• Drive In Collection: Expectations/Confessions

    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: March 12, 2013.
    Director: Anthony Spinelli
    Cast: Chris Cassidy, Kristine Heller, John Leslie, Joey Silvera, Jack Wright
    Year: 1977/1977
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    The Movie:

    Anthony Spinelli may have passed away in 2000 but his legacy lives on! Probably best known for films like Talk Dirty To Me, Aunt Peg and Vista Valley PTA, new kids on the block Vinegar Syndrome have dug up two of the films that he made for Essex in the 1970s: Expectations and Confessions (also known as Confessions Of A Woman). Both films are nicely shot and feature some pretty solid production values as well as appearances from some interesting cast members. On top of that, they’re plot driven and manage to tell some decent stories and show off some pretty solid camera work.


    The first feature begins with a wealthy woman named Margo (Delania Raffino) in bed, fooling around with a man we can assume is her husband. As she blows him, a voice over tells us how she’s become bored with her sex life and that in order to spice things up, she’s arranged to meet a woman who she’s never met before for the purpose of basically swapping lives.

    And so that’s what she does – she meets up with the other woman, a hippy named Montana (Chris Cassidy), in a park and they set about trading drivers licenses and social security numbers before heading back to their new lives under false identities. When Margo, now Montana, heads to ‘her’ apartment she checks out the clothes and starts trying things on when someone shows up at the door. She lets him in, it’s Joey Silvera, and he lets her know that this appointment was prearranged and that he basically intends to have his way with her. She’s trepidatious at first but that doesn’t stop him. After a marginally rough scene, she seems to have found some of the excitement that she was looking for.

    Meanwhile, Montana, now Margo, has set about exploring her new apartment, trying on jewelry and just sort of wandering around checking things out. Soon enough a man named Vincent (Jack Wright) shows up. He’s sporting an eye-patch and is claiming to be ‘her’ brother, which seems to do something for her. She lays him back and climbs up on top of him and takes control of the situation getting exactly what she wants out of it. From here the movie switches back and forth a bit between the women’s two lives until ultimately they meet again – you can use your imagination to figure out what happens then.

    Taking the type of situation that can only happen in the movies and giving it a XXX rated spin, Spinelli manages to get some decent work out of his cast here. Chris Cassidy is odd looking enough to stand out, she’s a bit on the scrawny side but interesting looking and she makes a good physical contrast to the more elegant and refined looking Raffino. Silvera does well here as the dominant man in his scene with Raffino while Jack Wright just looks silly trying to play it cool with an eye-patch on. Desiree West also shows up here in a small supporting role, looking great and making the most of her quick cameo in a little girl on girl action with Montana.

    There are lots of great seventies fashions on display here which means that the film gets to do some appealing things with color. Nicely shot and generally well lit, the movie doesn’t overstay its welcome at just under seventy-minutes in length. The sex is passionate and nicely shot, showing us as much as we want to see without having to focus for too long on prolonged gynecological close-ups. It’s also interesting to note here that the movie puts far more emphasis on the pleasures of the female participants here than on any of the men who play a part in the story. The narration makes it very clear that the two leading ladies are out to get some kicks on their own terms and that making the men get anything at all out of their exploits is not a concern. All in all, this might not be the film that Spinelli is remembered for but it’s well made, appealing in its eroticism and occasionally even thought provoking.


    The second feature begins with a pretty horrible but surprisingly catchy theme song (“Girl… give your love to me, and in exchange I’ll give me love to you!”) and stars Kristine Heller (credited as Cindy Johnson) as a beautiful woman named Beth. When we meet her, she’s in bed with her husband, Gary (John Leslie). She gives him head before he splits for the day, off to earn that dollar and live the American dream. Beth, however, is not particularly impressed that her man has just run off and left her wanting. As such, she sets out to get what she wants and luckily for her, the first man she meets is a horny biker (Peter Johns). She coerces him into whipping it out and goes down on him but he tells her she’s no good at it. They talk dirty, sort of, and go at it and then it’s off to the next encounter.

