• Deep Throat Sex Comedy Collection (After Hours Cinema) DVD Review



    Released by: After Hours Cinema
    Released on: July 7th, 2009.
    Director: Joseph W. Sarno
    Cast: c
    Year: 1974
    Purchase From Amazon

    Deep Throat Sex Comedy Collection - Movie Review:

    1974 was a busy year for skin flick maestro Joe Sarno, who directed no less than three feature length films, all collected here in this new two disc release from After Hours Cinema. Here’s a look…

    DEEP THROAT II (1974):

    Directed by Joseph Sarno (of Swedish Wildcats), this rarely seen sequal to Gerard Damiano's 1972 XXX smash finds Linda playing Nurse Lovelace in a noticeably less racy follow up film. After Linda wakes up, we see the Damiano Films Presents logo (ironic since Damiano himself had absolutely nothing to do with this film, having parted ways with the Peraino’s before cameras started rolling) hit the screen as her naked body glides across the floor to the tune of some fun disco sounds.

    Once she leaves the house, Linda's followed on her way to work where she's employed by Dr. Jayson (played by Harry Reems and his giant moustache, star of the first Deep Throat and Sex Wish), who periodically indulges himself with Linda's considerable talent. Soon enough some feds have chased her down as they need her to serve her country! At first she thinks she's been drafted but soon she finds out that there's a Russian karate expert running around causing problems, much to the dismay of the horny Dr. Jayson who just wants to get laid.

    The government, represented by Jamie Gillis, enlists Linda as Agent 0069 so that she can help them put a stop to the communist threat. Thankfully she's got a super computer (who happens to get an erection when she talks to him) named O.S.C.A.R. to help her, as well as a few fellow U. S. Agents... or does she?
    This film, while not even close to hardcore, does benefits from a good cast. Jamie Gillis (star of Waterpower and credited on screen simply as Jamey) has a decent sized role so do fellow porno stars, Steve Tucker, Mark Stevens, Helen Madigan, Chris Jordan, Roger Caine and Tina Russell in bit parts. For some reason, Harry Reems spends a lot of the film bouncing on the spot. I guess it's supposed to mean he's horny but it's hard to tell if that's the case of if he's just on speed or something. Either way, it's odd. Lovelace looks quite healthy in the film though, with a lot of nice color in her cheeks and a healthy glow to her that isn't present in all of her work. She looks like she’s having fun here, and her girl next door good looks and rather sweet looking face make her easy to crush on.

    Sarno's direction is decent, with some nice framing in a few sequences. The editing looks like it might have played a part in excising the sex scenes. Sometimes when things start to heat up, which isn't really all that often, it ends quite abruptly and there's certainly nothing in here that would cause the film to get anything harsher than an R-rating (which is how it played during its very brief theatrical run). There's nary anything even remotely resembling hardcore in this film, and the nudity isn't even particularly plentiful leading one to wonder what the point of it all was.

    The film is quite interesting as a curiosity item. It's not a good movie, and the comedy in it is pretty mundane (save for Reems and Gillis, who are always reliable and always entertaining), but the sheer weirdness of it all helps the film, much like it did in Linda’s other attempt at ‘mainstream’ success, Linda Lovelace For President.

    THE SWITCH, OR HOW TO ALTER YOUR EGO (1974):

    One of Joe Sarno’s most obscure works (the liner notes state that there’s no known US release to be documented anywhere, nor have any bootlegs ever shown up), this is a strange take on the old Jekyll & Hyde story shot using some pretty interesting cast members.

    Rebecca Brooke (a.k.a. Mary Mendum and credited here as Veronica Parrish) plays sexy but nerdy Dr. Shirley Jekyll, a chemist whose research uncovers a perfume formula that turns her into an unrestrained sex maniac who calls herself Sherry Hyde. As Sherry gets into the groove of things, she more or less wanders around and makes it with as many men and women as she can get her hands on, eventually winding up at a gang bang that takes place in a swanky seventies apartment. As Sherry’s addiction to her perfume sets in, she finds that she can’t get enough and her libido gets her into some increasingly dangerous situations, the last one landing her in a very hot spot indeed as this fairly predictable softcore sex comedy smacks you outside the head with an ending that comes completely out of left field.

