Directed by Chuck Vincent
Starring Kelly Nichols and Jerry Butler


(Special thanks to P.J. for his assistance and encouragement!)


Plot Summary: On a balmy night in Florida, Jill Travis - a free-spirited young woman - meets an ambitious married man named Andy Whitman (Jerry Butler) and embarks on a brief but explosive affair with him. When Andy must return home, he realizes he is in love and offers to leave his wife for Jill. Insecure but pragmatic, Jill refuses and the two part ways. Over the next twenty years, as their lives continue apart, they go from lofty highs to tragic lows, yet never can forget each other or the love they shared. As an aging, broken man, Andy sets off to find his long-lost lover until a chance meeting changes their lives forever.

(Trailer appears after review.)

Review: In today's world of gonzo bonkfests, silicone-enhanced bombshells and steroid-infused superstuds, modern audiences probably wouldn't know what to make of the films of the late, great Chuck Vincent. Ever the auteur, and quite a character, Vincent was a filmmaker first and pornographer second. He used the genre to tell stories of ordinary people - often in extraordinary situations - and had an eye for spotting genuine talent in the porno pool. Veronica Hart and Ginger Lynn are just two of the many hardcore performers who appeared in Vincent's more mainstream softcore titles. However, even in his adult films, he had a knack for finding the most talented performers to inhabit his characters. His tales were not simply flesh parades. They were well-crafted and demanding emotional pieces which cried out for strong, talented leads. One of those shining lights appears as the lead in In Love.

Kelly Nichols
Kelly Nichols has the distinction of being one of the few hardcore performers of the period to be a member of the Screen Actors Guild, and she carries the weight of In Love on her shoulders. In the many years over which the film spans, Nichols manages to be convincing throughout. From the wild woman-child who impetuously rams into Jerry Butler's car, to hippie without a cause, to hardened ex-con and finally to mature woman in charge of her fate, Nichols never fails to connect with the material or the audience. Hers is really one of the defining acting performances of the genre.

Much praise has been lavished on Jerry Butler's acting abilities - mostly by Butler himself - but suffice to say he does his best acting work here. Perhaps Chuck Vincent's passion for the material rubbed off on him, shaving away the ham and revealing a heretofore suppressed ability to give the camera a sensitive and emotional portrayal to capture? But more on our leads in due course.

While the storyline itself (by Henri Pachard, and scripted by Rick Marx and Chuck Vincent) isn't really breaking any new ground, the supporting cast certainly raised the bar and draws us in.

Samantha Fox (left) taunts Veronica Hart.
Samantha Fox is delicious as a scheming seductress, but it is Veronica Hart who gives the most haunting performance of the film. Barely speaking a word, she plays Andy's pregnant and
neglected wife - a wife all too aware of her husband's remoteness and infidelities. At a lavish party, Andy
disappears from the room, causing his wife's years of neglect, pain and humiliation to turn finally into angry despair. Hart conveys all these emotions to the viewer without uttering a sound. It's all there on her face, in her eyes, as she scans the room in vain looking for her emotionally-neglectful husband. She knows full well that as she does this he is doubtless in the arms of another woman. It is a shattering performance that no other actress in the world of adult film could ever have pulled off.

Gay porn icon Jack Wrangler appears briefly as one of Jill's many lovers. Wrangler had only recently migrated to straight hardcore films, and he plays his heterosexual character with a stereotypically gay flamboyance. This stark contrast to the mucho-macho types he played in gay cinema was an interesting and amusing acting choice.

Beth Broderick
In Love marks the screen debut of Beth Broderick, who has had a long career in film and television, and may be best known as Aunt Zelda in Sabrina the Teenage Which. In this film she portrays a unsophisticated but sincere woman who has fallen in love with Jill. Her anguish over these unrequited feelings (which brings up her own insecurities of not being "good enough" for the more worldly Jill) culminates in a bombastic and destructive outburst that is just shattering to watch. Broderick's performance stays with the viewer long after, despite only appearing on screen a scant few minutes.

