The film itself is nothing to write home about because it looks like shit. This is no piece of art by any stretch of the imagination. Set up the camera, put people in front of it, make them get nekkid, roll around together, then move on. What makes it work is that everything is so care free and not bogged down by some long-winded story. This makes for a fairly brisk pace and it thankfully isn’t a chore to watch. While some side plots, like that of a lone biker that pops in an out to help the boys out of jams they inevitably get themselves into, go completely unresolved, nothing ever confuses you as to its purpose within the film.
Whether or not this is a XXX cut down to an R is debatable, as there are no reliable sources to indicate that this ever was the case. There definitely is enough skin and humping going on that would indicate that at least if it wasn’t, they made a fairly good attempt at making it seem so. Some stuff is just hokey, typical mashing of faces to proximate kissing, but all in all you’re never cheated in getting what you're expecting from it. Most of the people really aren’t anything to look at, but who cares. For what it is, Blue Summer delivers an appropriately sextastic time.
In the most blatantly obvious XXX transplant of the set, Sometime Sweet Susan brings the titular goods right off the bat and gives you the typical hardcore set piece rhythm one would expect given its origin. This “hard R” version still shows a lot more than most softcore fare, and would more than likely receive a NC-17 in our current system, but it suffers from the trims that are made. My problem with cutting a XXX to R is that you take out the reason you made the movie in the first place and force the viewer to focus on the story that is given. It’s always a big mistake because most of these films had little to nothing to offer the viewer in terms of plot. Sometime Sweet Susan aspired to be more than a body slapping session, touting itself as the only film to that date and ever to be registered through SAG. It was part of the golden era of porn that tried to transcend the genre by providing an approximation of a traditional story along side the fluid swapping. In the vein of Devil in Miss Jones, Sometime Sweet Susan tries to mask its sloppy moments with a tale of internal conflict and damaged psyche to varied results.
Haunted by an uncertain past, Susan (played by the very nicely endowed Shawn Harris) is mute in her asylum room until her Doctor (Harry Reems of Deep Throat 2 fame) sparks memories of the better times in her life. The two slowly try to unravel the mystery that has brought her to the hospital, while obviously fucking anything that moves.
The budget constraints of the film, while not completely abysmal, show beyond the very minimal cast. The same 4 locations are shown over and over again, and the film varies from adequately framed and shot to murky and completely unattractive. This could do more with the absolute lack of touchup work Secret Key has given not only this but every film in the set, but it is obvious that this film was tossed together in the matter of days. Regardless of this fact, the two leads are actually charming and engaging, beyond their porn appeal, and help push the viewer to keep following the story. Also, the editing of the piece is fairly interesting as it flashes back, confuses, and fragments the narrative in an attempt to emulate Susan’s state of mind.
While not a complete success, Sometime Sweet Susan is by far the most accomplished film of this set, offering up something that goes far beyond its exploitation underpinnings. While everything else in the set has its tongue firmly in cheek, this explores much darker avenues and is far more interesting than any of other films you have to choose from. Now don’t take this as a firm recommendation of it actually being a good film, as it of course has been compromised and feels disjointed because of it, but if there was one film in this set I would have no qualms pointing out to watch, this would be it.
The third film in this set is a real snoozer. Summer School Teachers would seem like an obvious winner, and a haven for great naughty teacher hanky-panky, but instead it is perhaps the biggest cock-tease of the group of films we are given in this set. In my book a softcore T&A flick without even a hint of breasts until the 40-minute mark is a miserable failure and that is exactly what you get here. With all of 4 girls getting topless (with what I would guess would account for 2 minutes at most of screen time), and only one real sex scene shot horribly in Nekromanik style trail-o-vision, this film doesn’t deliver the goods even in the slightest.
The story is as stale as they come. A group of three small-town Iowa girls go to LA in order to become Summer School Teachers. Each of them goes through various misadventures in love and work, and we try our hardest not to fall asleep. Unlike the little old ladies in one scene who think they’re listening to the neighbors getting it on with drinking glasses pressed up against walls, we know that absolutely nothing exciting is afoot at any point in this iceberg. Minutes tick by and nothing at all happens of any significance. The plot is boring, broken, and predictable. Then the thing just ends. It really is a typical 70’s fluff piece that sold itself more than it delivered.
