Carlos Tobalina, of the rather of its era pseudo-mondo Refinements in Love fame, returns to us a few years down the road in more of an adult film-based comedy milieu with the silly if inoffensive Marilyn and the Senator (aka “Swinging Senators”).
“Prudism was born in the minds of illiterate monks during the dark years of our civilization, not in any act or word of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Opening on supposed quotes from J.F.K. about censorship and (of all people) Pope Pius XII on prudishness (which if true, shows a far more forward thinking Catholic Church than we’ve seen since), we’re informed of the film’s apparently permit-free guerilla exterior filming, as:
“This film was produced in Washington DC right under the noses of the F.B.T. and the C.T.A.”
Wait…you mean the First Trust Amex Biotech and Chicago Transit Authority held sway in Washington even then? No, wait, it must be a typo or a really poor choice in font…Tobalina likely meant to say “FBI and CIA”. That one letter swap makes a huge difference, guys…
“Mr. Richard M. Nixon rejected the recommendations of the Presidential Commission on Pornography…the whole nation rejected Mr. Nixon.”
In a rather sparsely decorated “office” adorned with rather tacky unframed stick-on portraits of Lincoln and Washington, actor/director William Margold (of Fantasm Comes Again and Dracula Sucks fame, here billed rather generically as “The Senator”) is shown taking an open door dump in long and loving detail while reading underground comix as a fellow who looks a whole hell of a lot like exploitation maven Dick Randall (“Queep”, William Kirschner, here under the pseudonym “Bill Kay”) and “Marilyn Susan Wright” (“Miss Nina Fause”, as the credits would have it) suffer from the stench. This rather silly bit of business takes up several minutes of screentime at the very start of the film, so there’s no doubt exploitation filmgoers knew exactly what sort of ride they were in for. Thanks, Carlos.
Fause can barely speak, much less act. Reading her lines slowly and deliberately, she bears the tonality of Edith Massey (“the Egg Lady” of John Waters fame) contrasted with a vague physical similarity to a major celebrity of the era, coming off as a particularly shopworn take on Abba sex symbol Agnetha Faltskog.
The entire plot of the film is that she’s a single “career girl” who’s “verrry lonely” and therefore wants to get pregnant. uh…yeah, great plan.
But since child rearing is “serious business…please forgive me if I’m not precisely in the mood for pleasure”, she’s looking for “the best man for the job” to get herself knocked up by – and she’s decided the titular Senator, despite his marital status, is the man.
“Weeell, I know that you are emotionally…(searching desperately for her line) and psy-chologically sane…”
Apparently she’s “old friends” with “Nancy the call girl”, who recommended the Senator as he’s “the only trick who could make her cum”. Fause is willing to pay our hero 10 grand to screw her “on the…important days of the month, so I can get pregnant…you see, Senator…this is veerrrry important to me.”
With this ridiculous setup, Fause and AVN hall of famer Margold break for a long unrelated dialogue sequence that both gives a knowing tip of the hat to the post-Watergate audience and allows Tobalina to rant a bit about the prevalent porn busts of the era:
“I respect the regular branch of law enforcement, but I despise those vice cops.”
“…We’re also attempting to legalize prostitution…but there are some problems.”
“What kind of problems?”
After getting this out of his system, Tobalina brings things back to the matter at hand:
“Now, getting back to my future baby…will you be the one to perform this afternoon?”
(shrugging casually) “Sure!”
Our two leads meet up for their contractual afternoon rendezvous at a nice if rather small apartment. We’re expected to believe this is a hotel where the Senator trysts with his hooker friend Nancy, but it’s rather clearly decorated to personal tastes and festooned with the sort of furnishings and accoutrements that wouldn’t last two nights in a no tell motel. The place is a bit spare, but still manages to be somewhat aesthetic, prominently featuring a low hanging ornate orb lamp and red crushed velvet sheets. Oh, and we’re also expected to believe this is the Watergate hotel, as several later outdoor shots inform us…
The two rather slowly get around to undressing (seriously, the guy must take a good 5 minutes just to get out of his work clothes) and finally get to it while Queep listens in and beats off (sadly, we actually get to see a bit of this for real…) But it seems our erstwhile representative can’t actually get it up, possibly because our biological clock watching ‘heroine’ only teases at giving oral.
“Well, perhaps I’m not your type.”
