• Blue Hour, The



    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: November 12th, 2013.
    Director: Serge Goncharoff
    Cast: Ann Chapman, Nicholas Wayne, Mary Beth Hughes, Edward Blessington
    Year: 1971
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    The Movie:

    Directed in 1971 by Serge Goncharoff, The Blue Hour is awesome. It’s a completely bizarre sexploitation film that doesn’t always make a whole lot of sense, but it’s still awesome. The story follows a foxy hippie chick named Tanya (Ann Chapman) who, when we’re introduced to her, is in the throes of passion with an older man named David (Nicholas Wayne) as they romp on a beach. It turns out that Tanya has, in fact, made love before. This dude on the beach is not the first man lucky enough to have boned her, but you know what? He doesn’t care. He loves her anyway.

    From here, the movie segues into a series of bizarre flashbacks that fill us in on who Tanya is, who she’s made love to, and what she’s all about. In the first one, she’s dressed like an Indian maiden for some reason. A guy on a horse wants a piece of something she doesn’t want to give him and he doesn’t want to take no for an answer. Some guy known only as ‘The Professor’ saves her and Tanya runs off with an old dude with scruffy facial hair. Then the movie gives us a twist – Tanya is actually a model, not a time traveler! This was all for a photo shoot. From here, the prof starts taking Tanya out on the town. He wines her, he dines her, and he takes her to a fucking weird puppet show for some reason, all while completely horrible sappy romantic love ballads warble in the background – he even takes her to watch belly dancers!

    Tanya’s not really into this as much as the old dude is though. Enter her manager (pimp): he’s not happy that she’s not happy because this guy is paying extra for her. He makes this clear by breaking into her bad and beating the shit out of her. From here on out we see how Tanya will wind up working as a model for various nudie shoots by way of her background that stems all the way back to her time in Greece where she had to fend off advances from her horny pervert of an uncle! While all of this is going on, David is scheming to take Tanya to…. CANADA! He’s putting together a deal with a high powered businessman (Gordon Jump – yep, Arthur Carlson from WKRP In Cincinnati appears in this thing!) but Tanya’s past will not be easy to escape…

    Seemingly edited by a monkey with a chainsaw The Blue Hour is a little hard to follow but it doesn’t matter if it makes any sense or not, just enjoy the ride and the scenery that it offers. The movie offers up one completely bizarre scene after the next, almost all of which feature the admittedly very attractive Ann Chapman in various states of undress. It almost seems like this was put together from bits and pieces shot or conceived of for other projects but it’s just cohesive enough by the time it’s all done that this was probably not the case, it’s just really horribly edited. Chapman has got screen presence though, there’s no doubting that. The camera loves her and she responds in kind. The rest of the cast are amusing enough and Wayne’s attempts at serious emoting are fun to watch. Throw in that ‘holy shit it’s that guy!’ cameo from Gordon Jump and you can see why this one would be worth checking out for fans of the more absurd side of sexy seventies oddities.

    What exactly director Serge Goncharoff had in mind for this one is patently unclear but there’s enough ‘stuff’ happening against interesting looking settings and backdrops performed by a goofy enough cast to give this one a solid recommendation. It occasionally makes veiled attempts at approaching some sort of art film but never quite gets there. As misguided (and yes, it is very misguided) as it all is, you can’t help but love it.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    The Blue Hour looks quite good presented here transferred from the original negative in anamorphic 1.85.1 widescreen. There’s some minor print damage throughout but overall, things shape up pretty nicely here. Colors look good, black levels are solid and detail is generally pretty strong as well.

    The English language Dolby Digital Mono track is fine. There are a few spots where you might pick up on some hiss but overall it’s clean, clear and easy to follow. Dialogue sounds good and the levels are nicely balanced.

    Are there extras on this or is it really a triple feature? Take your pick, but as the release is called The Blue Hour, for the sake of being the anal retentive media nerds that we are around here, we’re going to say that One Naked Night and Three In A Towel are, despite their feature length, extras.

    So yeah, One Naked Night is included here too, in 1.33.1 fullframe transferred in beautiful black and white from the negative and also sporting an English language Dolby Digital Mono track. The movie follows Candy (Barbara Morris), a lovely young woman tired of living in the small town where she was raised. She decides that she’s destined for bigger things and so she dumps her boyfriend and moves to the city. Why? Because her mom was a hooker who killed herself and so everyone in the small town looks down on her.

    Once she arrives at her destination, she meets up with her old friend Laura and Laura’s roommate Barbara (Audrey Campbell). They put her up and Barbara conveniently walks in on Candy while she’s showering. Their third roommate is Peg, a foxy model who is tight with her photographer friend Charlie (Ian Miller). She introduces him to Candy and she poses for him. After that, they learn that Laura is having orgies with strange men. As Candy starts to grow sweet on Charlie, Laura’s true colors start to show and before you know it, everyone is catty and miserable and lashing out with that trashy kind of vitriolic dialogue you know and love.

    While not on par with some of Campbell’s other movies in terms of sleaze, One Naked Night, directed by one Albert T. Viola, does serve as a great showcase for the actress best known for playing the infamous Olga. She doesn’t get as much screen time as Barbara Morris does but she certainly makes the most of it, vamping it up as the resident lesbian in the pad the four women end up sharing together. The rest of the cast are also pretty good here. Morris isn’t quite as believable as a character who should be fairly naïve but she’s fun to look at so she gets a pass. The others also do fine. The movie goes at a good pace, features some great black and white photography and if you’re into sixties softcore high on melodrama, or even a casual fan of Ms. Campbell, the inclusion of this movie alone is reason enough to want this release. It’s got a great soundtrack by Chet McIntyre as well as some nice mid-sixties NYC location photography too.

    Also found here is the bizarre Three In A Towel, directed by 'Marty Rackum' and framed at 1.33.1 in color and again transferred from the negative with an English Dolby Digital Mono track. This one is weak on story but in a nutshell it follows some guy with rad eyebrows who is never given a name as he recounts some of his amorous dreams. He cruises around San Francisco and picks up a hippie chick and before you know is fooling around on a boat with a bunch of other hippie chicks that smoke lots of weed and screw around. From there he picks up some other chicks and screws them, all while we’re subjected to his ridiculous inner monologues.

    There are some amusing touches here that make up for the fact that the movie is more or less plot less. The soundtrack works well (it’s even got a falsetto vocal piece about boobs!) and there are some strange period details here that make this watchable enough – check out some of the fashions and background locations. The dialogue is goofy and often times unintentionally funny and the opening credits are really cool to watch. The whole thing was dubbed in post by a cast of voice actors who don’t really seem to have tried very hard, so the whole thing has a distant and otherworldly tone to it but as far as sexploitation oddities go, you could certainly do a lot worse. It’s the least interesting of the three movies in the set but sexploitation fans should find a lot to enjoy here. If nothing else, it is both bizarre and entertaining, if sometimes for all the wrong reasons.

    A trailer for this one is also included, which wisely plays up the movie’s copious amount of naked ladies and which features some cool body painting titles.

    The Final Word:

    The Blue Hour is seriously zany stuff, a wonderfully misguided attempt to mix arthouse style and peculiar sexploitation elements into the same film with little regard for reason, tone or cohesion. It is, if nothing else, wildly entertaining and a complete blast to watch if you’re in the right frame of mind. The accompanying two features are also quite interesting, offering up not only some prime Audrey Campbell work but a gaggle of naked hippie chicks just sort of hanging out and being naked hippie chicks too. As is the norm, Vinegar Syndrome’s presentation of this trio of obscurities is a good one, and fans of sexy cult oddities should check this one out post haste.