It is the tease that I guess is supposed to keep you watching, and in that they half succeeded. All the females are very attractive but their money scenes are so short, horribly shot, and tame that the time invested hardly seems worth the wait. Even Dick Miller, drunk, talking to a pair of scantily clad tits, isn’t enough to keep you watching.
As noted in the liner notes of the set, this film was produced and released by Roger Corman’s New World Pictures. Its tone is in touch with some of the films he produced back in that era. While there may be a hint of charm at play in this piece, because it is pretty light-hearted in nature and the girls are so easy on the eyes, it is hard to recommend even watching this one. You are paying for skin flicks, and this barely qualifies as one. If I were you, I would just pass on this.
Where Summer School Teachers at least had a light hearted tone, and attractive chicks to keep you strung along until the inevitable pain of being jipped set in, Teenage Divorcee gives you George “Star Trek” Takei. Yeah, a gay guy in a tit flick. If this doesn’t give you a hint that you’re in for a whole lot of nothing, than you should go jump a cliff. It’s over for you.
With continuity troubles that would make any self-conscious filmmaker slit their wrists, Teenage Divorcee is a jumbled mess of a story that doesn’t really even warrant a detailed synopsis. 3 friends, all with checkered pasts relationship wise, come together to live in a loft. From here footage of the trio engaged in orgies, drug deals gone sour, and annoying gay guys haphazardly juxtapose each other with the skill of a monkey cutting footage together. To its defense, which I shouldn’t even bother with, the film was re-cut using outtakes from a film originally entitled Josie’s Castle. What the intent was completely escapes me because this film is all but an unwatchable bore-fest.
As a tit flick, it fails in the same fashion that Summer School Teachers did, but delivering one sequence of sloppily handled orgy action showing next to nothing the viewer wants to see. They don’t even use George Takei in any fashion whatsoever worth seeing. He is actually upstaged by his flamboyantly gay pal, who swallows every scene he is like a black hole. Want to see people ride tandem bikes for 5 minutes at a crack? Then this film will deliver in spades. Want something you’d actually consider watching past the first 2 minutes then you're barking up the wrong tree.
Teenage Divorcee is a complete and utter waste of time to anyone looking for tits and ass, or anything that resembles entertainment. If you hate someone, give him/her this, and call your war even.
On a whole, disc 1 of this 2 disc set benefits from having movies that are briskly paced, and decently put together. If one were actually to attempt watching the disc in what is called “Grind It!”, Alternative Cinema’s blatant, but awkward, attempt to cash in on a pseudo grind house double feature by adding DVD trailers of other similar releases in front of and in-between the films, this wouldn’t be a bad time. It would have worked better to have actual trailers instead DVD trailers from their smut division, but they work okay enough that it gets that feel. Be cautious though, if you aren’t either one to have the patience, or the humor to sit through some marginally entertaining softcore fluff, than this could be a very long night for you. For a party, of like-minded sickos of course, it wouldn’t be a bad piece of wallpaper to a party.
After the averagely decent time to be had on disc one, disc two is the cornucopia of all that is wrong with skin exploitation. Carelessly tossed together films, which set out only to rob you of money and not deliver anything resembling what you went in seeking. To even consider watching this in the “Grind It!” grind house mode is to set one’s self up for pure torture. Not even a whole bottle of whiskey could help you slug your way through this shitty disc. They would have been better off just leaving it as a 1 disc, 2 film set. Use disc 2 as a coaster or Frisbee for your dog to fetch.
If I were to see this for a couple bucks, then sure why not, pick it up. Really, most of this stuff just isn’t my cup of tea. I like a good tit flick as much as the next guy, but on a whole this set is a poor representation of quality 70’s skin, with only the first disc really being worthwhile in any way shape and form. I always say fuck cutting XXX down to softcore, and the only good film here is exactly that. If you are a softcore fiend, as a few of my friends are, then some of this set may be appealing to you, but there is nothing odd and downright sleazy about anything here. All the films are fairly straight-laced and completely forgettable. Completists only need apply.
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