The film itself looks gorgeous. Cleverly photographed by the talented and prolific Larry Revene, if you didn't know it was a hardcore film made on a small budget you would never suspect as much. Nearly every shot is a picture postcard. Even the hardcore sex scenes are filmed with restraint and taste, and you'll never wonder if you've accidentally switched over to a gynecology training video.

Moment of truth.
The theme song is an infectious (in an over-the-top, AM-radio style) ballad that will stick with you after the last reel unravels. It might even inspire a tear or two, it certainly did in me (and I'm man enough to admit it!)

In various interviews, both Kelly Nichols and Jerry Butler have said that they had absolutely no chemistry and there was certainly no love lost between them. You would never know that to watch them together onscreen. They don't spend a lot of the film's running time together, but when they do they are electric. I feel very confident in attributing this almost solely to Kelly Nichols. I've seen Butler in other films with actresses he didn't care for and it was always painfully obvious (particularly in sex
scenes.) Not so here. Perhaps it is because his leading lady is possessed of much talent and effortless believability? Her character loves Andy, and Nichols' performance is so convincing that it elevates Butler's lesser abilities.

Sue Nero and Jerry Butler.
In all fairness, Butler really gives us the goods as he crumbles under the taunts of a merciless prostitute (Sue Nero.) This is fortunate as the scene marks Andy's emotional turning-point. Butler's performance in the rest of the film is competent, but dims a bit surrounded by Nichols, Fox, Hart and Broderick.

For all the skill behind In Love, being a hardcore film means quite a bit of character and plot development is eschewed in favor of copious sex scenes. This is tragic in a way. While the sex scenes are nicely shot and fairly erotic, none other than the initial encounter between Jill and Andy give us any insight in to the characters or their motivations. A softcore version was released to theatres under the title Strangers in Love, but that cut simply removed the hardcore without adding any further dimension to the film. But, rather than mourning what could have been, I encourage you to see In Love as a well-crafted, beautifully photographed and brilliantly-acted piece of cinema. It can certainly stand proudly beside better-known classics like Behind the Green Door and The Devil in Miss Jones.

In Love can be a difficult film to track down, even in the Internet age, but the effort is well-worth making. In a film canon as long as his arm, this stands alongside Roommates as one of Chuck Vincent's masterworks.

-Johnny Stanwyck


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Due to a death in the family, the planned Sylvia Kristel month will instead begin December 1st. This special month will kick off with a review of Mata Hari, followed by reviews of Emmanuelle, Emmanuelle l'Anti-Vierge, Goodbye Emmanuelle, Emmanuelle IV, and Lady Chatterley's Lover. Several Sylvia Kristel videos will also be added to the YouTube channel. Stay tuned!

EDIT: Since writing this post, I've been given an uncut copy of Mata Hari, so I'm going to re-watch it and review the film accordingly. We'll start out with Emmanuelle IV sometime in the next couple of days.
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Sylvia Kristel (1952-2012)
I've just been informed that the legendary Sylvia Kristel, original star of the Emmanuelle films, has passed away. She succumbed to cancer in her sleep at the age of 60.

The Entertainment Weekly website has posted a fitting article, and you will be seeing more about Sylvia's interesting life and career here on The Grindhouse Schoolhouse in November.

A sad day. A kind, intelligent and beautiful human being has left us. May she be at peace.

You can read the aforementioned Entertainment Weekly article here.

Our YouTube channel features the following videos starring Sylvia Kristel:



-Johnny Stanwyck


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After taking an extended break from blogging and YouTubing to refresh and regroup, I discovered today that The Grindhouse Schoolhouse channel has now exceeded 3 MILLION VIEWS! As I pick my jaw up out of my lap, I would like to thank you all for your tremendous support over the years, and I promise you that updates to the channel and blog will resume in November. In addition to reviews (here) and trailers/clips (the channel) I'll be experimenting with a few other ideas to help take The Grindhouse Schoolhouse in exciting new directions. Thank you all again, and I'll be back with you soon!
-Johnny Stanwyck


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Directed by Pavlos Filippou
Starring Ajita Wilson, Harris Stevens
Plot Summary: A group of arms dealers, led by the statuesque Tamara, begin to suspect there is a traitor in their midst when a routine arms deal goes bust. Things grow increasingly more desperate as the culprit begins picking them off one-by-one, in a shocking display of violence, rape and bloodshed.

