Thursday, January 19, 2023

Sexual Kung Fu in Hong Kong (1974)

Sexual Kung Fu in Hong Kong
Premiere: April 5, 1974

For the first time...ancient sexual practices revealed.

A pair of tough guys hole up in an inn in the slums of Hong Kong. One of them is murdered and the other narrowly avoids several attempts on his life. He goes into hiding in the room of the working girl Yen. Yen uses her secret lovemaking technique on the assassin Wang.

Cast: Maria Pia, Nina Fause, Roxanne Brewer, Carlos Tobalina, Ron Darby, James Glenn, Ted Ward.

Staff: Producer - Carlos Tobalina; Original Story - J. Larcher, Carlos Tobalina: Director of Photography - Carlos Tobalina; Music - David Moore; Director - Carlos Tobalina.

(The preceding information is based on a synopsis printed in a French magazine in the 1970s.  This entry is intended to preserve it for the record.  Sexual Kung Fu in Hong Kong is currently considered to be lost.) 

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Rene Bond Clipping - March 1969


"Evening Fashions for milady's coiffure drew plaudits as did this winning hairstyle by Raquel Adame, who holds her first place trophy won for this hairstyle on model Rene Bond, seated. Raquel, who has Raquel's Hairstyling salon in Oxnard, also took second in the Ventura County Hairdresser of the Year contest." -- Oxnard Press Courier, Oxnard, California, Sunday, March 9, 1969

I have no idea whatever happened to Raquel Adame, but Rene Bond went on to more illustrous things than just a hairstyle model.  This may, however, be the very first instance of Rene working as a model.  So that's pretty cool.  This is one and a half to two years prior to Rene's more familiar modeling and film career.  She is all of 18 years old in this photo.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Starr Wood


(Starr Wood in Sweet Dreams Suzan)

Starr's her name, and starring is her dream. This raven-haired beauty has been a show-business professional for nearly five years, and when this lady works, she really cooks. She's hot now, and she knows it. As a singer, dancer, stripper and an actress in ten feature films, Starr's achieved a reputation of throwing her whole being into every assignment.


-- from the pictorial "Starr Material" in Hustler (September 1979)

Starr Wood is one of those adult film performers who fascinate me.  She was never a big star, and was never promoted as a big star as far as I'm aware beyond the copy reproduced above from the pages of Hustler.  However, she was active as a supporting player for at least 6 years under a variety of names.  Given the fact that she wasn't incredibly prolific during that period, we can safely assume she was doing other things and the movies just supplemented her income. 

Starr Wood is more the norm in the adult business than the "porn stars" that everyone recognizes by name and/or face.  Most of the regulars and semi-regulars are not famous, and they're just trying to make a living.  Those unsung heroes of every stripe help make the films unique and special.  While I would love to know more about Starr Wood than the scraps an anonymous writer offered about her, I appreciate her for her contributions to the Golden Age of Adult Cinema.


Starr Wood Links:
IMDb
IAFD
TMDB
VEF
Letterboxd
Hotmovies
Adult Empire

Monday, October 24, 2022

Rene Bond Interview - San Francisco Ball #156


(The following feature appeared in the underground newspaper San Francisco Ball #156.  A date stamp on our copy indicates it went on sale November 22, 1974.)

RENE BOND: SWINGING INTO PORN

How an information operator for Ma Bell became the star of over 200 porno movies and still remains a nice girl.

BY BOB EARLITON

Probably every person who has ever gone to a porno movie has wondered what it would be like to be in one.  Pursuing that thought a little further, the next obvious question is, how does one get started in the business?  Rene Bond, who has now appeared as a star or featured player in over 200 movies, got her start at the telephone company as a directory assistance operator.  She was nineteen at the time, the product of a middle-class home, sexually inhibited and in her own words, “not a very good lay.”

