COLLECTION: EXPECTATIONS / CONFESSIONS
case the sleeve description of these two 1977 films as 'B-pictures'
causes any confusion, let me clear it up right away. What we have
here are a pair of hardcore movies, directed by industry veteran
Anthony Spinelli and produced by Essex pictures. It's amusing
that at no point on the packaging is there any suggestion that
these are XXX movies – I guess that it's assumed (probably
quite rightly) that the market for this sort of classic porn is
more the cult movie audience than the smut movie crowd.
Spinelli had a near-thirty year career shooting hardcore, from
glossy porno chic classics, through to two day wonders. The two
films included here are closer to the latter than the former,
though both stand head and shoulders above the average video quickie
when it comes to filmic style. Your immediate clue that these
are not classic Spinelli comes from the fact that each is directed
under a different pseudonym. So don't expect the quality of Sex
World, Nothing to Hide, Talk
Dirty to Me or Easy here. That said,
both films still have plenty to offer.
Expectations (which has the director credit of Arvid
Beller) is a decent mid-level Seventies production. Short on plot
but with decent production values and style, it's close to what
might be considered 'couples porn', with the emphasis on female
Bored housewife Margo (Delania Ruffino) and swinger Montana (Suzette
Holland) swap identities, hoping to bring a new thrill to their
lives, but while Montana takes to her new identity with relish,
Margo soon realises that she's made a terrible mistake –
especially when Montana embarks on a pseudo-incestuous relationship
with Margo's brother (Jack Wright), who quickly gets into the
fantasy of fucking his 'sister'. Margo tries to switch back, but
it's too late...
that identity-swap stories are usually played for laughs, Spinelli
deserves credit for looking at the darker (and probably more realistic)
side of the story, and he handles the minimal plot well, give
or take some poor lighting choices during a couple of sex scenes
(which unfortunately have the result of making genitalia look
like rotten meat).
Neither star is a top level adult performer – Delania Ruffino
is attractive, if a little limp sexually. She is, notably one
of the hairiest women you'll see in any porn film – even
those people who turn their noses up at the trend for shaven pubes
might think her unkempt growth to be excessive. Suzette Holland
(better known as Chris Cassidy) also sports more hair than you
might expect – notably bushy armpits that at least prove
her to be a natural blonde. She also lactates during a breast-squeezing
scene. The Seventies really were a different time.
Desiree West is probably the sexiest performer here, even though
she's reduced to a strangely passionless and brief lesbian scene
with Ruffino. Joey Silvera (or Civera, as credited here) enjoys
the best sex scene, even if it does come rather close at one point
to being non-consensual, as he pushes himself on the initially
reluctant Margo. Sensitive readers can rest assured that it isn't
a rape scene though, a Margo quickly overcomes her fears and gets
into a decent encounter. The only other male participant (apart
from a brief appearance at the start from Blair Harris) is the
oddly angry Wright, who sports an unexplained eye patch and unforgivable
(aka Confessions of a Woman) is lighter and possibly
more fun, despite having the weaker plot and a truly dreadful,
overly chirpy theme song. Spinelli directs as Leonard Burke (one
of several unfamiliar pseudonyms in the credits of the film).
In this movie, Kristine Heller (credited as Cindy Johnson) is
Beth, another bored housewife, tired of her monotonous sex life
with workaholic John Leslie, who begins to engage in extra-marital
activities. There's Jack Wright again, as a submissive (don't
expect any BDSM action...), Joey Silvera (credited as Eric Marin)
as Leslie's work colleague, biker Peter Johns (as Ron Rogers)
who unconvincingly complains that Beth can't give head properly
(on the basis on what we see, I'd beg to differ) and chubby Sonny
Lustig as a man she whores herself out to for kicks. This final
scene is the hottest, complete with anal action.
Heller is both sexy and cute, in a very Seventies way,
and certainly brings a lot of heat to her scenes. Interestingly,
she's the only woman we see in action (apart from Dory Devon,
who briefly joins her for some lesbian love). Can you imagine
a porn film made now with a single female star?
Spinelli gives the film a slick production sheen, a couple of
unfortunate camera wobbles aside, and goes for a lot of very tight
close-ups during the oral scenes that are mostly effective (though
on occasion the camera goes so close that it takes a
few moments to figure out what exactly we're looking at. Although
the film has a lighter tone than Expectations,
it nevertheless has a certain intensity to the sex scenes that
the previous film lacked. It is, however, definitely the lesser
of the two films, the story ending up going nowhere and lacking
the psychological drama of the earlier film. In the end, Confessions
is better porn, perhaps, while Expectations is
the better film.
Vinegar Syndrome once again deserve credit for digging up these
obscure titles, previously only available on questionable VHS-soured
transfers, and remastering from 35mm prints. Given their age,
they look remarkable, only a few instances of print damage and
missing frames to suggest that they had ever even been screened.
And while not perhaps the best of 1970s adult cinema, these are
important and significant movies, and it's great to see them getting
some love and attention. More to come, I hope...
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