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Thursday, March 24, 2016

FELICITY -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle



Having already been introduced to the ins and outs of sex "dan unda" by his documentaries THE ABC OF LOVE AND SEX: AUSTRALIA STYLE and AUSTRALIA AFTER DARK (in addition to his lurid slasher-horror NIGHTMARES), I was interested to see Ozploitation director John D. Lamond's entry in the "Emmanuelle" school of softcore sex dramas, 1978's FELICITY. 

This story of a young schoolgirl's growing sexual awareness is a deft mix of crass and class that plays like a humid back-pocket novel.  Within minutes it's already offering up plentiful amounts of nudity as young Felicity and her fellow convent school mates splash in the shower (Felicity marvels at the tingling in her "special place") and go skinny dipping at a nearby pond as neighboring boys look on from the bushes, which excites her.

Felicity isn't just curious about sex--she's obsessed, thinking about it every waking minute and talking about it at length in the diary-like narration.  Her school day consists of gazing at the other girls, contemplating her own body's budding wonders, and making those awkward first lesbian advances toward her best friend Jenny while fantasizing about losing her virginity to an actual boy. 


The film continues in this hazy pastoral vein until Felicity gets an invitation from her sister Christine (Marilyn Rodgers, PATRICK, "Prisoner: Cell Block H") to vacation at her home in Hong Kong, which we predict will be like setting wild dogs loose in a butcher shop. 

Not surprisingly, Felicity witnesses a couple having sex on the plane and pleasures herself in lieu of finishing her dog-eared copy of "Emmanuelle."  Arriving amidst the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong, she soon ends up peeping at Christine and her cutie-pie hubby Stephen doing the nasty as well, and chomping at the bit to try it herself.

At this point it's pretty much just a matter of waiting to see what kind of sexual exploits will come Felicity's way next, and with whom.  Our first sight of a dashing older guy with a porn 'stache is a dead giveaway, as is Felicity's meeting with Christine's pretty friend Me Ling (Penthouse Pet Joni Flynn). 


These two adventurous babes go out on the town for the day, allowing Lamond to indulge in plenty of nicely exotic travelogue stuff until it's time to retire to a bath house for some steamy (literally) interplay with a couple of lady sex workers.

Our sensuous heroine wanders in and out of a few more brief encounters until she finally finds love with the proper stranger (Christopher Milne, THIRST), whereupon she discovers that there's more to life than simple hedonism. 

I won't give away the final outcome, since this story has precious few surprises to offer as it is before the rather abrupt ending.  Suffice it to say I was pleased that it didn't take the sort of darker turn that I was anticipating. 


Not exactly the most plot-heavy movie you'll ever see, FELICITY saunters along at a lazy pace and is quite enjoyable if one gears down enough to sit still for it.

The sex scenes are artistically rendered--hazy lighting, soft focus, subtlety--with enough simulated hoo-hah to count as softcore porn without ever coming close to raunch.

Director Lamond has enough finesse to make a visually pleasing film with a low budget and get adequate-to-good performances from his cast.  Glory Annen (SUPERGIRL, THE LONELY LADY), who was actually about 26 at the time, is fresh-faced and girlish enough to be convincing as the young Felicity without creeping us out.  The Hong Kong backdrop adds immeasurably to the film's appeal.


The Blu-ray from Severin Films is widescreen HD with Dolby 2.0 sound.  No subtitles.  Incredibly, the bonus menu includes both of the aforementioned full-length sex documentaries from John D. Lamond, THE ABC OF LOVE AND SEX: AUSTRALIA STYLE and AUSTRALIA AFTER DARK, in their entirety, including the original commentary tracks.

We also get lengthy interviews with Lamond and an older "Felicity" herself, Glory Annen, as well as a commentary track for FELICITY featuring the two.  Trailers for Lamond's films round out the selection. 

I'm past the point of finding this kind of stuff all that titillating these days, but back in 1978 this was pretty hot stuff for those not yet jaded by Cinemax After Dark or The Playboy Channel.  Now, FELICITY has a pleasant kind of novelty value and, with a little honest-to-goodness romance thrown in, it makes for a very nice couples flick.

Buy it at Amazon.com:
Blu-ray
DVD

Release date: March 29, 2016
Stills shown are not taken from the Blu-ray




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