Finally we meet up with “Nancy the Call Girl” (Sharon Thorpe), and while she’s not exactly a stunner, she doesn’t have too bad of a body and I found something about her kinda cute. Hey, is that that the same damn room as before, just filmed from a different angle? It’s certainly the same red crushed velvet bedspread…
Heather Leight (“Mildred, the Senator’s Wife” whose main claim to fame appears to be a bit part in Greydon Clark’s Black Shampoo) walks in on Queep spying on Nancy and the Senator in some illogically closeup, two camera setup “security camera” footage, and gets pretty upset at the guy working his willie.
Oh, wait, she’s supposed to be upset at her husband getting a piece on the side. Sorry, having to watch Kay play with himself twice already has traumatized me…give me a minute here…
Anyway, Margold gets off for Thorpe where he couldn’t even get it up for Fause, which is really no surprise when you think about it. Fause goes to a rather funny looking Joe Dallessandro type named “Gino” (whom Tobalina didn’t even bother to credit, he may be any of three men associated with the film outside Margold and Kirschner) to secure his services as a male Mata Hari for government officials who, shall we say, play on the other side of the fence (if you get the drift). This plot detour, whatever it’s merits or lack thereof, is subsequently dropped and never followed up on. Leight practices oral on a banana, then “seduces” her cheatin’ hubby into a lengthy multi position session.
Fause, who drops the original “Marilyn” designation and starts getting referred to as “Susan” by everyone (thus the dual name in the credits – likely Tobalina filmed half the dialogue before changing his mind on the character’s name!) tries to get another round in with Margold, but unsurprisingly, he still can’t get it up. So she calls up Nancy for a three way of sorts – Thorpe gets to turn the guy on, and Fause reaps the benefits. Nice plan, but he really likes Thorpe and gets off with the fluffer before Fause can get her way. Aww.
Meanwhile, trying to win back her husband, Leight amps things up considerably, visiting a sex shop, buying some sexy lingerie and going all domme on hubby. “You’ll play and you’ll like it!” Indeed.
Things sort of peter off after this, beyond a “swinging party” attended by a rather pretty Lynda Carter lookalike and (of all people) an uncredited Serena. The two (along with a scary dead ringer for 80’s VJ Nina Blackwood) have a quick scene with Margold, though sadly it’s Serena, and not the Carter clone, who gets the bulk of what little ‘action’ there is. The whole thing wraps up with a bizarre twist ending.
Fause was at the tail end of a brief run in adult film and Margold would go on to a long career in the field, but the most interesting character here (outside of a cameo by Liz Renay, who we covered in the earlier Deep Roots) is Kirschner, who’d done bit parts in experimental blaxploiter Sweet Sweetback’s Baadassss Song and Ted V. Mikels’ Corpse Grinders before going on to a career in nominally more adult fare such as the ridiculous Gosh! Alice Goodbody and perhaps most apropos to the current discussion, The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington (where he starred alongside such cinematic luminaries as Rip Taylor, Billy Barty and Larry Storch!).
It definitely says something that the best scenes in the movie involve Thorpe (who as noted earlier, is undefinably attractive in her own way) and Leight (who’s something of a MILF type, but gets the best sex scenes), while the ostensible “lead” is left with a limp joystick (both from her onscreen partner and the prospective viewer). While not entirely unattractive with her mouth shut, it’s easy to see why her short career ended soon after filming.
As always with a Vinegar Syndrome release, the print looks stellar – it’s highly unlikely these films looked this good when the first prints were struck from the negatives. At this point in our ongoing coverage of Vinegar Syndrome releases, if I don’t specifically address the condition of the print or its visual aspect, be assured this is the case – Process Blue is quite meticulous about their hi-def transfers and upgrades, so to bring this up time and time again becomes somewhat redundant. As a veteran collector of cult cinema and literally dozens of “boutique” labels that have come and gone over the past two decades or thereabouts, I can say with some assurance that their restoration efforts stand head and shoulders above any of the competition…particularly when it comes to the area of scum theater and drive in fare the company specializes in.
More of a curio of its time and a light comedic dig at then-current politicosocial events than a proper thoughtful or raunchy adult film, Marilyn and the Senator falls somewhere between likeably innocuous and wholly inessential. To put a finer point on it, those who enjoy this film will likely be of a certain age and nostalgic for the time and place the film was originally released, perhaps catching it on its premiere run back in the days of porno chic.
While there is a commentary track present, with a film this inconsequential, there’s little call to explore such apart from perhaps a desire to glean some minor tidbits about the guerilla location filming around Washington at the dawn of the Ford Presidency. Political satire, perhaps – but Bananas this ain’t.
You may very well enjoy this one – it’s far from the worst of its ilk to cross my desk. But viewer, and more to the point buyer discretion is advised.