• The Naughty Victorians (Vinegar Syndrome) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: July 28th, 2020.
    Director: Robert Sickinger
    Cast Beerbohn Tree, Susan Sloan, Angel Barrett, Jennifer Jordan, Heather Austin
    Year: 1975
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Naughty Victorians – Movie Review:

    The Naughty Victorians (or, if you want to go off of the title card, The Naughty Victorians: An Erotic Tale of a Maiden's Revenge) begins with a young woman named Alice (Susan Sloan) travelling by coach to London (by way of what looks like Central Park) where she arrives at the home of her fiancé, a high society headmaster named Jack (Beerbohm Tree). He greets her upon her arrival and shows off the house before taking her down to the basement, noting that the reason the walls are padded is that the place was once used as a mental hospital.

    When Alice decides it’s time to leave, Jack makes it clear he’s got other ideas and before you know it, he’s flipped a few switches, his home being powered by electricity and all, and tied poor Alice up using the restraints that have come down from his ceiling. He then proceeds to violate her and take her ‘maidenhead’ after stripping and photographing her. Alice protests at first, but before the session is over, she’s come around.

    A day or two later, Alice comes back, this time with her pretty maid Molly (Angel Barrett) along for the trip, and this time when Molly is put in the restraints, they both have their way with her. It doesn’t stop there, however, as before the move is over Jack will also do the dirty deed with a well-to-do woman named Lady Bunt (Jennifer Jordan) and her teenaged daughter Cecily (Heather Austin)… unaware all this while that his comeuppance is waiting for him.

    Adapted from the anonymously authored Victorian novella “The Way Of A Man With A Maid,” this film was directed by theatre director Robert Sickinger (credited as Robert S. Kinger) who does show a strong knack for the theatrical. Shot by cinematographer Joe Mangine, the film takes full advantage of the excellent location used as Jack’s primary playground. The production values work well here, the wardrobe is spot on and the music, some of which sounds very Gilbert And Sullivan-esque, actually complements the action quite well.

    As to the performances, lesser known cocksman Beerbohm Tree (best name ever!), who also pops up in Gerard Damiano’s Skin Flicks, might be a super skinny, weird looking guy but he’s really well-cast as Jack. As the dominant one in the film, he’s very effective at ‘insisting’ upon his character getting his way when and as he wants it, crafting Jack into quite an interesting character. Susan Sloan, who starred in The Passions Of Carol and Anyone But My Husband, is quite good here as well. Her character starts off innocent enough and she seems genuinely put off by what Jack has in mind for her, but once she becomes more experienced it’s interesting to see her character shift. Angel Barrett looks great here, but her accent is a little grating, while Joe Sarno regular Jennifer Jordon does a fine job as the hoity-toity high society woman and one-and-done actress Heather Austin is decent enough as her daughter.

    The Naughty Victorians – Blu-ray Review:

    Vinegar Syndrome brings The Naughty Victorians to Blu-ray taking taken from a new 2k scan of the film’s original 35mm negative in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition presentation. Framed at 1.85.1 widescreen and taking up 23.8GBs of space on the 25GB disc, the feature looks very good here. You might spot some very minor compression artifacts here and there (the blue velvet curtains in the background) if you’re specifically looking for them (and you shouldn’t be, just watch the damn movie) but they’re never distracting. Colors are reproduced really nicely here and skin looks, thankfully, very natural. No problems with noise reduction or edge enhancement, the whole thing looks and feels like film, and the transfer provides very strong detail and depth. There’s a few small specks and scratches around, and it looks like a hair got caught somewhere along the line in the first couple of minutes of the movie, but otherwise this is a very big step up from the previous DVD release that came out via VCX.

    Audio chores are handled by a 24-bit English language DTS-HD 1.0 Mono track. An alternate Dolby Digital Mono track, in English, is also provided as are English subtitles. The audio is a little bit flat in spots but always easy to understand. The levels are nicely balanced and there are no problems with any hiss or distortion. The subtitles are fine, but there are one or two odd translations (at one point what sounds like ‘Core, blimey!’ is translated as ‘cock whammy!’) in the film. Otherwise, no issues, the audio is more than decent.

    The main extra on the disc is a historical commentary track by author and professor Dr. Laura Helen Marks. After listing her credentials, she covers how this particular film has been at the center of a lot of her research over the last eight years, issues with the date in the in the film, how the quality of this release blows away past editions, when the film differs from the novel on which it was based (she cites direct passages from the book to back this up, which is quite interesting) and just as often when it gets things right, background information on the book itself, the significance of the use of hats in the movie, details on Mr. Tree and his memories of how impressive the set used in the film really was, the film's noticeable relative absence of 'meat shots and money shots' and how the film delivers titillation through other aspects, how the film was received when it hit theaters, the character arc that Alice experiences, how the film seems to be making fun of Victorian literature and romance, aspects of the movie that are played for laughs where the book does no such thing, the film's finale and quite a bit more.

    Aside from menus and chapter selection, the disc also contains both hardcore and softcore trailers for the feature, an alternate French language opening title sequence (using a ‘Les Adorables Victoriennes’ title card) and an archival still and article gallery. As this is a combo pack release, the Blu-ray case also contains a DVD that features a standard definition presentation of the film taken from the same restorations.

    As to the packaging, Vinegar Syndrome supplies some nice reversible cover sleeve artwork and, if you buy the film directly from their website, with an embossed, spot varnished slipcover designed by Earl Kessler Jr. and limited to 2,500 pieces.

    The Naughty Victorians – The Final Word Review:

    The Naughty Victorians is kinky, quirky and sometimes pretty damn funny. Vinegar Syndrome has brought this one to Blu-ray with a very nice presentation and a strong commentary as its main extra feature.

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

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Killer Meteor's Avatar
      Killer Meteor -
      I assume Beerbohn Tree is a homage to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbert_Beerbohm_Tree
    1. Alison Jane's Avatar
      Alison Jane -
      We thought that name was funny.