Sunday, April 29, 2012

Movie Ad of the Week: STONY ISLAND (1978)

Compiled by Chris Poggiali & Jon Putnam

Filmed on the gritty streets of Chicago's south side, STONY ISLAND (1978) tells the story of Richie Bloom (Richie Davis), the only white kid on the block, as he forms an R&B band with his best friend, Kevin (Edward 'Stoney' Robinson). With the help of their mentor, aging sax legend Percy (Gene 'Daddy G' Barge), they pull together a funky supergroup, stealing practice time at night in the local funeral home. Despite few resources and heavy losses, this resilient group of dedicated musicians -- armed only with wit, sleight of hand and outrageous Chicago bravado -- must come together to finally make their smash debut. Directed by Andrew Davis (THE FUGITIVE, ABOVE THE LAW, CODE OF SILENCE), photographed by Tak Fujimoto, and co-starring Rae Dawn Chong, Dennis Franz and The Bangles' Susanna Hoffs, this talked-about but rarely-seen indie gem is now available on DVD and digital platforms for the first time ever, from Cinema Libre Distribution!

Village Voice says...
While JOE AND MAXI has papered the Village with enough posters to make the folks south of 14th Street expect the second coming of GONE WITH THE WIND, STONY ISLAND, a vital example of fictional independent filmmaking, has crept into town like a thief in the night. Andrew Davis’s 1978 film, featuring virtually unknown Chicago rhythm-and-blues performers, can be found by the adventurous moviegoer in one of the kung-fu tracks around town. This racially integrated movie is thus facing the fate of its last worthy predecessor, SHINING STAR (THAT’S THE WAY OF THE WORLD), in which “integrated” in the minds of distributors equaled “blaxploitation.” STONY ISLAND deserves a fighting chance in a Manhattan specialty house. The movie is youthfully exuberant and, as cut to pop rhythms, the pacing and narrative are zestfully unpredictable. STONY ISLAND belongs among a small handful of rock films from A HARD DAY’S NIGHT to AMERICAN HOT WAX that flow genuinely to a contemporary sound. The characters, including an Appalachian window washer and a black chauffeur in a Cook County limo fleet, are as sweet as their music is mellow. You get an inexhaustibly hectic collage of Chicago locations, a sampling of more bar bands than you knew existed, and a movie that shuffles into a heartfelt homage to Gene Barge as a patriarchal black musician, which are three reasons to catch it, catch it, catch it.

                   -- from “Declarations of War and Independents”
                       by Tom Allen (Village Voice, March 24, 1980, 25:48)

STONY ISLAND was re-released by World-Northal in 1981 as MY MAIN MAN FROM STONY ISLAND.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

This Week on 42nd Street: 1980

Here are the double and triple features that played the Deuce thirty-two years ago this week. Theaters are listed in east-to-west order.

North Side of the Street





South Side of the Street


Cine 42





Sunday, April 22, 2012

Movie Ad of the Week: FATHER'S NIGHT (1975) a.k.a. TEENAGE SEDUCTRESS

Terry Nelson (Sondra Currie) arrives in Taos, New Mexico looking for her father, bestselling novelist Preston King (producer-director Chris Warfield), who deserted her and her religious fanatic mother (Gwen Van Dam) two decades earlier. A bitter, man-hating sociopath, Terry poses as a University of Connecticut student to secure a position as King’s intern-assistant -- driving a wedge between the famous author and his girlfriend, middle-aged librarian Victoria (Elizabeth Saxon) -- with the intention of seducing and then destroying daddy with the revelation that he's had sex with his own daughter.

We have no idea where the Internet Movie Database got a release date of 1971 for this movie, but it was shot in Taos in October 1974 under the title LOVE IS FOREVER. Character actor Buck Flower, the producer and co-writer, intended to call it AN AFFAIR IN TAOS, but Warfield announced it in the trades as INCEST and then INCEST ON FATHER'S NIGHT.

