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“I’ve got news for you…it’s the community who comes to see what I do. Nobody forces them. Nobody grabs them, throws them into a car and strongarms them into the theater. The only obscene thing is this proceeding.”

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Another, earlier pairing of Alain Patrick and Bob Chinn than The Love Slaves, Blue Money is more of Patrick’s baby this time around.

Written, directed by and starring in his own feature, Patrick (and producer Chinn, who ironically cameos as a vice cop!) push the envelope of pre-“chic”-era softcore by centering their film around the making of stag films (but without actually crossing the line into full on hardcore).

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Pretty Barbara Mills (The Suckers, Love Garden, Class of ’74, Escape to Passion) is the tickle-prone hippie wife of stag film director Patrick, sporting a blonde Dutch Boy ‘do this time around (as opposed to the dark, short crop he affects as the sleazy baddie in Love Slaves just a few years later).

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His illegal lifestyle allows them to live fairly comfortably, to the point where they actually own a houseboat/yacht (!), and being the ass end of the hippie era, everyone’s pretty laid back and philosophical about working on the skin trade – a far cry from the darker, more calculatingly transactional milieu it would morph into by decade’s end.  If anything, Blue Money comes off as a hippified, more comic take on Shohei Imamura’s The Pornographers.

Well, sure, I’d have much preferred something along the lines of Vice Academy, but hey….

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Things start to go sour when Patrick starts balling suspicious new starlet Inga Maria and the vice cops begin to close their net. But ripoffs abound, with no recourse to redress grievances…evictions and repossessions loom, and there’s always that goal, just a few more films, just one more big haul before you can pack it in and live the high life…and that’s always when they nail ya.

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Extras consist of a 12 minute interview with Chinn on the making of the film and a full length, if quite damaged bonus feature, Loves of Aphrodite. Another Patrick directed film, this one features Luanne Roberts (Trader Hornee, Marsha the Erotic Housewife, Dandy, The Psycho Lover and Herschell Gordon Lewis‘ Miss Nymphets Zap-In) and lovely dancer/servant Monica Williams, who together nearly render this especially talky, ultra low budget costume “epic” watchable despite the omnipresent running lines that practically obscure the frame.

If you can get past the imperfections of print damage and ravages of time, Vinegar Syndrome delivers their usual restoration job, with vibrant color, strong contrast and (inasmuch as possible) distortion-free soundtrack. These sort of neo-Biblicals (and costume affairs in general) aren’t really my thing, but if you dig ’em and don’t mind serious print damage, it ain’t as bad as you might expect.

In terms of our main feature, the cleanup is naturally even more pronounced, and this should go without saying by now – if Vinegar Syndrome put it out, it’s probably as pristine as it’s going to get, and likely serves as an improvement on even the film’s original release.

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It’s an early 70’s grindhouse sexpliotation melodrama, from an era when idealistic youth pushed boundaries in pursuit of freedom and throwing off the shackles of outdated mores and standards of society and community. Were they naive? Sure. Did things perhaps go a bit further than they probably should have? Perhaps, at times, and in certain respects.

But concerns of exploitation aside, the concept is sound. If it ain’t hurting other folks? Ain’t none of your damn business.

And if you think it is, you’re not just an enemy to “certain” people…you’re an enemy to all of us in society, and both a liar and traitor to yourself.

So much for conservatism.

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