Color, 1980, 82 mins. 49 secs.
Directed by John and Lem Amero
Starring Suzy Mandel, Dory Devon, Eric Edwards, Richard Bolla, Wade Nichols, Molly Malone, Kurt Mann, Erica Eaton, David Morris, Pat Finnegan
Mélusine (UHD & Blu-ray) (US R0 4K/HD) / WS (1.85:1) (16:9), Video-X-Pix (DVD) (US R0 NTSC)

One of the crown jewels Blonde Ambitionin the history of crossover adult films Blonde Ambitionduring the porno chic era, the fizzy and funny Blonde Ambition is an indicator of where things might have gone had home video not upended everything a few years later. Drawing inspiration from classic Hollywood (most obviously Gentleman Prefer Blondes and the "dignity, always dignity" segment from Singin' in the Rain), it's a high point for its two directors, John and Lem Amero, real-life brothers (both gay) and associates of Michael and Roberta Findlay, who went from '60s sexploitation to making accomplished hardcore fare like Dynamite, Bacchanale, Every Inch a Lady, Kiss Today Goodbye, and the infamous A Passage Thru Pamela.

At a Broadway dinner theater, showbiz-loving sisters Candy (Odyssey's Devon) and Sugar Kane (The Benny Hill Show favorite Mandel) are opening their big song and dance show that's about to take the theater world by storm. But how did they get there? Let's jump back to the Blonde Ambitionbeginning where they're stuck in the sticks in Coyote Fang, Wyoming, working at the Tumbleweed Saloon where they're spotted by rich Stephen Carlisle III (Edwards) and his chauffeur, Eric (Bolla, Blonde Ambitiona.k.a. Cannibal Holocaust's Robert Kerman). Under false pretenses they get a gig in New York and end up jetting there with Stephen and Eric, leaving behind horse handler Luke (Morris) whom Sugar hooks up with in their stable dressing room. Stephen has just retrieved a valuable heirloom for his uptight Aunt Sybil (Malone), the Buckingham Brooch, which happens to be a dead ringer for a trinket Sugar bought from a gypsy. In the big city, silly shenanigans erupt involving a brooch switcheroo, a dirty version of Gone with the Wind that goes spectacularly haywire, a private eye (Nichols) with a secret, and an incognito finale in drag at a gay bar.

The raincoat crowd never took to this one as much as the more general cult film audience, probably because the Ameros seem a lot more interested in Blonde Ambitiongoofy comedy (including some hilarious wordplay via clever editing) and theater antics than the sex action. There's a lot of the latter anyway, with Mandel, who had appeared in British sex comedies Blonde Ambitionlike Come Play with Me and Confessions of a Driving Instructor, using an obvious body double for unsimulated shots. Amazingly, Mandel also popped up in the Don Knotts/Tim Conway PG-rated comedy The Private Eyes around the same time this came out. She and Devon make for a truly fun pair with great comic timing, and the film's lavish budget (for an adult film, anyway) results in a wide variety of locales and characters.

Available more or less with ready availability throughout the home video era, Blonde Ambition first appeared on DVD from Distribpix's Video-X-Pix line as a bare bones edition and then as a 2010 two-disc "Platinum Elite Collection" release featuring a remastered transfer, the alternate softcore version, separate audio commentaries by John Amero and Jamie Gillis (the latter has a non-sex cameo in the film as director), the trailer, an insert booklet, a photo insert of Mandel, and a clipping from a film print. In 2024, Vinegar Syndrome offshoot Mélusine gave the film the uber-deluxe treatment with a lavish UHD and Blu-ray set featuring the same type of embossed packaging as their earlier The Tale of Tiffany Lust including a custom postcard and a 36-page booklet featuring an extensive essay by Casey Scott appraising what he Blonde Ambitionrightly calls one of the queerest straight adult films ever made. Blonde AmbitionThe transfer of the film itself from the 35mm camera negative is a stunner, not surprisingly, with those sparkling production values really shining through like never before. The UHD in particular looks gorgeous with those reds especially providing some eye-popping visual treats. The DTS-HD MA 2.0 English mono audio sounds faultless and comes with English SDH subtitles. Scott also appears for another marvelous and often hilarious audio commentary with Roberta Findlay, who served as cinematographer on this film and as usual looped in pal Walter Sear to work on music duties. As usual it's a free-flowing conversation rather than a scene-specific track with lots of tales about the locations, actors, and other related films of the era. Also included are a trailer, a teaser, and a 3m10s image gallery.

Reviewed on June 9, 2024