During the course of her working day, she would come across many unusual listings, and being a curious girl, she would sometimes call these numbers on her breaks.  One of the numbers she called was the College Dating Service, which by then had been transformed into the 101 Club, probably the biggest and nicest swing club in Los Angeles at the time.  Tommy, the operator of the club, and Rene, the information operator, struck up a friendship over the phone that resulted many months later in her becoming an employee of 101.
 

By then Rene was married to her first husband, and it was he who finally accepted an invitation for them both to attend a swing party at the club.  “Now, by this time I was just curious enough, but petrified of going.  But I told my husband, ‘Okay, but if I don’t like it, we’re splitting quick.’  He said, ‘Right, right, right,’ because he hadn’t done anything like it before either.  But he had the male chauvinist dream of naked women running around, each of them available.  He was like a kid in a candy store.  Well, we went and had a great time.  The people were nice and relaxed, nobody forced you to do anything.  It was a nice club.”

Following that first experience, Rene and Michael returned a few times and were soon into the scene.  Rene was fed up with all the rules at the phone company and already had ambitions to become a model.  So when she was offered a job managing the club, she quit her job with Ma Bell and moved into the club with her husband and two other resident managers.  Now they were in a position where their room and board was provided, but neither of them had an outside job (husband Michael had dropped out to enjoy the swinging scene and was determined to do nothing else) and no spending money.
 

Enter the porn business.  The two other managers of the club were already heavily involved in the business as models and actors.  “This sounds terribly stupid, but I didn’t realize that there were simulated movies!  I knew that there were stag films, that people made actual love for the camera, but that was all I knew about the business.  So Bud and Marcie would come home all excited.  They’d say, ‘Oh wow, Bud got the lead in this feature.’  It sounds good, important, right?  He was getting $100 for the day.  That sounds like a lot of money when the most you’ve ever made was $2.25 an hour for the phone company.

“But I was still very hung up about sex.  Sex was something men did to you.  I was scared of men.  I wasn’t satisfied.  I felt I was being used.  If a man I didn’t know came up and talked to me I didn’t know what to say.  And this was after I had begun working at the club.  I did an awful lot of running away, answering the door, doing this, doing that, and not swinging very much at all, unless it was with someone I already knew.  I had a lot of men tell me I wasn’t very good in bed, which doesn’t do much for anybody’s ego.  But I knew they were right.  I was afraid to make any noise, afraid to reach out, to be any kind of aggressor.  I had been taught and convinced that if you were uninhibited, that you were in some way bad.  A hussy.  My grandfather called me a harlot when we moved into the club.  It took me a month to go in the pool at night with no clothes on.

“Finally, we got so broke that we couldn’t afford to buy Kotex - the club didn’t supply that.  I had to do something.  Well, Bud and Marcie had been trying to get me to work with them and I finally agreed.  Bud got me booked to do a cheesecake layout and a simulated shooting with another girl and a guy.  The photographers and the couple I worked with were really nice.  They told me everything I had to do and really helped me a lot.  The day after I did those two jobs I was booked for a hard-core film with Bud and Marcie that was to be shot at the club.  I was petrified.  If I wasn’t any good, it was right there on film.  So I got stoned, the cameraman was understanding and just told us to do it and he’d move around us, which doesn’t happen very often.

“Well, it went pretty well.  I thought to myself, ‘Gee, that’s not so bad.  If I’m at the club doing it for free and it doesn’t feel good, then gee, I might as well get paid for it.’  So I started doing work and going around to the agencies.

Why has Rene Bond been such a success in her field?  Why does she work constantly in a business where faces come and go, usually overnight?  “There’s something about the way I work, I guess.  I’ve studied myself on the screen, watched what I do.  I don’t think my body is exquisite and I don’t think that I’m beautiful.  I think that I’m very attractive.  I think that I’m appreciated, but I don’t think I’m exquisite.”

“People like me.  I work very hard and do the best I can.  My first lead was in a one day quickie called Lollypop.  Even though it was a hard-core film, I thought I was a star.  I mean I learned my lines by heart and I really tried to give it everything I had.”