Review: In the late 1970s, Greek cinema was in love with Eurospy films and bodacious sex goddess Ajita Wilson...so why not combine the two? Black Aphrodite is a mind-blowing swirl of sex, sleaze, knifings, train tossings, nudity, axe murders and hairy Greek buttocks. If it sounds like fun - it is in it's own way, if you don't think about it too much. Despite having all the ingredients for a rip-roaring exploitation sleaze fest, Black Aphrodite has one fatal flaw: it doesn't make any bloody sense!

Director Pavlos Filippou (using the bizarre pseudonym 'Saul Filipstein') seems to have brought to the set a written "to do" list on how to make a Eurocrime sex film...and the results are rather confusing. Characters appear simply to be dispatched minutes later, people who tried to
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Twenty-five years ago next month, one of the most enigmatic sirens of 20th Century cinema was tragically lost to us. Since her untimely death, Ajita Wilson has been a figure of mystery, of whispers and gossip...but no one could deny her talent or unmatched screen presence. To that end, May 2012 will be Ajita Wilson Month here at The Grindhouse Schoolhouse. Expect lots of reviews, lots of images and many video clips of the mysterious star! Stay tuned! In the meantime, please enjoy this video tribute I made some time ago. Keep your eye on the blog and the YouTube channel for lots of Ajita goodness! Viva Ajita!

-Johnny Stanwyck


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Today marks the second anniversary of The Grindhouse Schoolhouse/Johnny Stanwyck channel on YouTube. To say I am blown away by how well it has done would be an understatement! Two years, seventy-one videos (and counting) and a combined total of over 1.5 MILLION views! I would like to sincerely thank each and everyone of you who has viewed, subscribed, friended, favorited, commented or just taken a quick peek. It means the world to me! (continued below...)



I thought since my first YouTube upload was a musical montage of the Annette Haven classic "8 to 4," what better way to celebrate this anniversary with another montage? I settled on a tribute to the woman whose films started my obsession with exploitation films in the first place...Black Emanuelle herself, Laura Gemser. And, of course, I wanted to give all of you an onscreen thank you. My sentiments at the end of the video are from the heart!

I thank you all again for your tremendous support on the YouTube project, and this blog. It means more to me than you know!

-Johnny Stanwyck
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Directed by Jim Clark
With Bambi Woods and R. Bolla
Plot Summary: Young Debbie Benson has a dream - to join the "Texas Cowgirl" cheerleaders! When her parents disapprove, she and her girlfriends hatch a plan to help Debbie raise money to go to the Texas auditions.

Review: Just the title Debbie Does Dallas makes people sit up and take notice. It's one of those adult films that everyone - from the porn novice to the connoisseur - has heard of, but it seems few of them have actually seen. When people find out I write about classic adult films, Debbie is usually the first thing they ask me about. "What's it about?" "Is it really dirty?" "Is it any good?" Well, the answer to the latter is certainly subjective, but I usually answer with: "Well, that depends on what you're expecting."

It's hard to discern just where Debbie Does Dallas gets its reputation as a classic. The story, while not particularly original, is certainly as engaging as any of the better R-rated T&A comedies of the day. The direction and performances are adequate (even though our heroine, played by Bambi Woods, seems to be suffering from early-onset perma-fry.) And while the sex scenes are completely
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(American Exxxtasy logo, c. 1985/86)
Special thanks to the various YouTube users who posted the videos contained in this article for giving us a rare glimpse into days gone by.)

Satellite television in the 1980s was a bit like the Wild West: an untamed new frontier of endless possibility. While cable television offered channels not available to those with a standard TV aerial, programming was sparse and expensive - so as many settled for less, more adventurous viewers erected enormous dishes in backyards from sea-to-
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Lina Romay (1954-2012)
A new article will appear tomorrow on the legendary adult satellite channel American Exxxtasy, with a review of Babylon Pink to follow on Monday. However, I couldn't let this sad news pass without mention.