    From there, she and Gary head out to a party where they meet Gary’s boss, a guy named Tom (Silvera again) who takes Beth into the bathroom for a quickie. While this is going on unbeknownst to Gary, he sort of stands around and watches people eat, paying close attention to a woman enjoying a banana a little more than maybe she should be. The next day Beth is alone again, once more in the mood for some fun. She peruses the paper and finds an ad that catches her attention and after a quick phone call has arranged to meet a female stranger at her place. The deal here is that this chick’s husband likes to be dominated and that’s what she wants Beth to do. He shows up (Wright again, this time without an eye-patch), and before you know it she’s dressed up and doing her best to take charge. She’s not particularly convincing as a dominatrix but she looks good.

    As the movie starts winding to a close, she meets up with a middle aged man (Sonny Lustig) at a hotel where he pays her a ridiculous amount of money to fuck him. They go at it and get down in the hotel before the movie ends on a bizarre comedic note.

    Again, reasonably well paced and an effective vehicle for the admittedly very attractive Kristine Heller, Confessions is enjoyable enough even if it isn’t particularly deep or involving. How much mileage you’ll get out of this one depends, more than anything, on your appreciation of Heller’s technique as she is every inch the focus of the film. She’s a looker for sure, and not a half bad actress but not always completely convincing - the aforementioned domination scene with Wright being the most obvious example. For the most part though, she makes for a pretty good lead here and the camera definitely loves her. The rest of the cast also do alright here. Leslie is his typically charming self and Silvera scores high marks for his scene with Heller in the bathroom, probably the stand out here in terms of intensity and creativity. Sonny Lustig is pretty goofy but that’s kind of the point of his character and without wanting to spoil it, he’s played that way for a reason.

    From the corny opening theme song (it WILL get stuck in your head, it’s that kind of obnoxiously infectious seventies pop!) the movie features an odd score but like the first feature it is quite nice to look at it terms of camera movement and composition. Where the first movie was reasonably cerebral this one takes a far less serious approach to its take on the lengths that a woman will go to in order to satiate her need for sexual excitement. It isn’t quite as interesting and doesn’t work quite as well but it still proves entertaining enough to be worth checking out – especially if you’re a Kristine Heller fan.


    Both movies are presented in 1.85.1 anamorphic widescreen transferred from 35mm archival prints and for the most part both movies look pretty good here. Some splices and scratches pop up here and there as well as some minor specks but detail is good and colors look excellent. There are a few scenes in both movies where the lighting is a little less than perfect but ultimately what we wind up with are some nice, film-like transfers taken from materials that were culled from less than perfect sources. It works though, you definitely get the impression that you’re watching something that would have played in a skuzzy theater but at the same time the picture quality is such that you can appreciate what works about the cinematography and the compositions. Both films have been released on DVD before this double feature – Expectations appeared on the Desiree West Triple Feature Volume Two from Alpha Blue Archives whereas Confessions appeared on DVD as Confessions Of A Woman from TVX. This release trumps both of those discs and offers up the movies in much, much nicer shape than either ABA or TVX managed to do.

    Both films get Dolby Digital Mono soundtracks, in English and without any optional language options or subtitles provided. Clarity of each mix is fine. There are some scenes that sound a bit flat but that’s obviously to do with the original recording. The scores sound good here and the levels are properly balanced. Any hiss or distortion that does creep into the mix is minor and not particularly distracting while the dialogue is consistently easy to understand and follow.

    Aside from a static menu offering chapter selection, there are no extras on this DVD.

    The Final Word:

    With two strong entries from the late Anthony Spinelli’s filmography Vinegar Syndrome’s double feature release of Expectations and Confessions might be light on extras but don’t let that stop you. It offers up enough artsy sex and sleaze to intrigue and appease anyone with an interest in vintage adult movies of the seventies.

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Jason C's Avatar
      Jason C -
      Watched CONFESSIONS last night. You nailed it in your review Ian. It's interesting enough and Kristine Heller is a looker. More than anything I just wished all my classic porn looked this good.
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      Thanks Jason! I want that theme song on CD!