the actors. This film is a humorous romp into/through the sexual curiousity of a young boy. His seductress is softened by his naivity and he comes away with confidence and poise. It also has an excellent soundtrack.
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One Of A Kind Movie From The '80s
ebiros216 October 2012
Great topic about a boy coming of age lead by an older mature woman. The movie gathered much publicity not only in the US, and Europe, but also in Asia when it came out.

The movie was made in the transitional time when the raw sexual expression of the '70s was starting to change to cuter expression of the '80s. It carries some of the sexual topics that were prevalent in the '70s, but the expression is much more juvenile and charming.

Silvia Kristel was spot on for the role. She was by then well known for her role in the movie "Emanuelle". The movie was like the "JAWS" of that segment of the movie industry. Just like Richard Dreyfus became a big star, Krystel rightfully became a star.

The movie doesn't have much story to it, but it's mostly about the comical scene of youngster getting seduced by an older woman. Even so, the movie keeps things entertaining, and it's a good movie even after all these years.

I kind of liked the subplot that went between Phillip and Sherman too.

A good movie that captures the culture of the early '80s.
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Fantasies come true... for some.
insomniac_rod26 July 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This movie, without a doubt, displays any male teenager's fantasy in all aspects.

The movie is like the aunt of soft core flicks like "Friend of the Family II", "Scorned", "Scorned II", etc.

"Private Lessons" is a classic genre definer that is still very popular for many reasons. The plot is very sexy, steamy but best of all, interesting and dramatic at some points. I remember getting really angry when Sylvia's character fake's her death "after" sex. The rest of the plot deals with betrayal and economic interests.

The acting is top notch and very sexy specially by Mrs. Kristel. The production values are very good and make it look like a big budget production instead of a porn effort.

The sex is the best aspect of this movie and believe me, it's the reason for you to watch it. You'll get aroused JUST by the idea of a young boy getting seduced by a mature sexual active woman. It's like, Heaven.

Seriously, this is a genre definer and one of the best of it's kind.
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Youthful Reminiscence
kimballtron8 February 2006
The last time I saw this movie before getting the newly-released DVD was back in my childhood, let's say 6th or 7th grade. Back then, the naughty scenes were quite exciting and the plot was good for a giggle. And of course young, awkward boys enjoy some small hope that one day they will become more suave through kind experiences of female beauty. On general principal I thought I should add the DVD to my collection. Overall, I was not disappointed.

One major detraction I didn't remember seeing before was the crude white-paint censor blots in the two full-frontal nude scenes (boooooo!). This film has a few details on which suggest that it might have been doctored in this way in order to gain its R rating, even back in 1982. I wonder why it was not offered with a "director's cut" as a special feature of the DVD (e.g. "Dressed to Kill") - artistically speaking, I would rather have a scene cut than done up with something so cheesy and distracting as a censor box (shame!).

This movie is what it is - for me it represents just a little piece of my childhood, and contains a few moments that were interesting to revisit. If the features of the DVD had been more complete I would have given it about an 8. I'm hoping I will be amused by the commentary when I hear it.
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Cheerfully bawdy 80's teen sex comedy hoot
Woodyanders1 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Sweet and awkward sex-starved rich fifteen-year-old Phillip Fillmore (an engagingly gawky performance by Eric Brown) gets a crash course in love and sex from alluring French housekeeper Nicole Mallow (a perfectly cast Sylvia Kristel of "Emmanuelle" fame). Unbeknownst to Phillip, Nicole is being forced to seduce him by sleazy blackmailing chauffeur Lester Lewis (nicely played to the smarmy hilt by Howard Hesseman). While the central premise sounds distasteful, fortunately both director Alan Myerson and writer Dan Greenburg manage to make things breezy and silly enough to ensure that the story never becomes too raunchy or offensive. The overall good-natured tone along with the zippy pace and blithely lowbrow humor keep everything light and amusing throughout. Moreover, you just have to admire the giddy audacity of the filmmakers to treat statutory rape in such an amiably goofy and jocular manner; nowadays this basic male adolescent fantasy plot would be the subject of a totally serious Lifetime network made-for-TV feature. But back in the carefree early 80's people were more easygoing and hence this flick is a totally delightful tongue-in-cheek product of its time. Brown and Kristel make for appealing leads, with funny support from Patrick Piccininni as Phillip's fat horny best buddy Sherman and Ed Begley Jr. as Jack Travis, a tennis instructor who's persuaded by Phillip and Nicole to pose as a tough homicide detective. Supplying some nice eye candy are Pamela Jean Bryant as the fetching Joyce and Meridith Baer as uptight, but enticing teacher Miss Phipps. Of course, we also got a sizable smattering of yummy female nudity and some sizzling soft-core sex. Further galvanized by a first-rate rock soundtrack and given an attractive glossy look by cinematographer Jan de Bont, this baby hits the spot as a good deal of infectiously naughty fun.
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Sylvia Kristel and Eric Brown are quite sexy in Private Lessons
tavm5 August 2010
Okay, after about 27 years of only seeing the first 30 minutes of this movie on HBO (due to my fears of my parents finding out that their then-teenage son was watching something R-rated), I finally saw the whole thing today on a used VHS tape that still had a clear picture. In summation, I mostly found this movie mostly humorously touching concerning the sex scenes between Sylvia Kristel and Eric Brown (who was 16-playing-15 when he filmed this), pretty hilarious whenever the ridiculous blackmail plot goes into gear during the second half (though I thought it was a mistake to intentionally film the "burial" of Nicole in such a not-so-serious manner), and just nostalgic whenever many of the Top 40 hits of the late '70s play on the soundtrack. Not a great film but Private Lessons was mostly entertaining. P.S. The movie's writer, Dan Greenburg who has a cameo as a motel clerk, is from my birthtown of Chicago, Ill.
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7/10 for Classic 80's camp!
dkorba19 April 2006
I just finished watching this on TMC. I haven't seen it in its entirely since I was about "Philly's" age...20+ years ago (ugh). Anyway, I enjoyed it thoroughly. Yes, the acting isn't first-rate (except for Begley, Jr's); the production is B-movie; the subject is taboo; the plot's full of holes; but, it has great moments of humor, sensitivity, eroticism without being 'dirty'; and one of the best 80's soundtracks ever. This movie is about having fun. Philly's best friend was hilarious. For me, it was reminiscing about the fantasies it provided when I was a teen. I had forgotten how sweet and sexy Sylvia Kristel was in this movie. Some of her acting was still a bit amateur, but her sweet seduction was first-rate. She put a smile on my face when I needed it most...and that's all that matters.
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A great erotic scene amongst an uncomfortable movie
boris-2620 November 2001
PRIVATE LESSONS is an endurance is sit through. We see Sylvia Kristal, who seems to be approaching 30, seducing a child half her age! There is one scene where this little boy spies on his rich daddies' maid (Sylvia) as she starts to undress. She catches him, and invites him in to a private show. It is a well paced, seductive scene, but we know we are watching an illegal act! The little boy's fat friend loudly fondling tennis balls is something out of a John Waters film, and the touchy-feely scene in a movie theatre is just ... brrrr! Note: In the above mentioned seduction scene- Sylvia and Junior are alone in her bedroom. Check out the enormous crew member huddled in the her closet trying to stay out of the camera lens' path!
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Teen Sex, the 80's and Killer Soundtrack
Michael_Elliott4 September 2009
Private Lessons (1981)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

The 15-year-old Phillip (Eric Brown) is starting to understand the bodies of women but he gets some "private lessons" from his maid (Sylvia Kristel). What he doesn't know is that the chauffeur (Howard Hesseman) is using her to blackmail the rich kid's father. If the visuals of an older woman having sex with a 15-year-old kid bothers you then it would be best to stay away from this film, which is without question one of the more "out there" entries in the long-running list of teen/sex comedies from the decade. I'm really not sure why anyone would take this too offensive, although I'm sure all hell would break loose if the roles were reversed and you had an older man giving private lessons to a teen girl. The film, for the most part, never takes itself too serious and instead comes off as a typical fantasy as the horny boy grows closer and closer the perfect woman. The film manages to be quite charming up until the final act, which nearly kills the things. I'm really not sure why they needed the subplot of the blackmail because it's not funny and really adds nothing to the film. The relationship between the boy and maid takes up the first hour and it actually turns into something nice but then it all gets thrown away with the blackmail. The best moments of the film happen after the boy fails to get some because he's too scared and then has to take some jokes by his friend. Brown does a pretty good job in the role of the kid and makes for a nice lead. Hesseman is good as the scumbag driver but it's Kristel's body that steals the film. She'll never be accused of being a good actress but she knows how to be sexual and that's all that is needed here. The soundtrack is also a great one as we get John Mellencamp's 'I Need a Lover', Earth Wind & Fire's 'Fantasy', Eric Clapton's 'Next Time You See Here' plus Rod Stewart's 'Hot Legs', 'Tonight's the Night' and 'You're in My Heart'. Fans of this genre will certainly find enough nudity, cheap laughs and more nudity to keep them entertained.
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Uncomfy ut hey, it was 1981
BandSAboutMovies13 June 2021
Warning: Spoilers
Dan Greenburg has written plenty of books, including the Zack Films and Secrets of Dripping Fang children's books. He's also had several of his books made into movies, including the Elvis Presley film Live a Little, Love a Little, which was based off his work Kiss My Firm But Pliant Lips, Foreplay, Private School, The Guardian and the movie we're about to discuss, which was based on his book Philly.

