Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Sexual Customs in Scandinavia (1972)

When it comes to white coaters, SEXUAL CUSTOMS IN SCANDINAVIA is definitely one of them. Sorry I can't be more effusive. It's not bad as these things go, but it looks like plans were changed in production of this movie.

We open with the standard travelogue footage and a narrator using a Yumpin' Yiminy fake accent lecturing us on the new direction in sexual freedom with our Scandinavian brothers and sisters. Then we switch to another narrator (uh oh), a very uncomfortable woman chain smoking her way through the proceedings as she pretends to be a therapist. The case studies she presents don't really enlighten us on the so-called "sexual customs in Scandinavia" but rather are your standard variety sex manual "issues" so commonplace in these sex-ed movies.

My skepticism about this film being originally conceived as another installment in the usually faked Danish/Swede/etc. sub-genre is that the bulk of it doesn't match the promise of the title. There is a SECOND (male) doctor seen throughout the segments. Our host therapist never interacts with any of her "patients"; she merely relates their stories and how she referred them to the other doctor. So while the stories of those segments basically play out the same as they would have before, they are usually presented sans dialogue with the principals given surnames like "Stenvig" and "Thorens."

It's too bad these are related almost entirely through narration, because I would have liked to hear what was being said in these vignettes. Jason and Tina Russell are on-hand, in a segment that uses sex puppets (not as much fun as it sounds). Shaun Costello, Jamie Gillis and Dolly Sharp also get in on this early production. Jamie in particular looks impossibly young. And then there's the one-shot(?) girl who plays Uma/Uta/Ulma/whatever her name is. Credited as Angelica Bender in the film, she is worth the price of admission all by herself.

I can't call this boring, but it's not as interesting as some of the better white coaters. It mostly serves as an early glimpse at some legendary performers and as a time capsule of the hardcore film genre as it was enduring its growing pains. For some of us, that's enough.

For reference:

IMDB page

IAFD page

Monday, November 19, 2018

One of a Kind (1976)

I don't know quite how to say this, so I'll just come out and say it - I think ONE OF A KIND is Carlos Tobalina's masterpiece. I'm not saying it's an ACTUAL masterpiece, mind you. But this is a Tobalina film I enjoyed on its own merits rather than my interest in its performers or based on how quirky and weird it was. That's definitely something.

The premise is that the magical accordion turns people on and makes them jump on anyone near them when they hear it. It's a Tobalina concept through and through, but executed with some subtlety for once. The music is good and there's a slow burn in every scene with it. I was stunned that Carlos actually attempted to build some erotic tension. Will wonders never cease?

If you recall the B&W scene with Joey Silvera and Leslie Bovee in FANTASTIC ORGY, I believe that is an outtake from this film. There are three flashback sequences that are seemingly shot in black & white and then tinted sepia (which looks pinkish in the transfer I watched, hence my uncertainty). These are a valid attempt at evoking a period piece, with older clothes and a vintage car. Yes, Carlos actually spent a fair amount of money here!

The cast is strong, with even several of the orgy participants getting a chance to speak and establish characters. A friend of mine opined that this is one of the best Tobalina orgies and I have to agree. It's well-staged and generally well-shot. But everybody in general comes across well. I particularly liked Turk Lyon and Laura Bourbon's chemistry, and it's quite jarring after seeing them together in THE LOVE SLAVES.

There's enough weirdness to ensure you know this is Carlos. Freeze-frames and high speed scenes are in abundance, with the latter finally finding context as silent movie tributes. There's at least one scene (and character) that makes no real narrative sense. It's just not quite as over-the-top as usual. Oh, and for no good reason at all, three different characters (Leslie Bovee, Laura Bourbon, and Annette Haven) are named Donna. They try to walk this back by making Annette's "Belladonna" but too late!

Given the latter-day Carlos Tobalina renaissance thanks to Vinegar Syndrome and other parties, it's kind of ironic that the one adult film which might change the perception of Carlos Tobalina is elusive and missing from his archives. The copy I watched was soft with faded colors and sound sync issues and supposedly taken from a Betamax tape. I'd love to get an upgrade someday, but I accept that this is probably impossible.

For reference:

IMDB page

IAFD page

Saturday, November 17, 2018