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The Strange Things Boutique




Blu-ray / DVD. Vivid.

Cathouse 45Set at the end of the Second World War, Cathouse 45 is a simple tale of soldiers, prostitutes and the things people have to do to survive in times of conflict. Most significantly in this case, it’s Italian soldier Tony, who returns home with American friend Pierre(!) only to find that his virginal bride-to-be has been working at the brothel the pair visit. This being porn, such a revelation is dealt handled without much angst from either of them (those the expected reconciliation sex scene oddly doesn’t occur), and everyone lives happily ever after. The build-up to this of course involves plenty of footage of the day-to-day workings of the surprisingly rustic brothel and its assorted employees.

While it won’t win any prizes for storyline, Cathouse 45 is a pretty well-mounted effort – the sets, costumes and hairstyles all suitably authentic (though the odd implant and tattoo tend to shatter the vintage atmosphere) and if you are a fan of nostalgic erotica, this might well appeal. Performances seem fairly solid, though of course the dubbing into English of this Italian production is distracting, and the voice-over is always on the verge of tumbling into bathos.

Cathouse 45The big selling point here is the fact that the film is in 3D. The impressively complete 3 disc package from Vivid includes both 2D and 3D versions on DVD and Blu-ray – the latter format split over two discs and featuring a 3D version that will only work with 3D TVs and players. The DVD 3D version is anaglyph (two pairs of glasses are included) and I have to say that, quality-wise, it’s the best 3D video I’ve seen – though I’ll qualify that by adding that it’s the first 3D video I’ve watched on my current TV. Still, while the inevitable colour washout caused by the glasses remains a distraction, this is very smooth, with no blurring or eye strain at all. This might well be in part because director Marcus Dolby works within the limitations of 3D video, sensibly keeping shots at medium level and avoiding too much camera movement and fast editing.

Ironically, the sex scenes are the least effective in three dimensions – while 3D porn seems a no-brainer, it’s worth considering that sex is generally a close-contact activity, and the only things likely to poke out of the screen are erections and cum-shots – neither of which are likely to appeal to the male, straight audience this is aimed at! That said, the 3D does add something to this film, unlike many others I’ve seen – pity it’s used on such a prosaic story. Spider-Man XXX 3D would be something to behold I imagine!

Still, a solid, if unremarkable movie and a decent package make this well worth checking out, especially if you do have 3D TV and want something more than Disney films and sport to watch.




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