It's directed by Alan Myerson, who was O. K. Corrales in Billy Jack and directed Police Academy 5, as well as episodes of Ally McBeal, Friends, The Larry Sanders Show and more. In case you're wondering, "Does Alan Myerson know comedy?" the answer is yes, as he's one of the people who helped found The Committee, which counted folks like Howard Hesseman, David Ogden Stiers, Carl Gottlieb, Rob Reiner and Del Close.

That said, Private Lessons made me question my younger self. To wit: when you're fifteen years old, the opportunity to lose one's virginity to Sylvia Kristel seems like a dream come true. But when you're getting close to fifty, you start to cringe at scenes where she tries to lure this film's protagonist into a bathtub or makes out with him in the back of a limo. It doesn't seem like a fantasy any longer. It feels wrong.

Philip "Philly" Fillmore (Eric Brown, Waxwork) is a 15-year-old high school student whose father has left him alone for the summer with the only supervision coming from Lester the chauffeur (Howard Hesseman) and Nicole Mallow (Kristel), the family's new French maid. Sure, Kristel is really Dutch, but we're not here to quibble about her nationality.

All of her seduction games with our newly pubescent protagonist are all a ruse. She's an illegal alien who Lester is using in a scheme against Philly and his father. Once they have sex, she's going to fake her death and Lester will help Philly bury her body. Then, the kid will have to steal ten grand to keep the mysterious demise of Nicole a secret.

The weird thing is, even when Philly busts Lester, he ends up letting the guy keep his job. Once you also see this movie through the eyes of someone from 2021, you realize that Philly is a rich white kid who is going to grow up to be a creep, empowered by the knowledge that he was able to subjugate those in castes below him and still get to repeatedly struggle snuggle with the woman who was once Emmanuelle, despite the fact that she states numerous times in the movie that she feels guilt for having taken his innocence. He has no innocence to speak of, as the last scene in the film shows, where he boldly inquires for a date with a teacher who already informed him that she found his intentions upsetting. I guess money can solve so much, but I wouldn't really know.

Now for the fun parts.

This movie was Jack Barry & Dan Enright Productions, who usually stuck to producing game shows. They even used one of their announcers, Jay Stewart, to do the trailer's voice-over. Barry received a lot of hate mail for this film from loyal viewers of his shows who were disgusted by the content of Private Lessons. As a result, he never made another film again.

Yet even more intriguing was the fact that this was the first picture for Jensen Farley Pictures, a subsidiary of Sunn Classic Pictures. Yes, after years of making movies just for America's families, Jensen Farley would release stuff like The Boogens and another movie where an older woman - Joan Collins! - would deflower a younger man, Homework.

I can't even imagine the music budget on this movie, because it has everything from Air Supply's "Lost In Love" to Eric Clapton, Earth, Wind and Fire, John Cougar and "Hot Legs" "Tonight's The Night," and "You're in My Heart" from Rod Stewart.

It's also the American debut of Jan de Bont, who was the cinematographer here and would go on to make Speed and Twister.

I should mention that I despise Eric Brown even more now, because not only did he get to do multiple love scenes with Sylvia Kristel, but he did the very same thing in They're Playing With Fire, except that that time, the kid got to appear with Sybil Danning.

Another last revelation: I now realize that many of the women I've dated are just me trying to find my own Sylvia Kristel. Sadly, the real thing had a very rough life that was dominated by addiction and a quest to find a man who could replace her father.

Man, I should never write about comedies, huh?

PS: I totally forgot that Pamela Bryant from Don't Answer the Phone! Is in this.
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One of the biggest hits of 1981!
rosscinema26 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Let's put political correctness aside and just look at this in terms of the numerous sex comedies that came out in the 1980's because I for one don't think this is any better or any worse than the others. Unless your some religious kook or an uptight female you can probably view a silly film such as this without getting all worked up about the content and I personally had a totally innocuous feeling towards this before and after watching it. Story is set in Albuquerque, New Mexico where a rich 15 year old boy named Phillip "Philly" Fillmore (Eric Brown) is naturally horny as hell and starts spying on the attractive maid that has just started working for his father.

