HK and Cult Film News's Fan Box

Saturday, February 27, 2010

THE SEXPERTS -- DVD review by porfle

Retro-Seduction Cinema takes us back to the steamy days of peep shows and 8mm nudie loops with the 2-DVD set THE SEXPERTS (TOUCHED BY TEMPTATION).

The fun begins with the actual packaging, featuring a sleeve which resembles a naughty paperback cover, a reproduction of the original 1965 poster on the front of the DVD case, and an 8-page illustrated booklet that offers much detail about the film's enterprising producer, William Mishkin, and behind-the-scenes info about the production itself.

After distributing some mild European softcore films with new, lurid titles such as "$100 a Night" and "Illicit Motherhood", Mishkin entered the nudie-film world himself with 1964's THE ORGY AT LIL'S PLACE. The success of this feature, which promised much more than it delivered, led him to follow it up a year later with THE SEXPERTS.

In THE SEXPERTS, we follow the adventures of two lovely roommates in New York: good girl Connie Mason (Rusty Allen), a swimsuit model who avoids hanky-panky and stays true to her photographer boyfriend Barry (Ken Curtin); and Liz Adams (Lana Lynn), an out-of-towner who plans to make it big in the theater no matter who she has to sleep with to do it.

Liz hits the sheets running as she auditions for a play by bedding the hot-blooded star Baxter Standish (Anthony Ford) and then the director, Douglas Baines (John Lyon), one of those sophisticated Greenwich Village beatnik types. Later she trades up by latching onto wealthy backer Leslie Carter (Lonnie Maggio), an older gent who's shopping for a replacement for his aging and constantly soused mistress Mimi (Dori Davis).

As a contrast to Liz' promiscuous activities, Connie's chaste daily routine involves nothing more titillating than bikini posing, strutting down the sidewalk while guys ogle her, and having a tiff with her boyfriend. The movie ends with a pretty tame orgy sequence with Audrey Mitchell of "Madame Olga" fame stripping down to her undies. As the "trappings of civilization begin to melt away", Connie flees with her virtue intact while Liz casts herself into the pit of debauchery by sidling up to strange guys and kissing them.

This is one odd little sexploitation flick. For one thing, there's very little nudity besides a few glimpses here and there. Mostly the girls are seen in slips, nighties, or bikinis--pretty much the same thing you'd find in the usual "Beach Party" film. And the closest anyone comes to having any real-pretend sex is for the guy to get on top (usually with his clothes on) and kiss the girl real hard. If released today, this would barely rate an "R."

The film's structure is odd as well. This "true story" begins with three aspiring moviemakers sitting around a desk, while the tale of Liz and Connie unfolds as the three men toss story ideas around. There's very little post-dubbed dialogue in the movie--in fact, much of the soundtrack seems to have been lost and replaced by narration a la THE CREEPING TERROR and THE BEAST OF YUCCA FLATS.

To make things even weirder, the narrator sounds just like the guy whose voice is heard in the classic "Mr. Bungle" children's educational film made famous by Pee Wee Herman. With its extended travelogue sequences such as Liz's day on the town with Douglas Baines or with her girlfriends on a weekend vacation at Leslie's beach house--which are packed with continuous voiceover by the cheerful, pleasantly-bland narrator and accompanied by "Leave It to Beaver"-type music--much of THE SEXPERTS actually comes off as a racier version of those creaky old films they used to show kids in school.

The narrator brightly informs us of Connie: "By day she's a sexy figure, modeling bathing suits so that the women of America can attract their future husbands." Of Leslie's first meeting with Liz we're told: "Now that he's tired of Mimi, Leslie, fishing for new trout, has checked his bank balance for a piece of new bait. He hopes that the fish he'll catch will prove tasty indeed." No, I didn't just make that up--THE SEXPERTS is full of this stuff.

Visually, it's surprisingly good. The print, taken from a 35mm source, is near-flawless, with crisp black-and-white photography, and the direction is competent. The actors aren't all that great but they give confident performances. Rusty Allen, who plays Connie, is probably the cutest of the female leads, but Lana Lynn as Liz isn't bad-looking either. Most of the other ladies in the cast are fairly attractive.

For added spice, clips from color nudie loops are inserted throughout the film. The original clips have been lost, so segments from similar existing loops have been substituted as indicated by the original screenplay. These short films are available in their entirety as bonus features on disc one, as are three vintage local TV commercials (for waterproofing, floor wax, and upholstery) featuring cast member Audrey Campbell.

Rounding out the DVD presentation are several trailers for other Retro-Seduction Cinema releases and some vintage theater bumpers heralding "Prevues of Coming Attractions" and "Our Feature Presentation", which add nicely to the grindhouse ambience. The second disc, "Naughty Nudes '65", offers eleven more scratchy old nudie shorts which, while incredibly tame by today's standards, are still a bunch of fun to watch. Some, like "The Jugs of Jenny" are backed by slow, sultry jazz or techno music, giving them an almost ethereal quality. And to make the experience more realistic, you can hear the constant drone of an old 8mm movie projector in the background. Now that brings back memories.

This DVD set has been put together with loving care and it shows. As face-value entertainment the material is sadly lacking, but as a nostalgic stroll down mammary lane it's priceless. I'd recommend THE SEXPERTS to anyone who ever ordered an 8mm nudie film from the back pages of a girlie magazine or sat in a dank theater or drive-in waiting expectantly for that elusive glimpse of black-and-white boobage.


No comments: