One of Nick's worst porn films, unappetizing sour grapes
CHANTAL is a Nick Millard porn film, made with his then pseudonym "Allan Lundus", that reveals a lot about Mr. Nick, but offers almost zero entertainment to the viewer.
The self-styled "New York film historian" who wrote the booklet notes attending its DVD issue is such a sycophantic jerk he completely misses the point here. Ironically, since it's packaged as mere filler (extra) on a DVD hawking the Misty Mundae 2007 remake, few fans will actually sit through its boring entirety, shilling be damned.
An attractive model (I dare not call this one-shot performer an actress) toplines as Chantal Duval, a typical beauty moving to Hollywood in search of a film career & stardom. Starring anonymously in a Nick Millard silent movie is hardly the way to go about it, of course.
The usual poorly-written Nick voice-over dominates the proceedings, shot MOS. Travelogue footage has her checking out the Hollywood Walk of Fame as well as the sidewalk imprints out front of Grauman's Chinese, with stars like Sophia Loren spotlighted. Chantal is a dead ringer for future soft porn superstar Shauna O'Brien (somehow the NY film historian missed that connection), easy to look at, but boring, oh so boring.
She goes for a casting interview with Morgana Gardner (another unidentified actress), which inevitably leads to a patented Nick lesbian scene. It's way too tame for the adult movie-house patrons who paid to see this junker, just Morgana fondling Chantal on a hotel bed as both get topless. Sexy underwear is worn for minor fetish value. Nick's usually harsh lighting is badly done in this sequence, with grainy results (made more obvious by the black & white format).
Chantal picks up a nondescript guy named Tom Smith in the park, who claims to be a feature film director recently working in Europe. Just as Nick sublimates in the form of the Chantal character he also Freudian Slips his way into Tom's persona. If he had named the character Tom Baker then a REAL film historian like me, who happens to live in NYC, would have made an even more interesting connection to underground cinema.
Tom hands Chantal and gets her in the sack, another hotel bed, where cunnilingus is barely suggested and strictly off-screen. As soon as Chantal voices over her pipe dreams of stardom under Tom's direction, her hopes are dashed by a revelation in the form of a hoary Silent Era pathos scene -appropriate since Nick is directing a silent film 40 years after talkies came in. I won't spoil this amateurishly performed "high point" of the movie by describing it.
Now thoroughly disillusioned, Chantal is on the verge of splitting Tinsel Town forever when she gets a call, having been recommended by Morgana, for a potential movie role.
She goes to the small studio and in front of posters spotlighting Brian Jones of the Stones and George Harrison of the Beatles she witnesses two actresses go-go dancing and stripping for the camera. Oh, the horror! The narrator is beside herself with disgust and contempt at this unholy "wiggling", yet Nick forces over 10 minutes of this boring footage on the viewer, inter-cut with Chantal closeups as the voyeur.
The whole point of this interminable sequence is to inject full-frontal nudity into the film, making what has heretofore been overly tame in the extreme to be cutting edge porn for a horny 1968 audience. The ostensible point is Chantal's revulsion, deciding to leave town and cynically casting her voice-over vituperation on that easy target, nasty old Hollywood.
It doesn't take a film historian to notice that this conclusion is 100% sour grapes on Nick's apart. He was an indie filmmaker, 95% in porn and then latterly in horror, not by choice but by default. To quote his interview, Nick was "never called" by Hollywood. That nude go-go dancing so ridiculed here is, not coincidentally, the stuff of which Nick's filler-films are made of, including CHANTAL. He never even got hired by a Novak, Cresse or Friedman to crank out crappy porn for somebody else. Perhaps it was the low quality of his do-it-yourself silent movies that kept him from grabbing the brass ring.
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