A young woman ingratiates herself with a movie star, then takes all she can from her.A young woman ingratiates herself with a movie star, then takes all she can from her.A young woman ingratiates herself with a movie star, then takes all she can from her.
As the house lights dimmed, the flickering image unveiled the kind of swanky upper-crust cocktail party I knew from Hollywood classics of the '30s and '40s, staple ingredients of my Saturday afternoons spent in front of our old black & white TV back then. Immediately, I was hooked. Having been misled by my mother's cautionary tales of the supposed sleaziness that characterized sex cinema, I realized that day that these were movies just as real as those playing down at the local Odeon. The "action" was not confined to a single dingy motel room, another popular misconception my mom spoon-fed me with. Quite the contrary. There was indeed a story to speak of, an adult "re-imagining" of the Joe Mankiewicz classic ALL ABOUT EVE as I quickly recognized. None of the cast seemed drugged or otherwise coerced into participation. They actually handled their plentiful, often wickedly funny dialog surprisingly well, the women looking lovely in period frocks.
I have since learned of this movie's reputation as being "over-produced", meaning that production value (clothes and cars, in addition to involved narrative) completely overwhelms the sex. In evaluating erotic content, viewing the film for the first time in 27 and a half years, it's almost impossible not to concur with this assessment. Barring few exceptions, sex scenes feel rushed and devoid of the sizzle director Ron Sullivan a/k/a "Henri Pachard" brought to other projects around the same time like BABYLON PINK, October SILK and OUTLAW LADIES. Still, it's great to see such a truly lavish adult movie that can hold its own compared to its Hollywood counterparts.
Film buffs should be delighted by how close Sullivan and screenwriter Doris Barrow (editor on Radley Metzger's acclaimed PRIVATE AFTERNOONS OF PAMELA MANN and NAKED CAME THE STRANGER) stick to the hallowed Tinseltown original. Only the names have been changed, undoubtedly to protect the horny ! Clumsy waitress – at thinly veiled Manhattan hot spot "Eileen's" – Brie Livingston (Hillary Summers, looking remarkably like Drew Barrymore and delivering perhaps the standout performance of her distinguished career) grabs the opportunity to cozy up to long-suffering agent Ira Daniels (Robert "Bolla" Kerman) when temperamental client Diana Farnsworth (Jennifer Jordan, doing an effective Bette Davis impersonation, unusually steering clear of high camp) storms out on him. An aging screen diva, Diana's fretting about playing yet another part she's clearly too long in the tooth for, a showgirl who would rather join than entertain the troops overseas, in "Miss America Going Down", the upcoming opus by husband and filmmaker Nicky Rococco (Eric Edwards). Enter Brie as a much-needed personal assistant, cleverly finagling her way into the good graces of the Farnsworth entourage, using sex and blackmail to obtain her goal.
Bald and lanky Jake Teague (Harlan the Magician from Howard Winters' phenomenal NEON NIGHTS) has a field day as acid-tongued film critic Simon Egremont, the "Addison De Witt" character immortalized by tragic George Sanders in EVE. Astonishingly, he has what qualifies by far as film's hottest sex scene with Summers in the back of his Rolls Royce, backseat action in more ways than one. Lovely lamented Laurien Dominique, who passed away from cancer in 1986, shines as Diana's loyal friend and confidante Cassie Merrymount (the Celeste Holm part), looking more resplendent than ever. Her cloak room cuddle with Brie – and just wait till you hear Hillary's breathless account of how she acquired such an "unusual" name ! – provides girl on girl nirvana, its cool jazz track scoring to perfection. Cassie's oblivious rumored to be gay husband, screenwriter Lovell, is played by an almost unrecognizable Rick Iverson, one of few floundering cast members, much better in Roger Watkins' HER NAME WAS LISA and especially Charles Larkin's LOVE-IN ARRANGEMENT.
Never known as much of a thespian, angelic Kandi Barbour acquits herself admirably as aspiring starlet Sabrina (the Marilyn Monroe/"Miss Casswell" role) who gets side-tracked when Brie spikes her bubbly and sicks a torrid jazz combo on her. For the record, Michael Gaunt plays the trumpet, Roy Stuart's on piano and the bass player is rarely seen Jeff Scott, who was featured in Alan B. Colberg's sitcom send-ups SISSY'S HOT SUMMER and ONE WAY AT A TIME. The ubiquitous Ron Jeremy appears as a glorified extra until he gets to strut his stuff with waitress and Brie wannabe Christine De Shaffer – one of Watkins' PINK LADIES – as end credits roll ! Try and spot Shaun Costello's favorite character actor Gordon Duvall as the busboy in the opening sequence, along with middle-aged Cami Graham, first face seen, shown sipping champagne with Kerman, a reliable non-sex supporting thesp who rather astonishingly performed a brief blow job (on the late Bobby Astyr) in Metzger's BARBARA BROADCAST.
- Oct 16, 2009