• Smut Without Smut: Things To Come + The Dirty Dolls (AGFA) Blu-ray Review



    Released by: AGFA
    Released on: November 27th, 2020.
    Director: Derek Todd/Stu Segall
    Cast: Barbara Fisk, George 'Buck' Flower, Colleen Brennan, Cyndee Summers
    Year: 1976/1973
    Purchase From Vinegar Syndrome

    Smut Without Smut: Things To Come + The Dirty Dolls – Movie Review:

    If you want to get dirty, but not too dirty, AGFA’s got you covered. The American Genre Film Archive saw success with their ‘Smut Without Smut’ theatrical showings and have made the move to bring the experience home with this first volume, a limited edition Blu-ray double feature pairing Derek Todd’s 1976 picture Things To Come with Stu Segall’s The Dirty Dolls, made a few years prior in 1973. The idea behind ‘Smut Without Smut’ is pretty simple – take some sex films and edit out the sex (or most of it, anyway) to see what you’re left with.

    Thankfully, for those interested in being as dirty as possible, AGFA also includes the full-strength versions of each movie. These were originally shot as softcore pictures so don’t get upset when there aren’t any hardcore shots here, but they are definitely a lot more graphic than the ‘smutless’ versions that serve as the feature attractions.

    The uncut version of Things To Come runs 1:37:35 versus the ‘smutless’ version at 1:11:41, while the uncut version of Dirty Dolls runs 1:12:56 versus the ‘smutless’ version at 49:42, so you can see that there’s a fair bit of material missing from the ‘smutless’ cuts.

    Things To Come:

    The first film, set in a distant future, where the government has taken over employment management, really just kind of sucking the free will and ambition out of the populace. When people aren't working, they're watching sex on TV, which proves to be the ultimate distraction. The central character in the film is a beautiful blonde woman named Julie who should seem to want for nothing in life. She's happily married and she and her husband have all the comforts of home they could ever hope for. They differ, however, and this is where things get tricky. He's content to spend his spare time in front of the boob tube, while she wants to get outside and see the sights.

    When a gang of revolutionaries intent on starting a new government get word of her unhappiness with her lot in life, they make contact with her knowing she'll be sympathetic to their cause. Of course, they're right, and they begin to set into motion a plan that involves getting to the place where a computer is residing that is responsible for keeping society restrained the way it is.

    As is noted in the commentary, there’s a strong Star Trek vibe present throughout the movie, noticeable with the sets and costumes used throughout the picture. This, of course, contrasts with the dystopian elements of the film (Star Trek was always pretty positive about the future), and thematically the film has more in common with films like Westworld and books like Fahrenheit 451 and Brave New World. But let’s not oversell things here, as Things To Come isn’t nearly as cerebral as any of the aforementioned works, though there are moments where it seems like it’s trying to be.

    The plot leaves itself open to some sexy time, of course (at least in the uncut version – none of this material is in the ‘‘smutless’’ cut), and we get that right from the start when we see a man watching a roughie on his television, an unlucky blonde finding herself on the receiving end of his belt, then forced to service him orally all within the first five-minutes of the movie. After that we see a couple indulge in some rope play as Julie and her husband talk on the couch. We then see a woman undress a man at knife point, forcing him to have sex with her. There's more, of course, but we don't need the full play-by-play here. Most of it appears 'on the TV' in the movie, though not all of it.

    The producers managed to secure the use of some appropriately futuristic looking buildings and sets to stage the picture, though apartment interiors definitely tell when this picture was made, there's no hiding the seventies 'look' of these places. The film also has an unexpected detour into killer dirtbike territory where we see some guys on tricked out motorbikes with very sharp teeth on the front chase down and kill some women!

    The Dirty Dolls:

    The second film, directed by Stu Segall under his “Godfrey Daniels” alias, revolves around a man named Johnny Feral (John Alderman), a ruthless criminal type who is in charge of a gang of beautiful women who will do literally anything he asks of them. What does he ask them to do? Sex and robberies, mostly.

    After the group holds up a bar and makes off with the loot, Johnny sends the girls out solo to rob a jewelry exchange. They do this by having one of the crew dress up as an old woman in a wheelchair and, somehow, they pull it off. However, when they have to take hostages to get out alive, Johnny is none too happy, particularly when they show up back at the hideout with said hostages, a male and a female. The party that had agreed to buy the hot haul of gems backs out when he hears, Johnny is not pleased and he wants to off the hostages to get rid of any potential witness.

    Johnny sister, Dee Dee, learns of his plans and frees the male hostage after her brother kills the other one. When Dee Dee decides to confront her brother about all of this, well, it doesn't end well.