*****SPOILER ALERT***** Nicole Mallow (Sylvia Kristel) is friendly to Philly but things heat up when his father goes out of town on business and she starts to flirt with him to the point where she invites him into her bedroom to watch her undress. Philly is awkward and doesn't know how to react at first but soon he goes for it and has sex but than to his horror it seems that Nicole has died from a heart attack! With the help from the sleazy chauffeur Lester Lewis (Howard Hesseman) they seemingly have buried her body but a note from a blackmailer shows up and Philly must get $10,000 out of his father's safe. Philly is shocked when Nicole shows up and he learns that the whole thing was an extortion plan set up by Lester and that she only went along with it because she's an illegal alien and if she didn't do what she was told Lester would have called the immigration office. Together they try to get his father's money back before he returns home and they enlist the help from Jack (Ed Begley Jr.) who is a tennis instructor but pretends to be a cop to scare Lester.

This little comedy was made for less than $3 million but it grossed over $50 million worldwide and made it one of the least likely films during that time to be so successful which prompts me to wonder why this was a hit and not any of the others in the genre. Director Alan Myerson can boast that he made a hit film but the truth is that he never really had a career in films although he did go on to be very successful in television. So...why did this become so successful? I have a thought that it just may be because of Kristel and before you decide that I'm crazy listen to my reasoning. Kristel was an international star because of her soft core films so that reason alone made many free thinking adults curious about viewing her in an American film that was getting a wide release. With that, the same adults would also be nostalgic about their own youth and the fantasy of being taught the ways of lovemaking by an attractive older woman which brings in the much younger audience members who are probably still very inexperienced and curious about the film. Anyway, that's my thought and if anyone has another reason I would love to hear it but back to the film itself it's apparent (and very sad) that a film like this could probably never get made again (except in Europe) because of the religious right and the other prudish freaks who just can't come to terms with the fact that a teenage boy getting laid will not do him any harm. In fact, it's a valuable service that ALL BOYS pray will happen to them! The film itself is clumsy and Kristel's body double is all too evident in certain scenes especially if you take careful note of the difference in their nipples. The story (although intriguing in it's basic form) is neither very funny or revealing so were left ogling the nude scenes that are really the norm for the genre.
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grahamsj37 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I have mixed feelings about this flick. Sexy older maid goes after a rich teen aged boy. The main theme centers on the seduction of a child by an adult, and that's just wrong. I guess you would have to call it child molestation. This film probably couldn't be made today. However, it is difficult to overlook the pure sex exuded by the maid, played by Sylvia Kristel. I enjoy a well-done striptease as well as the next guy and it's very well done in this film. The basic plot is that the unscrupulous chauffeur (played by Howard Hesseman) and maid are using the absence of the boy's father for the summer in order to get his money. The maid does the majority of the work, seducing the boy (played by Eric Brown). Now for the "downers"...Eric Brown's performance was awful. During the striptease scene, his reactions are totally unconvincing. Hesseman's also not up to his usual standards. The plot is somewhat thin but OK. I think mainly the film is poorly acted. Then there are the sexy scenes, which are the film's strong points!
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I Loved This Movie
harrytrue16 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I remember seeing "Private Lessons" when it first came out. I later looked at the book it was based on. The book is more serious and darker.

Needless to say, unless you are 100% gay, this is a nice dream. I was kind of let down that they didn't live happily ever after together.

There is a double standard in this movie. What would people have thought if Lester had seduced Phily? Or if Lester had seduced a girl? A woman seducing a girl would have been accepted.

I've read that it is more frequent for women who have sex with underage boys to be taken to the courts. It's not seen as a "Private Lessons" thing anymore by others. In Canada, the age of consent starts at 14. It might change with a new government.
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Unintentionally hilarious male teenage fantasy flick
Malodramatic19 December 1998
Eric Brown stars in this unintentionally hilarious male teenage fantasy flick. The delectable Sylvia Kristel appears as a French maid hired by Brown's rich parents to look after the house while they are away.

Howard Hessemann, the brilliant D.J. from W.K.R.P in Cincinatti plays the role of the family chauffeur who gets involved in a comical plot which not even a kindergarten inmate could dream up.

Watch out for the obligatory seduction scene. The fortunate Eric Brown more than made up for his modest acting ability by appearing in a number of movies where he was seduced by beautiful older women. "They're Playing with Fire" with Sybil Danning is an example.
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Beyond belief
preppy-315 April 2005
A woman (Sylvia Kristel) seduces a 15 year old boy (Eric Brown). They have sex...but it's all tied into some stupid plot or something.

Easily one of the most disturbing sex comedies ever. Does anyone realize this movie is making light of child molestation? I suppose it's OK cause it's a teenage boy--if we had one with a man seducing a teenage girl there would (rightfully) be outrage. Sorry, but having it done to a boy doesn't excuse it. It's still sick. I realize Brown was of age (he was actually 18 when this was made) but he LOOKS 15. I just find it disturbing that some people find this OK.

