Manhattan Baby

Color, 1976, 77 mins. 16 secs.
Directed by Jay Jackson
Starring Roxanne Brewer, Rick Dillon, Uschi Digard, Ludmila, Sue Kaftal, Philip Holiday, Nora Field, Deborah McGuire, Helen O'Connell, Larry Justin, Linda MacLaine, Mary Summers

Color, 1972, 71 mins. 3 secs.
Directed by James Young
Starring Tally Wright, Christopher Geoffries, Margie Lanier, Jay Scott, Lynn Harris, Rene Bond, Tallie Cochrane, Ric Lutze
Something Weird / Pop Cinema (Blu-ray & DVD) (US R0 HD) / WS (1.78:1) (16:9)

Women's Female Chauvinistslib Female Chauvinistsgoes completely haywire in this very '70s double feature of sexploitation offerings, one of which is far more explicit than the other. Up first is the deranged Female Chauvinists, a hard-hitting look at what happens when women decide to team up and fight back against the "hogwash of male propaganda" by recruiting young ladies for the cause. That means public demonstrations in the middle of Hollywood, which catches the attention of a middle-aged photographer Cecil who wants to take them down. After publicly shaming a transvestite in bell bottoms who wants to sign up, they're ripe for a take down -- so he enlists the buxom Boopsie (Brewer) to infiltrate them because "I wanna expose them for the dirty bunch of lesbians they really are!" Needless to say he's proven wrong since they all turn out to be pansexual libertines who lounge around the pool naked trying to be next in line for the buxom Pussy (Digard). When Cecil tries to sneak into their orientation he ends up getting depantsed and nearly castrated, so it's time to call in Vince (Dillon), Boopsie's boyfriend, to straighten them all out by posing as a limping deaf mute looking for help at the entrance. Apparently having never read The Decameron, the militant feminists welcome him as a both a workhorse and a visual aid for their sexology class -- but soon all hell is breaking loose and clothing is flying off.

Highly unlikely to end up on the recommended viewing list for Ms. magazine, this ridiculous sex comedy starts off as a goofier-than-usual softcore outing with almost wall-to-wall nudity. However, around the half-hour mark things start to get more explicit bit by bit until we're in full-on hardcore territory by the final stretch. It's odd to find a film this late in the Female Chauvinistsporno chic era that still operates by the softcore roles for the vast majority of its running time, and stunt performers are used for the most explicit shots -- though Dillon is clearly raring to go in all of his Female Chauvinistsscenes, which go about as far as simulated sex can possibly allow. The dizzy delights are plentiful here including Uschi dreaming about a sperm bank robbery in the middle of the woods, multiple sex scenes with horses bumping into frame and doing double takes, and the spectacle of the top-heavy Brewer (seen in such films as Deep Jaws and The Young Secretaries) making the most of her starring role here. It's also a bit of a Supervixens reunion, too, with Digard teamed up again with the vivacious Deborah "SuperEula" McGuire (and onetime Mrs. Richard Pryor) in her final film role.

If anyone knows about this film it's either via gray market copies duped off of the '80s Australian VHS (which was savagely edited to 70 minutes and missing the bulk of several sex scenes) or a dupey German-language copy tucked away in Alpha Blue Archives' Candy and Uschi Triple Feature DVD. The 2018 Blu-ray / DVD dual-format release, one of the inaugural joint ventures between Pop Cinema and Something Weird, is a real find as it presents the film in its most complete version to date (not counting some jumps due to print damage) in English with all of its more explicit material intact. The source print is in good shape in terms of color and black levels with no fading in evidence, though green lines and debris are present throughout. For some reason a portion of the main titles music is different (around the 4m42s mark), with the rinky-dink piano music suddenly switching to a totally different track until Cecil walks into the room. Given the rarity of this version of the film, it's a pretty miraculous salvage job all things considered. The Dolby Digital track is okay for what it is.

Hot ConnectionsNext up on the same disc is another take on women's lib gone crazy with Hot Connections, which is strictly softcore all the way and centers around another die-hard Hot Connectionsfeminist group, the Women's Liberation Defense Center. Once again we open at a public picketing demonstration with angry women yelling at every man in sight, this time even beating the bejeezus out of a few guys with their signs and a few hand chops. Meanwhile phone company executive Arnold Thaxton (Booby Trap's Geoffries) has a habit of using his work time playing naked putt putt with his switchboard operators and firing them when they become a nuisance by, y'know, getting pregnant. As it turns out, Arnold's ex, Marilyn (Cochrane), is one of the prime women's lib insurrectionists and decides to rope him in along with his sexist pig pal George (Scott). Both Arnold and George think they have it made with all of these bisexual modern women at their disposal, on top of the 95% female staff already at their fingertips. As it turns out, they're about to get much more than they bargained for.

Featuring two of the most repellent male leads you'll ever see, Hot Connections is, like the first feature, best approached as a goofball skin flick that can't be taken seriously for a second. According to some sources this was actually directed by none other than character actor James Hong (under the names "James Young"), who of course went on to helm The Vineyard and Teen Lust. He does pop up Hot Connectionsbriefly in the film as a peeping tom detective, so sure, why not? For skin fans you also get Rene Bond in a smaller role as George's secretary, who ends up getting Hot Connectionsbusy as usual with on- and off-screen squeeze Ric Lutze, along with other welcome actresses like Lynn Harris (Wild Honey), Starlyn Simone (A Touch of Sweden), and Elana Casey (Candy Stripe Nurses). If that weren't enough, how about a random female karate student showdown on the beach, which became the entire focus of the promotional campaign! It's silly, never dull, quite witty at times, and loaded with sex from start to finish.

Previously available as a DVD-R or digital download from Something Weird, Hot Connections has been given a fresh transfer from their print with similar results as the other feature. Colors look great and robust, while age-related damage is in evidence throughout with signs of projector love like scratches and dirt. The Dolby Digital audio is generally okay but has some rough spots, especially just after the 60-minute mark. Extras include a 10-minute SD loop of Digard doing what she does best (e.g., smiling and rolling around naked) and newly-created trailers for both main features along with Cries of Ecstasy, Blows of Death and Invasion of the Love Drones.

Reviewed on February 8, 2018.