• Wakefield Poole's Bible!

    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: December 10th, 2013.
    Director: Wakefield Poole
    Cast: Georgina Spelvin, Gloria Grant, Bo White, Caprice Couselle
    Year: 1974
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    The Movie:

    Directed by a man better known for his work in the gay porn scene of the seventies, Wakefield Poole’s Bible! was released theatrically and then seems to have pretty much disappeared into obscurity until now. Vinegar Syndrome have given the movie its first ever home video release and not content to just slap the movie onto a disc and be done with it, they’ve provided and excellent transfer and loaded this one up with some historical and contextual supplements as well.

    The concept is both simple and novel enough to work: take a few of the more famous Old Testament tales and give them a sexy softcore spin. Poole goes for more than that, however, as he more or less shoots the entire movie sans dialogue and goes for some rather unusual production choices along the way.

    As the film begins, Adam (Bo White) is born on a beach and explores this new world for the first time. Shortly thereafter meets his companion, Eve (Caprice Couselle) for the first time. They get to know one another intimately and after a passionate (and nicely shot) lovemaking session, Eve bites the apple.

    From here we catch up with Bathsheba (Georgina Spelvin) who is unhappy to notice that her husband, Uriah (Robert Benes) has a wandering eye that seems happier to focus on a servant girl than on her own figure. Not simply going to let this go, she takes great strides to attract him and along the way catching the eye of another man, David (Nicholas Flammel).

    Last but certainly not least, we witness strongman Samson (Braham van Zetten) throwing his weight around and eventually killing a midget servant belonging to the beautiful Delilah (Gloria Grant). From here, she sets out to seduce him, and of course, cut off his hair.

    The film starts off strong but actually succeeds in building to bigger and better things as it progresses. At roughly seventy-five minutes in length it’s not too long and it’s quite well paced, edited in such a way that the sex scenes are understandably the centerpiece but at the same time ensuring that there’s a rhythm to all of this. The visuals are fantastic, as is the use of color and the cast are all attractive and enthusiastic. This results in a very watchable movie, albeit certainly an unconventional picture and possibly one that those with a more rigid view of how the source material should be interpreted may take issues with – which was very likely front and center in the filmmaker’s mind as he set about shooting all of this. The film never verges on anything really all that much harder than what you’d get away with in an R rated movie these days, but the controversial take on this no doubt stirred some controversy in its day.

    Ultimately, however, Bible! is quite a well-made picture. It’s artsy enough to satisfy and occasionally quite sexy (Spelvin and Grant both look fantastic here and Couselle is no slouch in the looks department either, while the male performers are all in great shape as well). The use of some great classical music on the soundtrack classes things up and there’s such impressive care paid to the production values that, even when it’s wallowing in its own obvious imagery and delving head first into pretension it’s a veritable feast for the eyes.


    Bible! debuts on home video for the first time ever from Vinegar Syndrome framed at 1.33.1 fullscreen in a new restored 2K scan from the original 16mm negative looking about as fresh and as clean as possible. Colors are reproduced really nicely here, all sorts of garish seventies hues pop in all their beautifully tacky glory while skin looks nice and lifelike, never too hot or too pink. There are no problematic compression artifacts to complain about or any noise reduction or edge enhancement problems. In short, this is a solid transfer. Fans should be quite happy with the presentation.

    The English language Dolby Digital Mono track on the disc is fine. There isn’t much dialogue here at all, really, but the score sounds nice. Levels are well balanced and there aren’t any serious issues with hiss or distortion to note.

    Amazingly enough, for a film as obscure as this one, there are actually some pretty great extra features here, the best of which is a feature length audio commentary from Poole himself. There’s a good bit of discussion regarding the look of the movie, how it originally meant to be a hardcore picture, what went into creating the sets and costumes as well as various artistic sources that served as an influence for him while he was working on the project. He also talks about the cast and crew involved in the picture, covers some of the technical oddities employed in shooting the movie and quite a bit more. There are moments where Poole clams up and lets portions of the film play out without a whole lot of input, but he offers up enough insight that this is worth listening to.

    There’s also an interesting archival clip included here in which Poole appears on a public access TV show from 1977 entitled The Emerald City. Poole chats up the project to the host. It’s quite interesting to see. Aside from that, Georgina Spelvin shows up to discuss her work in pictures, how she got her start, how she wound up in porn and then what was involved in getting her to appear in this feature. Gloria Grant is also interviewed here for a few minutes and she talks about how she landed the role after coming into contact with Poole and how she did and sometimes didn’t get along with some of her co-stars. Rounding out the extras are roughly twelve minutes of screen tests, some effects test footage, a pretty hefty still gallery and the film’s theatrical trailer. Menus and chapter selection are also included.

    The Final Word:

    A really odd hybrid of somewhat pretentious arthouse style and good old fashioned dirty movie trappings, Wakefield Poole’s Bible! was as unlikely a candidate for a special edition DVD release as you could have probably named. Vinegar Syndrome have once again risen to the occasion and offered this legitimately obscure picture up in very nice shape and with some pretty fascinating extras too. The movie itself is oddly compelling, it’s beautifully made in many ways and a fairly captivating watch.