• Matinee Idol

    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: July, 2017.
    Director: Henri Pachard
    Cast: John Leslie, Jesie St. James, David F. Friedman, Sharon Kelly, Kay Parker, Angel, Herschel Savage
    Year: 1984
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    The Movie:

    Directed by Henri Pachard for producer David F. Friedman, 1984’s Matinee Idol tells the story of Lance Hardy (John Leslie) and Linda Hand (Jesie St. James), the current ‘it couple’ in the adult film industry, two performers at the top of their game and the peak of their popularity. Unfortunately for Bernard Kuntz (Friedman) and Harvey Cox (Elmo Lavino), their two leads get into a very public squabble in the middle of their latest effort and wind up storming off the set, refusing to work together anymore. Understandably, the producers plan to fire the two egoists, but not until they find suitable replacements for them so that they can finish their picture.

    Meanwhile, Linda hits it off in every way possible with Bud (Herschel Savage), the pool man. Once she’s had a taste, she figures he’s just what she needs to get Lance kicked off the shoot. Before Bud can have a shot at the big time, however, he needs to undergo a plaster casting! While this is going on, Lance has got his own thing going on with Daisy (Angel), which leads to Linda getting jealous. Of course, Lance gets jealous in return once he finds out about Bud. Soon enough, Bud and Daisy wind up screen testing together and the chemistry there is strong enough that, yeah, maybe the producers will be happy with the way this turns out after all…

    A classy and comedic effort with excellent production values and genuinely impressive cinematography, Matinee Idol is a lot of fun. With supporting work from the likes of Kay Parker, Sharon Kelly (or Colleen Brennan if you prefer) and Tigr the picture is well cast. Leslie and St. James do a great job not with the carnal requirements of the picture but also with the more dramatic and comedic aspects of their respective characters. They also have good chemistry together, particularly during the film’s finale where they seem to be genuinely into each other. Savage is good in his role too, again handling the physical side along with the comedic elements needed for his part, and hey, throw in a nice supporting role for the lovely Ms. Angel and it’s hard to imagine anyone complaining about the casting on this one. We also get genuinely funny non-sex supporting performances from Friedman, basically playing himself, and Lavino – also very good in his role.

    Breezy, fast paced and often times very funny the movie may portray the adult film industry as considerably more lavish than, by most accounts, it really was at the time, but that doesn’t take away from any of the film’s considerable charm. If it’s dated in appearance and clearly a product of the early eighties, so be it. When it holds up as well as this picture does, most won’t mind at all.


    Matinee Idol debuts on Blu-ray from Vinegar Syndrome in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.78.1 widescreen on a 50GB disc. Taken from a 2k restoration of the original 35mm negative, the picture quality here is excellent. Detail is very strong throughout and the image is quite clean showing almost no noticeable print damage at all. Grain appears naturally, as it should, while color reproduction seems nice and natural – in fact, seeing this in HD makes you appreciate just how bright, bold and colorful this nicely shot film really is. Black levels are solid as well, and skin tones look lifelike and accurate (always important in a movie like this!). There are no noticeable issues with compression artifacts or edge enhancement to note either. Really, there’s nothing to complain about here. This is an excellent transfer.

    The only audio option on the disc is an English language DTS-HD Mono track. No problems here aside from a tiny bit of noticeable hiss in a few spots. The single channel track is clean, clear and nicely balanced and the score sounds pretty good too.

    The main extra on the disc is an audio interview with the late, great David F. Friedman himself that runs just short of ninety minutes in length. Friedman, always a great raconteur, tells a lot of interesting stories here about the four different adult films that he had a hand in delivering during this part of his career, when softcore just wasn’t cutting it with audience anymore. He looks back on this period pretty fondly, telling some fun tales about different cast and crew members that he worked with and opening up about how much fun it was to be doing this back in the day.

    Aside from that, we get a trailer for the feature, menus and chapter selection. As this is a combo pack release we also get a DVD version of the movie.

    The Final Word:

    Matinee Idol is a clever mix of sex and humor that’s nicely shot, well–directed and that makes use of a genuinely great cast. Vinegar Syndrome’s Blu-ray release is a thing of beauty, presenting the uncut feature in gorgeous shape and with a great interview with the film’s late producer serving as its main supplement.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!

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