Blue Money (Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack)
Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
Released on: January 31st, 2017.
Director: Alain Patrick
Cast: Alain Patrick, Barbara Mills, Inga Maria, Sandy Dempsey, Suzanne Fields, Maria Arnold, Bob Chinn
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This 1972 Crown International production was directed by and starring Quebec native Alain Patrick (who co-produced the film with Bob Chinn, who has a cameo in the picture as a cop alongside exploitation director Gary Kent!) as a guy named Jim. Set in the freewheeling California of the seventies, we learn that Jim is a cinematic outlaw – he’s a man that makes a living shooting fast and cheap porno movies (which was illegal at this point in history). Jim is married to a hippy named Lisa (Barbara Mills) and they have a daughter together, but this guy wants more out of life. See, not only does Jim want to sail around the world, but he wants to make mainstream. Sadly, his perpetual streak of bad luck continues and life just hasn’t handed him that opportunity yet. On top of that, the F.B.I. is watching his every move hoping to arrest him. If that weren’t enough, his producers are shifty as shifty can be and playing fast and loose with the funding on his latest effort.
As Jim’s life gets grubbier and more distraught, he starts to take solace in the arms of the women he works with. Because of this, and understandably so, his marriage begins to crumble. Will Jim be able to pull himself out of this quagmire of filth and make it in the movies? Is he destined to spend the rest of his life toiling in porno and trapped in a trouble marriage? Or will he wind up behind bars, the victim of a vice squad sting operation?
Interesting that this movie was produced by none other than the aforementioned Bob Chinn (credited as Robert C. Chinn - read our interview with him here!), as it paints a fairly unhappy picture of the adult film industry that Chinn helped build into what it is today with his seminal Johnny Wadd films. Alain Patrick, who as was mentioned also directed the picture, is a strong and likeable lead here despite his character’s infidelity and flaws. Look past the fact that he can’t hide is Quebecois accent! Equally good, if not better, is lovely Barbara Mills as Lisa. Her performance is very strong, her persona sympathetic, and her looks fantastic and the camera loves her in every scene she’s in. It’s fun to see Chinn pop up in his cameo, and hey, be on the lookout for appearances from Sandy Dempsey and Suzanne Fields as well as California based exploitation and sex film regulars like Maria Arnold and Susan Wescott.
The movie has an interesting almost documentary approach to the scenes that take place on the sets of the adult movies that Jim is making. While the subject matter lends itself to loads of sex and nudity, it’s a fair bit more judicious in its use of those elements and this plays more like a semi-serious drama than a drive-in or sexploitation picture. However, it’s worth noting that this previously unreleased uncut version is quite a bit stronger in the sex and nudity department than previously released versions of the picture. This cut of the picture runs almost ten minutes longer than the standard R-rated cut that was included in the Dangerous Babes Collection. A lot of that running time comes from the extended – and far more graphic – sex scenes that are put into this version. This doesn’t go into XXX territory, but there are moments where it comes surprisingly close!
A very well made film with a good story and some great performances, Blue Money rises above its exploitation movie elements to provide what is actually a pretty solid character drama, albeit it one with a lot of hot naked chicks bumping and grinding in it.
Blue Money debuts on Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer taken from a 2k scan of the original 35mm negative and it looks gorgeous. Colors, which are bold and beautiful throughout much of the picture, are really nicely reproduced - never too hot or oversaturated - while skin tones look lifelike and natural (an important factor in enjoying that extended footage!). Detail is quite nice and texture as well, both advancing over the DVD release in every way possible. There are no problems with any compression artifacts and the transfer is free of any obvious noise reduction or edge enhancement. Black levels are solid and there are no problems with crush. As such, we get good shadow detail when the movie asks for it. To sum it up, this is wonderfully filmic and a beautiful representation of the film.
The only audio option provided for the feature is an English DTS-HD Mono track, there are no alternate language options or subtitles provided. The audio is quite good, there’s decent depth here and fine clarity. The score sounds nice, it’s well balanced like the rest of the track, and there are no problems with any hiss or distortion. The music during the opening scene has some nice bounce to it, the bass is pretty strong here and for an older single channel mix, things shape up quite nicely actually.
Extras start off with a new video interview with Bob Chinn that runs fourteen minutes. Here Chinn talks about how he wound up producing this picture, his contributions to the authenticity of the script, his thoughts on Patrick as a director, his own work in the adult film industry of the time and quite a bit more.
Also on hand is a bonus feature in the form of The Affairs Of Aphrodite, directed by Alain Patrick in 1970. Presented in high definition (but not in nicely as nice a condition as the feature attraction – a good amount of print damage here, right from the opening credits), this quirky low budget softcore feature was made shortly before Blue Money. The story here follows the Greek god Antiochus (Wayne Roberts) as he comes to own acquire a beautiful female servant/sex slave for the goddess Aphrodite (Antoinette Maynard, who would later be known as Lily Foster and pop up in all manner of smut and sexploitation pictures) and her brother Apollo (Walt Phillips). As luck would have it, Antiochus didn’t snag just any old fox, nosiree, he wound up purchasing the Cretan goddess Sappho (Luanne Roberts as Christine Murray)!
Once that’s sorted, the unholy trinity wind up buying a new slave Katenga (Monica Williams). From there? It’s back to Mount Olympus where a human named Paris (Robin Courtney) falls in love with Sappho and attempts to rescue her from the bondage she has been entailed with. It doesn’t work out so well and soon enough, Paris has been caught by Aphrodite and Apollo and, like the slaves, turned into a sexual plaything for the pair. Paris and Sappho, however, don’t plan to stick around any longer than they have to…
An amusing softcore picture, this was clearly shot with no money. The sets look less like ancient Greece than they do someone’s apartment, and the costumes are minimalist at best. That said, there are plenty of pretty naked and/or scantily clad girls in the picture, so there’s no shortage of eye candy. The scenes of Sapphic liaisons in this picture are particularly well handled and genuinely steamy even if the cameraman can’t stand still for more than a few seconds. The plot is pretty thin but there’s a sense of humor on display here and if the scenes that are shot outdoors lack Greek authenticity, who cares. We even get some murder and some sword play towards the end of the picture, and then some weird hypnotism and slow motion ‘running through the woods’ footage before it’s all over. If it looks like a fairly filthy high school play, so be it.
Rounding out the extras on the disc is a still gallery, the film’s original theatrical trailer, animated menus and chapter selection. As this is a combo pack release a DVD version of the movie is also included containing a standard definition version of the restored transfer and supplements identical to those found on the Blu-ray disc.
The Final Word:
Blue Money is much more successfully dramatic than you might expect it to be, as it’s as much a character study as it is an exploitation picture. Still, in this never before seen uncut version it’s got enough skin on display to more than tickle the fancy of drive-in movie fans. Add to that the fact that it looks fucking great and includes some nice extras and a full length bonus feature? That makes this well worth owning for anyone with an interest in the Crown International library or seventies American exploitation pictures.
Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!
the affairs of aphrodite,
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