    This one gets considerably more graphic than the first feature. We get a strip club scene with a naked lady doing her thing, a naked massage that turns into sex, a lesbian three-way scene featuring Sharon Kelly, a scene where Ms. Kelly gets down in a barn and a rape scene. Again, all of this is absent in the 'smutless' cut of the movie but the ‘smutfull’ version is readily available on the disc as well.

    Likely inspired by the Manson murders that had made headlines a short time before the movie was made, The Dirty Dolls isn’t the most original picture ever made, you can kind of see where it’s all going early one, but it’s entertaining enough. What will make it interesting to cult film fans is the presence of a few interesting cast members. Exploitation film regular John Alderman, of Delinquent School Girls, Cleopatra Jones and Saddle Tramp Women to name only a few, does a pretty good job as the film’s heavy, throwing his weight around effectively enough. More interesting than that, Sharon Kelly, star of plenty of sex films both hard and soft, has a prominent role here as Shelly, one of John’s girls, and porn star Cyndee Summers shows up in the picture as well. If that wasn’t enough, George ‘Buck Flower also has a small part in the picture.

    Segall keeps the pace moving pretty briskly, throwing in a good mix of action and sleaze. Shot in and around Los Angeles, the movie was clearly made fast and cheap but makes pretty good use of some rural locations that work as the gang’s hideout and the grubby nudie bar that opens the movie is pretty boss to look at.

    Smut Without Smut: Things To Come + The Dirty Dolls – Blu-ray Review:

    Both of the films are presented on a 50GB disc framed at 1.85.1 widescreen taken from ‘new 2K preservations from the only known 35mm prints in existence.’ Presented in AVC encoded 1080p high definition, we’re at the mercy of the available elements here but don’t let that dissuade you. Things To Come shows some print damage but is in reasonably good shape and boasts pretty solid colors as well. The Dirty Dolls is in rougher shape, showing more print damage than the first feature, but both are more than watchable and the condition isn’t likely to upset those familiar with older, obscure exploitation and sex films. Compression is fine, and there are no problems with any noise reduction or edge enhancement, these transfers always look like film, which is exactly how we want it!

    Each film gets a 16-bit DTS-HD Mono audio track. Optional subtitles are provided in English only. The audio fares better than you might expect it to. There’s some hiss here and there but it’s minor, and the tracks are well-balanced on both films. Range is, quite understandably, limited but dialogue, is a bit flat sounding in spots, is always easy to understand.

    Extras start off with a commentary over the ‘smutless’ version of Things To Come featuring Joseph Ziemba, Alisha Coombs, Brett Berg, Ivan Peycheff and Sebastian del Castio. They start off by talking about the main character in the movie and her similarities to yuppies before then going on to talk about the concept of 'smut without smut' (which started with them showing edited versions of Bat Pussy and Ms. Magnificent among others to theatrical audiences), how the movie borrows from a lot of 70's post-dystopian narratives, the San Antonio locations used in the movie, the production design, how the movie was originally brought to their attention through Temple Of Schlock, who was responsible for the sexed-up inserts in the movie, the film's mysterious release history and what went into getting it on Blu-ray, how the producer owned a pizza restaurant, that the movie came out a year before Star Wars was released, how they lucked out and got a hold of the only known print of the film for the American Genre Film Archive, how the different commentators got their start doing archive work and more.

    Menus and chapter selection are also provided.

    Note that this release is limited to 2000 pieces and will not be repressed once it sells out. You can buy this directly from AGFA’s distributor, Vinegar Syndrome, and get yourself a nice slipcover as well.

    Smut Without Smut: Things To Come + The Dirty Dolls - The Final Word:

    AGFA’s Blu-ray release of Smut Without Smut: Things To Come + The Dirty Dolls presents two completely obscure softcore films on home video for the first time, and both prove to be pretty entertaining efforts. Including the ‘smutful’ versions along with the edited ‘smutless’ versions was definitely the right thing to do, assuring that the original versions can be seen by those who want them while those of a more delicate sensibility can enjoy the shorter versions. The presentations are solid, all things considered, and the commentary is quite interesting.

    Click on the images below for full sized Smut Without Smut: Things To Come + The Dirty Dolls Blu-ray screen caps!



























































    Comments 1 Comment
    1. agent999's Avatar
      agent999 -
      This is definitely worth getting for the uncut versions, but the smutless versions are worthless. I object to them cutting these about, they're nothing more than fan edits. From the commentary they seem to think it's an improvement, but that's what UK censor James Ferman used to say when he cut the balls off something. Plus they let slip what I believe is the real reason for the cuts: alcohol licencing laws in cinemas showing adult material.