Pic was first released by Warfield's company Lima Productions in 1975, under the title FATHER'S NIGHT. Although it's best known today as TEENAGE SEDUCTRESS (a Lima re-release title circa 1978), it resurfaced in theaters in the early '80s as FOR THE LOVE OF TERRY, which is also the title on the edited TV prints.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Endangered List (Case File #119)


Russ Vincent (Jack Romanti)
Leslie Brooks (Dr. Maureen John)
Mary Beth Hughes (Linda Roberts)
John Agar (Lieut. Rafferty)
Grant Williams (Paul Miller)
Rick Cooper (Rick Stewart)
Johnnie "Dixie" Uhl (Sharon Miller)
John Armond (Mr. Rivero)
Stormy Uhl (Kim)
Linda Susan Hill (Jane Stewart)
Babette (Ann Dunn)
Sean Kenney (Steve Roberts)
Sherry Mills (Judy)
Michael West (Tim)
Bill Hudson (Mr. Dunn)
Joe Castagna (Jim Hunter)
Lois Ursone (Bobbie Courtney)
Eve Brent (Mrs. Ryan)
Stuart Gardner (Stu)
Alicio Balsa (Adagio Dancer)
Vera Allen (Adagio Dancer)
Dana Diamond (Drum Dancer)
Charles Vincent (Drum Dancer)
Saraha Jones (Belly Dancer)
Steve Vincent (Hypnotist)
Francisco Vespia (Troubador)
Doris Barton (Rita Rivero)
Dixie Daugherty (Mrs. Smith)
Floyd Schenk (Mr. Smith)
Rosalind Miles (Julie)
Rigg Kennedy (Hippie)
Sonja Dunson (Showgirl)
Nitchka Newell (Cuddlebutt)
Vincene Wallace (Showgirl)
Regina Champlin (Showgirl)
Sheri Lohr (Showgirl)
Mel Blanc (Blackie)

Written, produced, and directed
Russ Vincent

Executive Producer
William J. McCarthy

Cinematography by
Bob Caramico

Edited by
Lee Osborne

Music by
Robert 'Bumps' Blackwell

Assistant Director
George Moskov

Production Manager
George Moskov

Assistant to Producer
Tom Whitney

Second Assistant Director
George Light

Dick Damon

Ralph Marshall

Script Supervisor
Marlene Buckalew

Property Master
C. W. Butlin

Jim Nielson
Tino Zacchia

Janet Strong

MPAA rating: X

Jack Romanti (RUSS VINCENT) runs a peculiar theatre-club in Hollywood where he gives scholarships to youngsters seeking to get ahead in the entertainment industry and who pays for this through admissions to the public performances and also contributions from sponsors. But it is the behind-the-scenes entertainment which intrigues the "participating" sponsors, both men and women, for they have free access to the students, via appointment, to satisfy their sexual whims.

Into this situation stumbles Kim (STORMY UHL) who has been given a scholarship. She is a naive virgin, fearful that she is turning Lesbian. Aiding Romanti in his enterprise is Dr. Maureen John (LESLIE BROOKS), a psychiatrist who advises her patients with sex hangups to join Romanti's foundation and becoming participating members. Chief assistant to Romanti is Linda Roberts (MARY BETH HUGHES) who in addition to acting as wardrobe mistress helps him in the running of the organization and who herself has a yen for Romanti.

On the sidelines observing all of this is Lieut. Rafferty (JOHN AGAR) of the Los Angeles Police Department who, suspecting blackmail and worse, tells Romanti that "Some day you're going to fall and I'm going to be there to catch you."

Another assistant to Romanti who also has a craving for him is Jane (LINDA JEAN HILL) who at first is content to stand in the background while Romanti makes his plays for the various women who come under his influence. Jack's real ambition is to become a motion picture director and that is one of his hangups. He shrugs off his sexual prowess and that of his "students" with "Everyone has hangups. I'm performing a service."

The fact that he is acting as a pimp does not occur to him. The only goad to his conscience is Blackie, a mynah, who is extremely precocious and worldly and whose comments are both humorous and irritating.