Plot aside the acting sucks. Kristel is beautiful--but can't act and Brown is easily one of the worst child actors I've ever seen. Even the constant nudity gets boring and isn't even remotely erotic.

I saw this drivel at a theatre back in 1981. I was 19 and with my 14 year old cousin (who could easily pass for 18). HE wanted to see it--I didn't but I decided what the heck? We got in and I actually bought tickets for three teenage boys who were obviously underage. My cousin thought it was boring and the three other kids left halfway through! Let me make this clear--three TEENAGE BOYS left a movie with tons of female nudity! That should give you an idea of how bad this is. I'm surprised this was ever released. A 1 all the way.
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Emmanuelle has gotten older, her dates disturbingly younger (MAJOR SPOILERS)
movieman_kev14 August 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Lester (Howard Hessman) is the sleazy chauffeur who blackmails illegal immigrant Nicole (Sylvia Krystal) into boinking a 15 year old and pretending to be dead to collect a a measly 10 thousand dollars of his rich fathers money. So after Nichole's "death" she has a change of heart and returns to have sex with the boy again in this reprehensible movie. At the end after Nichole leaves the kid invites his guidance counsiler on a date. And of course she accepts. If i ruined the whole movie for you. Well good, it's a horrid film. And no i'm not a prude, as you can surmise being looking at my other reviews. Oh and Ed Begley Jr. is in this too, and he's creepy as well.

Where I saw it: Showtime in HD

My grade: D
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surprisingly competent movie as soft-core porn
SnoopyStyle18 February 2015
15 year old Phillip Filmore and his friend are curious about sex. His father is away for 3 weeks with "business". Lester Lewis (Howard Hesseman) is the disgruntled family chauffeur. He brings in French housekeeper Nicole Mallow (Sylvia Kristel) to seduce Philly. Then the boy is trapped in a blackmail scheme after she fakes her death. Ed Begley Jr. has a small role as tennis pro Jack Travis.

This is every teen boy's fantasy and definitely pedophilely. Young Eric Brown is with naked Kristel in many scenes. It's indefensible but hormone-filled boys cannot get enough of this movie. The story is actually compelling and the acting is surprisingly competent. The kid is good and there are real actors in this thing. It's soft-core porn for teen boys. This and Porky's are the best of its genre at the time.
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Totally awful
jrs-824 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Back in my days as an usher "Private Lessons" played at the 4-plex I was working. It was a sleeper hit selling out Friday and Saturday nights for several weeks. I never got around to seeing it but saw that it was on cable this last weekend, so I decided to give it a shot. What I witnessed for the next 90 minutes was one of the worst movies I have ever seen and one that made me terribly uncomfortable to watch.

The basic story is a teenage boy lusts after his sexy maid (Sylvia Kristel). She, too, seems to feel an attraction towards the boy but for more sinister reasons. So we get scenes of the boy watching her undress and her inviting him in to watch. And it goes from there.

Eric Brown, as the teenage boy, has to be one of the worst actors I have ever seen. His "scared" reactions to every time Sylvia takes off a piece of clothing or when she touches him are horrible. I didn't laugh a single time during this piece of junk.

And let's not get started on the subplot of the maid and chauffeur planning to extort money from the kid. Let's just say it involves faking a death, burying a body.... I could go on and on but it gets more ridiculous.

The sex scenes are the worst I have ever seen. Even though Eric Brown was older then he looked, the fact is he looks like a baby. It appears he has no idea how to kiss a woman (if THAT was acting then maybe I should re-think my criticisms of Brown) and it just came too close to bordering on child pornography to be erotic. I have never been so turned off by a sex scene even though Miss Kristel is quite beautiful with and without clothes.

**SPOILER WARNING** I must make mention of the last scene. To me it's just plain sick but I can remember audiences cheering as the film freeze framed and dissolved into credits. Our hero returns to school and begins a flirtation with one of the female teachers. He asks her out for dinner and she gives him a look as if Tom Cruise has just asked her out. She nods affirmatively and he walks away, smiling at the camera in triumph. GIVE ME A BREAK! Yes I am sure teachers all over would just risk everything for a plain looking teenage kid.

I will never understand the appeal this film had in 1982. Certainly it was more then the nudity because there were plenty of teen sex comedies with nudity that bombed at the box office. And to think that these same teenagers that cheered that movie 22 years ago are now working their way up corporate ladders and possibly helping to run this country. THAT is a scary thought.
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