The road to sex stardom still wasn’t an easy one.  It was a long time after that first flick that she got her first legitimate acting job in a regular, feature length film.  Before that were scores of hard-core films and even breaking into the simulated sex picture field wasn’t easy or cheap.  “Simulated people wouldn’t hire me because they have this big idea that you won’t sell a picture if you don’t have big boobs.  The North American breast fetish is just unbelievable.  They have gotten away from it a little now.  Penthouse and other magazines have shown that there is more to a woman than just having big mammary glands.  So I finally saved some money and had silicone implants put in my breasts.  I really did it because all the people who work with get you convinced that you’ve got small boobs so therefore you’re not all you could be.  ‘If you had big boobs, boy, you would be terrific!’  Well, I didn’t want to do hard-core forever because I really liked the acting part of films and you don’t get much of an opportunity to act in hard-core.  It’s all hurry up, hurry up and say your lines and do this and do this.  It’s just dialogue to get into the sex scenes.

“I really wanted to do the acting, but I tried to do the sex scenes well, too, because I knew what the people wanted.  Even if in my private life I wasn’t terrific in bed, I knew what the audience wanted to see.  So I worked very hard.  During a scene, you’ll have a director saying ‘Okay honey, we’re on your face, you’re coming, you’re coming!’  And you’re supposed to go into these wild, ecstatic emotions, big and loud.  And I’d never cussed before I went into films.  So it was really acting even then, because hard-core filmmakers think yelling ‘Fuck me, fuck me’ is erotic.  I know it isn’t, and so do the people who go to the films.  I get letters from fans, even though I’m not a household word like Linda Lovelace, and they’ve told me the same thing.  But you do what you’re told to do.  And I’ve worked steadily for the past four years although I haven’t done any hard-core for a long time now.”

Rene still works in simulated sex films; her latest release was Panorama Blue but today she appears in more and more legitimate films and television shows.  Although with some producers she can’t live down her past work and it is difficult to get jobs, she perseveres.  She is not ashamed of what she has done.  She feels it is honest, hard work and that she has learned a lot from it.  “I told you how I was when I started.  I went through a lot of shit because I was so timid.  But it taught me so much.  It made me very sure.  I know exactly who I am. I know who I want to be.  I know what kind of man I can live with.  I don’t need to date a lot of people because I can meet someone and know if they have what I need and if I can give them something.  And sexually, I’m about 5 million percent better in bed than I was.  I’ve learned to communicate with my lover.  If you want something done to you, you have to let the other person know.  You have to be able to communicate with anybody whether you’re talking about politics or sex or love or anything.  And I’m going to go on communicating until I achieve everything I want.  And that’s a lot.” 

 

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Exploring Disreputable Films

 Hello.

This has been a long time coming - since at least July, at any rate.  I've been quietly working on turning this blog into what I wanted it to be all along.  Trouble is, all of that may turn out to be moot.

As some of you may know, I have been trying to launch adult-themed blogs for years with little success.  This particular blog was part of that effort.  It was created in 2017, launched in 2018, and closed in 2020.  It was followed by a blog called Your Online Secret, which may have been the most effective of these projects at least in the short term.  That blog was closed in late 2021, and it has since been deleted to avoid too much confusion as far as branding.  Many of the reviews are still available though (I'll get there), and a lot of the other content was recycled from the best posts here.  So you're not missing much that generated interest in the first place.

I've been pretty active on Letterboxd and The Movie Database during the last 12 months.  It's been particularly rewarding as far as my movie-watching goes.  However, I felt a yearning to cover the occasional esoteric topic that didn't necessarily fit a proper review.  So the urge to do a blog now and then returned.  This one seemed to be the perfect candidate because I've been using some of its trappings since I closed it and it's not necessarily married to the concept of covering adult content.  After all, the tag line has always been "Exploring Disreputable Films" without specifying what those were.

So here we are.  I've wiped most of the old material with the intent to start anew, preserving only the very best entries from the past.  If you're interested in reading my adult reviews, they can be found here and occasionally here.  I do have some ideas for new entries here, too.  Some of it is all-new, and some of it is stuff which has been online elsewhere.  There might even be coverage of films not associated with the adults-only label.