I'm very sorry to say that legendary cult actress and Jess Franco muse, Lina Romay, has passed away after a battle with cancer.

She appeared in more Franco films than you could shake a stick at, and was his companion of many years. One of her more recent public appearances was in an interview for the Macumba Sexual DVD release from Severin Films, talking about her works with Franco, as well as with co-stars Robert Foster and Ajita Wilson.

This grande dame of sexploitation will certainly be missed.

-Johnny Stanwyck
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Directed by Joe D'Amato
With George Eastman, Mark Shanon
Plot Summary: A group of scientists (and a assortment of reasonably-attractive, horny women) set sail for a deserted island to explore the effects of radiation. When they arrive, they are horrified to find the island inhabited by a grotesquely-mutated monster with a murderous streak, an enormous penis and an insatiable appetite for female flesh.

Review: In Joe D'Amato's dizzingly-prolific film career, he was never afraid to take a chance at trying new things. When the bump-grind-and-gut-munching Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals took off, Uncle Joe obviously thought "why not take things a step further?" That brings us to his sublimely strange hardcore porn/zombie horror exercise, Porno Holocaust.

Hmmm, mixing explicit sex with zombie mayhem sounds like a wonderful idea, and it probably would have been if either aspect was properly executed. D'Amato was new to hardcore at the time, and obviously hadn't learned the rules. In the half-
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Directed by Henry Paris
Starring Barbara Bourbon, Eric
Edwards, and Georgina Spelvin
(c) 2011 Distribpix, Inc.
(Note: Very special thanks to Steven M. of Distribpix. Without him, this review would not be possible. Thank you! This article will take a slightly different approach. Since there isn't a lot I can say about the film that hasn't been said already, I shall focus on the brilliant 2011 DVD release.)

Plot Summary: A wealthy businessman enlists the help of a private investigator to keep an eye on his sexually adventurous wife. Taking the job, and with a film camera strapped to his head, he documents Pamela's cartoonish, and increasingly debauched encounters. He witnesses everything from deep-throating in the park, schutupping a family-values touting politician, and even rape and gunpoint. Work takes a personal turn when he finds himself becoming fascinated by the sexual charms of Mrs. Mann.

Film Review: On paper, The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann might sound similar to other hardcore features of the time, but being a Radley Metzger film, there is absolutely nothing ordinary to be found here! Pamela Mann reigns supreme as one of the genre's crowning achievements, and
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Directed by Jean-Pierre Floran
Starring Traci Lords, Marilyn Jess
and Alban Ceray
(Note: No need to call the Feds...this was Traci Lords' one and only LEGAL film. So, don't freak out folks!)

Plot Summary: A big-haired blonde bimb...erm...bombshell travels to Paris to take her career to the next level. Bangin' the boss only brings in dancing gigs, until she finds herself in the clutches of an obsessed photographer, who lures her in to his den of sin and shame...or something like that.

Review: It's very difficult to explain to anyone under the age of 35 what a huge star Traci Lords was in the early-to-mid 1980's. I was only about 8 years old and rather sheltered during her heyday, and even I was aware of her notorious nubility. Friends' fathers worshiped her, schoolkids whispered her name, and every time I got up the courage to peer through the curtains of the "forbidden zone" of our local Ma and Pa video store, Miss Lords' pouty face looked back from the covers of countless video boxes. Lords was,
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Directed by Joe D'Amato
With Laura Gemser, Karin Schubert,
and Ivan Rassimov

Plot Summary: Emanuelle embarks on yet another globe-hopping adventure to save the women of the world from sexual degradation. What she discovers is more sordid than any white slavery ring she has ever encountered in adventures past, and she finds herself in a debauched and dangerous world where women are kidnapped, bought, sold and disposed of. Will Emanuelle be their next victim?

Review: To call the Black Emanuelle cycle somewhat hit-and-miss would be quite an understatement. They range from mildly diverting melodrama (Black Emanuelle), to shockingly grotesque sleaze-fests (Emanuelle in America) to insomnia-curing sex travelogues (Emanuelle in Bangkok.) However, with Emanuelle Around the World, director Joe D'Amato manages to crank out a highly effective, erotically-charged thriller.