    Featuring supporting efforts from Jennifer Welles, Sonny Landham and Eric Edwards, this was obviously made fast and cheap and to be honest, it isn’t particularly funny in the traditional sense. It’s strange enough that it has some entertainment value, however, particularly if you enjoy cheap laboratory sets, thick accents, bad acting and fog machines. There’s not much in the way of sex or nudity for the first chunk of the film but the later half delivers some decent skin and the orgy scene comes perilously close to hardcore in a couple of shots (though these are fleeting). Sarno shoots the film well, capturing some great old locations.

    While not a particularly riveting film, it’s worth a watch, especially if you’re a fan of Sarno’s style.

    A TOUCH OF GENIE (1974):

    Previously released in its hardcore version, this softcore cut of A Touch Of Genie doesn’t differ in terms of the storyline, it simply omits the XXX footage. Interestingly enough, it uses almost the exact same cast as Deep Throat II, making it a good companion piece to that film and a very appropriate inclusion in this collection.

    The film tells the story of a dorky antiquities dealer named Melvin (Douglas Stone) who lucks into finding an old bottle that houses a foxy genie (Chris Jordan). After masturbating into the bottle, the genie pops out and grants him five wishes despite the fact that he only really expects three. Melvin’s a horndog, however, and his constant porno movie watching has skewed his sensibilities to the point where all he really wants is to turn into a porn star and bang some hot chicks. He turns into Harry Reems, Marc Stevens, Eric Edwards and John Ashton and does just that. While doing his damndest to avoid his overbearing mother (Ultramax sporting a pretty wild hairdo) he sets about screwing some hotties including Tina Russell and Lynn Stevens not really realizing that the one woman who he could live happily ever after with is closer than he realizes.

    The only genuinely funny move in the set, A Touch Of Genie isn’t necessarily a better film in softcore format but it’s still an amusing sex comedy made all the more enjoyable by some great performances. Douglas Stone is fantastic as the incredibly dorky porno addict while Harry Reems and Marc Stevens (wearing a great MARK STEVENS 10 ½ t-shirt) prove to have great comedic timing. Tina Russell proves to be quite the fox, as if we didn’t know that already, while the oddly appealing Chris Jordan, who makes for an unlikely but effective genie, matches her in terms of bizarre sexual charm.

    Like the other two films in the set, this one also features some great footage of the New York City of the 1970s. The film’s got charm to spare and winds up a rather harmless but completely entertaining sex comedy proving that Sarno really could direct a funny movie just as well as he could the erotic soap operas and character studies he made his reputation with.

    Deep Throat Sex Comedy Collection - DVD Review:

    Deep Throat II is presented in 1.78.1 anamorphic widescreen, unfortunately interlaced (as are the other two films). In short, Deep Throat II doesn’t look so good. Taken from a tape source (you can see tape roll in a couple of spots) the image is soft throughout and there are some problems with macro-blocking in some spots. One shot early on suffers from insane interlacing effects ,which is odd, as it only lasts a couple of seconds and doesn’t plague the rest of the film. The biggest problem with the transfer, however, is the aspect ratio. While I can’t say authoritatively that this film was shot fullframe, a simple comparison to the old Alpha Blue Archives release of the movie that was released in 2004 as part of their Linda Lovelace Collection shows that there’s a considerable amount of information missing at the top and bottom of the frame on this transfer. Call it cropping, call it reframing, call it whatever you want – it does make certain scenes look too tight resulting in some shots where the performers are missing the tops of their heads. The film did play theatrically, however briefly, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that this was intended to be shown in some sort of widescreen aspect ratio, but here it just looks off. Take that into account alongside the inferior video quality and it’s hard not to be just a bit disappointed.

    The Switch is presented in 1.33.1 fullframe and the compositions all look correct here. There are burned in Swedish subtitles present, which are annoying, but it’s better to see this previously ‘lost’ Sarno movie in lesser shape than not at all. The liner notes state that this transfer was taken from the only known film elements, so this is probably as good as it’s going to get. Expect some obvious wear and tear to the image but as imperfect as it may be, it’s certainly watchable enough, particularly when you consider the scarcity of the film.

    A Touch Of Genie is also presented 1.78.1 anamorphic widescreen. Taken from a battered print with some vertical scratches evident throughout, this is another case of ‘take it how you can get it’ because it’s doubtful that pristine elements are anywhere to be found. The compositions actually look pretty good here and there doesn’t appear to be any obvious cropping. Color reproduction isn’t half bad either, and as long as you can get past the print damage, the image is decent enough here.

