It’s a strange month for releases. Too close to the big shopping and gift giving holiday of the year for any real blockbuster revelations, most companies (in whatever realm or field of media) tend to hold back releases to a trickle, perhaps slipping out a delayed product planned for an earlier cycle, perhaps just going on hiatus for a month or two.
And so we come to a fairly minor release from the mighty film restoration/archivist label Vinegar Syndrome, which at any other point in the year would have been the bottom end of a larger batch of simultaneous releases, but given the time of year, comes as half of the December slate: Wakefield Poole’s Bible!
The film kicks off with a video opener from the director himself, who introduces the film as being an homage to both silent film and Disney’s Fantasia (!), not to mention Orson Welles and Alfred Hitchcock (!?!). Boy, is this guy deluded…
Wow, who knew the universe started with the atomic bomb tests? Apparently Wakefield Poole knows more than the rest of us, so listen up, while he tells a little story ’bout a man named Jehosaphat…or is that Jedediah? No, wait, we’re not going in quite that deep, let’s tackle similar but lesser territory to John Huston’s 1966 The Bible, by going after the children’s storybook version…done adult sexploitation style, of course!
First and most logically, we get Adam (Bo White) and Eve (Caprice Couselle). Adam is some doofy sub-Joe Dallesandro type who can’t crawl his way out of a small crevasse. We get an easy 10 minutes of this dope crawling around caves, bathing and finally falling asleep at the shore to the tune of Vivaldi’s four seasons. Did I mention there’s nary a lick of dialogue in this film?
Well, at least Eve is a smoking hot, pale complexioned redhead, who proves a hell of a lot easier to watch doing nothing for the next 10 minutes or so, as she similarly wanders around the shoreline and shares a passionless softcore romp with our pal Adam. It would be Rollinesque if the French auteur were a deluded semitalent of an American, suffused with a far more crass, non-oneiric or pulp-inflected sensibility…
“I’m so hungry,” she exclaims in the sole dialogue of the entire film, which provides a transition to a “comic” Tom Jones-inspired dinner sequence between Bathsheba (Georgina Spelvin) and her hubby (Robert Benes). She’s bored and trying to get his attention while he gorges himself and reads the paper. Ah, married life…
Eventually she decides to try to sex up her act, only to be peeped on by David (Nick Flamel). She catches him in the act in her hand mirror, and decides to go the whole hog for her secret admirer until he literally jumps on top of her and starts humping away in undercranked film, Benny Hill style.
Next sequence. Samson (Brahm van Zetten), essentially Tom Savini with muscles, is fighting some fat midget in blue chalk bodypaint and an anime fright wig. Seriously.
Anyway, after his “great victory” over this daunting challenger, its “people” show up to bury the body, among whom is Delilah (Gloria Grant, a Cicely Tyson type who was presumably the inspiration for Gerry Conway and Ross Andru’s Glory Grant, from the Amazing Spiderman comics of the same time period).
To get revenge, she pretty much just shows herself to Savini the bodybuilder, which sends him into hot pursuit. After another 10 long minutes, she finally gets naked, showing off a really nice figure in rearview.
Good Lord, the film’s nearly over with and nothing’s happened!
She bathes him and oils him up, then starts going down on him (it’s softcore, it’s all implied) while another fat midget just like the first gives him a haircut and somebody with a torch comes to do what the Bible says happened.
Finally, we get Mary (Bonnie Mathis) wandering through the desert with a pitcher, only to be chased down by an angel (Dennis Wayne) who throws gossamer veils around her. A cheap neon sign featuring a star shining down on her (which is then shown as part of a larger whole saying “Bethlehem Inn – no vacancy”) presumably implies the divine pregnancy or whatever the hell all those Catholic types are calling it this week. Credits roll to foley of bird noises.
Seriously? That was it?
In case anyone was wondering, the credits tell us that the entire film soundtrack (minus those three words from Eve) came courtesy of some guys named Vivaldi, Albinoni, Guonot, Massenet, Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev – or in other words, the time honored cartoon and/or sexploitation trick of utilizing whatever was safely in the public domain at the time of filming.
There’s two extras, one from a gay-oriented public access show called Emerald City where the director is interviewed about the film (wherein the host amusingly claims parts of the film “reminded (him) of Fellini”(!), and another featuring interviews with both Spelvin and Grant, each of which is more engaging than the film itself proved to be.
Spelvin, an energetic silver haired grand dame, pretty much runs down her entire entree into the adult film industry and holds both Poole and the film in high regard. Her enthusiasm and positivity is positively infectious.
Grant, who comes from a family of ministers (!), comes off as extremely friendly (if perhaps a bit surprised anyone’s actually talking to her about this particular film) and once again offers positive recollections of the production and accurately admits to having had a “great body” at the time of filming (and she sure did, folks, as the screen test and aforementioned strip scene underline pointedly). She apparently had been doing modeling at the time and later wound up as a cosmetologist for the soaps, so this may be her only onscreen appearance – if so, more’s the pity.
There’s seriously nothing further to say about this one – outside of the novelty of a nudie take on the Cecil B. DeMille style Biblical “epic” and the presence of a noted porn queen in the cast, it’s a really minor footnote in the Vinegar Syndrome filmography – the paucity of screenshots provided should attest to this in and of itself.
If you dig it, you dig it.