There's only one problem.  My personal life is kind of complicated all of a sudden in ways I hadn't really anticipated at the beginning of the year.  As a result, I'm not making any promises of when future updates will happen, or if they even will happen.  I can be pretty mercurial at times, after all.  I have the best of intentions, but things happen.  At the very least, I can at least point to this place now as a source for some of my coverage of these films.

Welcome, or at least welcome back.  I hope I will indeed have more to say here in the long run.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Shake It Up, Shake It Down: Rene Bond in DISCO LADY


If you have more than a passing familiarity with the Beatles, you probably know that "Abbey Road" is their real final album. While "Let It Be" came out later, "Abbey Road" was recorded after those sessions and is the Beatles' proper farewell as a band. What does this have to do with Rene Bond and DISCO LADY? Well, as it turns out, a lot actually.

I have been writing about Rene Bond for quite some time in various places, and I always wondered how I should handle DISCO LADY. I had never seen it, but I was aware Rene had a small, unbilled cameo. I chose to consider it a "Rene Bond movie" in the same way INVASION OF THE BEE GIRLS or FLESH GORDON are Rene Bond movies. Namely, she was in it, but it was not really essential to her filmography. Well, after I did see it via the awesome restoration done by Vinegar Syndrome, I officially revised my earlier position on its importance.

Rene Bond is not the star of DISCO LADY. She isn't even listed in the credits and has no dialogue. But DISCO LADY is absolutely crucial in Rene's filmography. Why? Because I believe it is her "proper farewell" to adult films, and her acting career in general.

To explain, Rene's actual last film is TEENAGE FANTASIES II which was released in 1980. However, it appears Rene's scenes were filmed in 1977. TEENAGE FANTASIES II is hosted by Rene, but not narrated by her. At least one sequence is lifted from another movie (ORIENTAL TREATMENT) entirely. Whatever TEENAGE FANTASIES II was originally intended to be, the final product is somewhat different.

This brings us back to DISCO LADY. It was most likely filmed in early 1978, and released that same year. It was almost certainly shot after the Rene scenes for TEENAGE FANTASIES II. In fact, my guess has long been that Rene dropped out of TEENAGE FANTASIES II before it was completed, necessitating the patchwork which finally came out a couple of years later.

THEORY: Rene Bond was no longer appearing in adult films, or indeed any movies, when she shot her scenes for DISCO LADY. Considering Bob Chinn doesn't mention working with her during the production, and makes a point that the female talent in the movie was not high profile so as not to attract undue attention from the LAPD, I further speculate he didn't even shoot her scenes and that they were done by AD Jeffrey Fairbanks. Even though she doesn't take her clothes off, much less have a sex scene, Rene Bond was reasonably well-known from adult films and stripping in the Los Angeles area.

So if Rene was out of films at this time, how did she wind up in DISCO LADY in the first place? There are two likely candidates, and they are equally plausible. One is Alan Colberg, who directed Rene in FRANKIE AND JOHNNIE...WERE LOVERS and plays the pimp in DISCO LADY. The other is Ric Lutze, who was of course Rene's one-time boyfriend and frequent co-star. Either one of them could have gotten on the phone and invited her to dance as an extra. It probably sounded like a fun night. She even wore her own dress (this is confirmed, by the way)! It's notable that in the two scenes where Rene is visible, she is dancing with Colberg in one and Lutze in the other. Those were her friends, and those were the people with whom she felt comfortable enough to cut loose.

This is why I consider this film absolutely crucial to Rene's filmography. Whether she knew it or not, this was goodbye. Well, until her run on the BREAK THE BANK game show, but she was a "civilian" in that context. This would be her swan song as far as acting goes.

As much as I love TEENAGE FANTASIES II, it was and is a wildly imperfect finale to Rene Bond's career. She doesn't look her best, her voice is only in a few scenes, and it just doesn't tie together the way the original TEENAGE FANTASIES does. I wonder if she was even aware it came out?