Even in its English dubbed version, the story and scripting remain strong. On paper, the story
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Directed by Walerian Borowczyk
and Steve Barnett
Plot Summary: Emmanuelle, a dizzy sexploitation bombshell, is mobbed and stripped bare in Cannes - and eventually finds sanctuary on the boat of a nerdy doorknob factory owner. She later schtupps her way out of the clutches of a Sheik's harem, and machine guns dozens of stock-footage soldiers, before returning to the waiting arms of Mr. Doorknob. You can't make this shit up, folks!

Review: To say the Emmanuelle pump was running dry by this point would certainly be truth in advertising. Emmanuelle 5 exists in three equally demented, disjointed cuts. There is the original French hardcore snoozefest, the slightly more coherent "international" cut and the horrendous, arduous experience that was released Stateside. Having seen all three versions, a dubious honor to be sure, I must admit that while the US version is the most inept - it is, at least, the most entertaining...albeit for
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Directed by Radley Metzger
Cast: Clair Wilbur, Calvin Culver
Lynn Lowry, Gerald Grant, Carl Parker

Plot Summary: In a quaint seaside town, in a country vaguely European, married swingers Elvira and Jack live a joyously hedonistic life seducing tourists. New acquaintances, the naive young Betsy and Eddie, are proving to be difficult nuts to crack, however. Undeterred, Elvira and Jack make a bet: can husband bed husband before wife can seduce wife? And what will a swarthy telephone repairman bring to the mix?

Review: In the early 1970's, having "sexual hang ups" was severely frowned upon by anyone who was truly "with it." Thus began the (brief) era of "bisexual chic." The vogue was short-lived, so short that few films had the opportunity to capitalize on the fad. This is what makes Score such a unique and enjoyable experience. In the modern era, when bisexual adult films are widely perceived to be uniformly terrible, Score entices us with a glimpse at a genre that could have been, but sadly never was.

While still in the early stages of his career, director Radley Metzger had already begun to
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Plot Summary: Embittered and utterly alone, Carol, a wealthy heiress, returns to her palatial estate following the death of her sadistic husband. Her inner fury turns her into not only a ruthless businesswoman, but a cruel and manipulative sexual predator. She keeps her painful past a secret from those around her, until she meets a handsome stranger who sees through her cruelty and into her wounded soul. The stranger shows Carol that true freedom is only found in letting go.

Review: Long a staple of late-night cable and VHS rental outlets, the new millennium has, surprisingly, left Inhibition rather hard to find. This is certainly a shame, as the film is head and shoulders above most exploitation fare, and is a rather well-made character study, and an emotionally touching one at that. Inhibition takes genre conventions and defies them all brilliantly. What could have been standard T&A fare becomes an intriguing and involving film about loss of
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Directed by Joe D'Amato
Starring Laura Gemser,
Gabriele Tini, Ely Galleani
88 Minutes/Color

Plot Summary: While visiting an old friend, Emanuelle seizes the chance to photograph a notorious underworld figure. One thing leads to another, and she soon has bigger fish to fry, when she discovers another mafioso-type involved in a human trafficking ring. To get the story, she goes undercover into the pleasure palace of the diabolical Madame Claude, but is soon discovered and shipped off for a lobotomy! Will her feminine wiles save the day once again?

Review: Watching this film, the last of the Black Emanuelle films helmed by Joe D'Amato (with the exception of the cut-and-paste Unleashed Perversions of Emanuelle,) this viewer finds himself asking "haven't we been here before?"

The whole film plays out with a rather dreary sense of cinematic déja vu. Both director and star (Laura Gemser, of course) acquit themselves with such a
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Directed by Nicholas Beardsley
Starring Linda Blair
Plot summary: Having escaped a life of degredation and torture on an uncharted prison island, a young woman named Daly heads for the city with one thing on her mind: revenge. Holding her former captor at gunpoint, she regails the audience with a sordid tale of sex, jewels, death, and finally, revolution.