    The audio is English mono across the board, no alternate language dubbed tracks or subtitles are provided. The quality is fine, there might be the odd bit of hiss here and there but aside from that there’s nothing to really complain about – you can understand the performers well enough and the scores sound good in each of the three movies.

    Here’s why you’re going to want to pick this one up – the extras. The first disc features an excellent commentary track. While the packaging states that it’s with Richard Livermore alone, he’s joined by moderator Michael Bowen with periodic input from After Hours Cinema head honcho, Mike Raso. Then, about twenty minutes in, Joe Sarno walks in the room. This all happens on tape and it’s rather amusing as it doesn’t sound like Richard and Joe had seen each other in a while. Regardless, on to the commentary which is quite good despite some fluctuations in the levels (any time Bowen laughs, which is frequent, he’s really loud). While much of this track is simply random scene specific anecdotes, Livermore does give a good rundown of his career in the adult film industry from how he got his start doing magazine layouts on the west coast to how he wound up becoming one of Sean Costello’s regulars. He and Sarno both speak quite fondly of Lovelace and apparently enjoyed working with her quite a bit. Sarno points out that Judy Tenuta has a brief cameo in the film and finally lays to rest the stories about whether or not this film was actually shot as a hardcore feature. For years fans have suspected that this was originally meant to be a XXX film and for whatever reason it wound up getting cut. Sarno confirms that although more sex footage was shot than what appears here (some of it has turned up on an Italian DVD release of Deep Throat II and on a compilation called The Confessions Of Linda Lovelace) that the film was never intended to be a hardcore movie and he states that he shot all of the performers from the waste up. No hardcore footage ever existed for this film. Livermore also confirms that he specifically remembers shooting a sex scene with Lovelace and that she had clothes on when they did it. All in all, this is a good track and it’s interesting to hear the two finally dispel one of porndom’s longest running rumors.

    The first disc also contains a video interview with Joe Sarno (11:18). The always amiable director speaks here about how he came on board the picture, what it was like working with Lovelace, and what it was like following up what is undeniably the most successful adult film of all time. He also talks about the advent of hardcore, what it was like watching Deep Throat in a theater with Lovelace sitting between he and his wife Peggy, and how XXX films made it harder and harder to make a living shooting softcore movies. Sarno’s got a pretty good memory and he always makes for an interesting interview subject. While some of what he discusses here is repeated in the commentary, it really doesn’t matter, this is still definitely worth watching.

    Rounding out the extras on disc one are some animated menus, chapter selection and a Joe Sarno trailer vault containing spots for Moonlighting Wives, Inga, Seduction Of Inga, Daddy Darling, Swedish Wildcats, Confessions Of A Young American Housewife, and A Touch Of Genie.

    Disc two also features some interesting extras starting with Memories From The Bottle (10:21), an interview with Douglas Stone who played Melvin in A Touch Of Genie. He talks about his character a bit and then Sarno shows up to talk about directing the picture, noting that comedy doesn’t always work with sex. The pair talk about what it was like working with Harry Reems and Tina Russell and Stone talks about his parents’ reaction to his ‘acting career.’ It’s a pretty good look back at the picture and a welcome addition to the disc.

    Post Screening Comments (2:30) features Michael Bowen and Douglas Stone on stage at the late, great Pioneer Two Boots where After Hours Cinema had a screening of the film. Stone tells a fun story about meeting Marc Stevens before commenting on how nice most of the cast members were. The Post Screening Reception (5:56) featurette is simply a collection of footage that allows those who attended the screening, including Peggy Sarno and Michael Raso, to talk about the film and give their thoughts on it. You can watch all three of these featurettes through a play all option or individually.

    Inside the keepcase is another interesting set of liner notes from Michael Bowen, who does a good job of putting Deep Throat II into historical context, explaining how various participants came on board the project and explaining, as best is possible, the film’s scattered release history before talking briefly about The Switch and A Touch Of Genie. It’s cool to see the one sheet for the film and some lobby cards used in the booklet.

    Deep Throat Sex Comedy Collection - The Final Word:

    Imperfections with the video aside, this is a pretty solid release and worth picking up not only for the previously unreleased The Switch but also for the commentary and Sarno interview that accompany Deep Throat II. These may not rank among Sarno’s best films but they’re all historically significant and aficionados of the early New York City adult filmmaking scene will definitely find this a worthy release.