I'd prefer to remember Rene Bond the way we last see her in DISCO LADY. She's dancing and having a good time. She's laughing at Ric Lutze's antics, and for a moment, maybe it felt like it was still the early 70s and they were both comparatively innocent. That infectious smile is on her face, and I can't help but smile too when I see it even after all these years. It's the proper farewell that TEENAGE FANTASIES II is not.

In summary, TEENAGE FANTASIES II is Rene Bond's "Let It Be" and DISCO LADY is her "Abbey Road." I realize how utterly incongruous that comparison sounds to an outsider. However, I firmly stand by it.

Thanks to Lee Jones, Charles Devlin, Shawn Langrick, Michael Elliott, and Mike Bishop for their help on this post, whether they knew it or not. Special thanks to Jimmy Simard of Golden Sin Palace for the swell new images on this version of this piece. Rene Bond fans, one and all!

For reference:

IMDB Page

IAFD Page

Buy this release (with HARD SOAP, HARD SOAP) directly from Vinegar Syndrome!


Friday, October 11, 2019

Rene Bond at 69


Rene Bond was born October 11th, 1950. Today would have been her 69th birthday. Of course, Rene didn't actually make it to 69. She died entirely too young at the age of 45. I'm certain she had no idea when she passed away that she was on the verge of a renaissance as a cult figure. I suspect Rene Bond is even more popular now than she was at her height as a model and performer.

Hey, can you guys do me a favor? Rene's cause of death was for years listed as "liver problems" and this has gradually evolved into "cirrhosis due to alcoholism" without a shred of new evidence to support the claim. It appears to be based solely on conjecture. It also appears to be wrong.

One day on the Rene Bond - Tribute Facebook page, an old friend of Rene named Joan showed up and provided the following information:

Rene was one of the first women to get silicone implants when they first started the breast enhancements. It was later discovered that hers had been leaking for years, destroyed her immune system.

Rene was lucky in the sense she did not fall on hard times financially. She met and married a fairly well-to-do younger man (Hubby #3). They had two sons via surrogacy, they traveled extensively, lived in a beautiful home in a nicer area of the SFV.


When Robin Bougie of Cinema Sewer inquired as to whether Joan believed the implants were the direct cause of Rene's death (and we have since learned Rene had the procedure done twice), Joan was unequivocal:

Yes, I do. She was ona camping trip with her family, came down with a sore throat on a Thursday and died the following Sunday. She had been constantly ill for several years, had to miss my daughter's wedding (her goddaughter) which broke her heart.

I agree, she never needed the implants, she had a terrific body.


If you have any doubts about Joan's authenticity, she had shared personal photos with Rene (including one of Rene at age 15!) prior to posting on the page. The fact that she and Rene were classmates can be verified by a vintage high school yearbook which can be found online. I have no doubt in my mind that her comments are sincere.

I don't know if Rene suffered from alcoholism, but neither do any of the people who list it as her cause of death. It sure sounds like that part of the equation is wrong. At worst, it might have been a contributing factor. But I have also been told Rene may have had a preexisting condition dating back to at least the mid-1970s which required medication. So it's entirely possible it was a combination of causes, with silicone leakage being the primary culprit.

The favor I'm asking is for us to finally set the record straight on how and why Rene died. Your author had a sister who died from alcoholism, so I take this matter seriously. However, I think we do a great disservice to Rene Bond if we paint a picture of her final years as sad when it seems that the exact opposite is true. It doesn't diminish the tragedy of her untimely death to acknowledge she had a reasonably good life until it was abruptly over. And if you need proof, I think this post and the links I've supplied are at least a start.

From a personal standpoint, I never met Rene Bond, but I feel a connection to her that is surprising to me. Her warmth and friendliness transcend time as far as I'm concerned. Everyone who speaks of her loved Rene Bond. I love her, too. Happy birthday, angel.