Review: Much of the sexploitation genre is an exercise in endurance. However "Savage Island" is an exercise in cinematic Schizophrenia. Not content to simply buy, re-cut and re-title one trashy European women-in-prison dirge, the producers of "Savage Island" plunder two films, bookending it with cheesy footage of a gun-totin' Linda Blair to round out the package. If it sounds like a mess, it is.
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Directed by Bitto Albertini
Starring Chai Lee, Giuseppe Pambieri
and Ilona Staller (Cicciolina)
106 Minutes
Plot summary: After being beaten by thugs in the streets of Hong Kong, British pilot George Taylor awakes in hospital under the care of the beautiful Dr Emy Wong. The two fall in love and become engaged, but when George is temporarily sent back to London a jealous co-worker/ex-girlfriend intercepts his love letters to Emy. Believing she has been abandoned and disgraced Emy descends into a world of prostitution and misery.

Review: (If this review sounds at all familiar, it's because I've published it on several forums under the name "Futura-2.")

From the promotional materials of the time, The Sensuous World of Emy Wong (better known by the unfortunate title Yellow Emanuelle) one would think Bitto Albertini (aka Albert Thomas) was intending to churn out
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Directed by Joe Gage
Starring Richard Locke
86 Minutes/Color
*Some souces state this film was released in 1980, hence the URL of this article. I found more sources later on that state it was released in 1982. Anyone know?
 
Plot summary: On a ranch in rural Montana, Rory and his fellow ranch hands are constantly bullied and humiliated by their cruel foreman, Shep. After a night on the town opens Rory's eyes to both the agony and ecstacy of mansex, he hatches a plan to turn the tables on Shep, and gain the upper hand.

Review: Joe Gage is something of an anomoly in the world of both gay and straight cinema (he directed straight porn as well, and a few softcore features.) Other directors (of any persuasion) often tried to dress up the raunch, creating complicated soap opera-style storylines, convoluted scripting, expensive constumes and location shooting, while the films of Joe Gage are about sex as a tool, as a weapon, as a means of communication between men.

"Heatstroke" hit adult theatres with the tagline "Male Bonding...With a Vengeance" which pretty much sums up Gage's entire canon. In the films of Joe Gage, unlike so many of his
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Directed by Gregory Dark
Starring Savannah, Madison
(Note: You'll notice this review takes a far less "critical" tone than my previous entry on The Devil in Miss Jones. I originally wrote this for Adult DVD Talk, so that audience is more interested in the sex scenes than the background and socialogical stuff. Still, I tried to make it stand out.)


Originally published on AdultDVD Talk.

How does one follow up a classic with the status of the 1985 original New Wave Hookers? To call it a daunting task would be a gross understatement. New Wave Hookers took a completely different angle when it came to peddling smut to the masses.
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Directed by Gerard Damiano
With Georgina Spelvin
and Harry Reems
Plot summary: Weary of lonliness and despair, Justine Jones takes her own life. Upon reaching the afterlife, she learns that her act of escape has condemned her to an eternity in Hell. A minion takes pity upon her and gives her the chance to return to Earth to earn her way to Hell, by living a life, as she puts it, "consumed by lust."

Review: If Deep Throat made it hip for suburbanites to visit an adult cinema, The Devil in Miss Jones made it okay for serious critics and academics to cast something more than a dismissive glance at the pornographic screen. Running a scant 74 minutes, Miss Jones is a film that will sit with you long after the final reel has unspooled. It is a stark and startling film in many ways, far from the frothy fun found in pornography before and hence. It's not a film about sexual abandon, like much of its ilk, but a film about life, death and consequence.
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In the world of adults-only cinema, the word "classic" gets thrown around about as much as most of today's porn starlets do. Many are curious, they trek to the dustiest corner of the video store's adult section and grab an old, beat-up videocassette, take it home to finally see what the "classics" are all about. Most of the time...they're disappointed. Washed-out picture, muffled sound, sex that seems more stagey than arousing. They start to wonder what all the fuss is about. Well, that's where I come in.

There was a time before porn existed soley for the consumer to get it up and get it off. That was the main intention, to be sure, but there was more to it than that.
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