Jack exhibits compassion when Kim experiences a Lesbian activity with one of the patrons, Mrs. Courtney (LOIS URSONE), and finds that she believes herself normal. He demotes her from the show and puts her in the checkroom. He has a mad affair with Judy (SHERRY MILLS), a married woman whose husband has for months failed to satisfy her. She is killed by a Peeping Tom and Jack is arrested for the murder, only to be exonerated when the real killer Tim (MICHAEL WEST) is captured. At that time, Lieut. Rafferty, releasing Jack, says, realizing that the operator of the theatre-club may be doing a service, says: "You're a like-able bastard."

Meanwhile, Jack has directed the test of a young student of his, Rick Stewart (RICK COOPER) with Sharon Miller (JOHNNIE "DIXIE" UHL), wife of film producer Paul Miller (GRANT WILLIAMS). It is a success, and Rick moves in with the Millers to get acquainted and learn his part. After a series of so-called get-togethers between Sharon and Rick, Paul discovers them making love and cancels the picture, including his promise to Jack that he would get his chance to direct the film. However, after a session with his over-sexed wife, Paul, who had fears of having become a latent homosexual, changes his mind: Rick and Sharon are to star, Jack to direct.

Jack returns to the theatre-club and later is confronted by Jane who has been willingly and presumably gratefully removed from her virginity by a male "participant." She tells him, "I don't feel like a deprived whore any more. I really enjoyed it."

His world crashes - for he has begun to think that this virgin had been the only thing for him. Jack is told the news by Paul that he will direct the upcoming film with Sharon and Rick as the stars.

And, as Dr. John who is still nurturing her like for him, tells him: "Maybe it didn't work out the way you wanted it to. But it's for the best."

And Blackie, the bird, agrees.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Movie Ad of the Week: PSYCHED BY THE 4D WITCH! (1973)

World Premiere - March 23, 1973 - New Orleans, LA

Today’s post was submitted many months ago by tireless TOS researcher Mike MacCollum, who -- in the process of digging up more information on such New Orleans-shot obscurities as THE THURSDAY MORNING MURDERS and THE LARDFATHER -- stumbled upon the true identity of the mysterious “Victor Luminera,” director of PSYCHED BY THE 4D WITCH! Described by Something Weird Video as “the most maddening, jaw-dropping, mind-bending piece of celluloid lunacy ever to play American theaters,” PSYCHED is the one-of-a-kind brainchild of Lawrence Milton Boren, founder of The World of Tomorrow Foundation and author of Woman, A Glorious Destiny Awaits You! A Scientific Breakthrough, Part 1. Also known as "Dr. Destiny," Boren claims to be an intuitive right-brain contactee with the ability to channel the future! Our interest piqued, we decided to dig a little deeper to see what else we could find. Long story short, Mike and I are writing an artcle about Boren/Luminera and his trippy movie, which we hope to get published in a magazine sometime this summer. It's a strange story, to say the least! Stay tuned for more details.
                                                                                   -- Chris P.

Below: PSYCHED BY THE 4D WITCH! opened in Colorado Springs, CO on May 18th, 1973

Friday, April 13, 2012

"Week of Hong" presents HOT CONNECTIONS (1972)

For our contribution to Lost Video Archive’s “Week of Hong” (April 9-14), a blogathon devoted to the long and always interesting career of actor-filmmaker James Hong, we unveil another Temple of Schlock exclusive: HOT CONNECTIONS (1972), a soft-X skin flick directed by “James Young,” the same alias Hong used as the co-star of the hardcore CHINA GIRL (1975). Made at the tail end of an all-too-brief period in Hollywood when the opportunity to direct an adult movie was looked upon as an opportunity to direct a movie (see: Corey Allen, Melvin Van Peebles, Jack Starrett), one can’t fault Hong for ultimately hiding behind a pseudonym, even if HOT CONNECTIONS had more brain in its head forty years ago than most legitimate comedies are packing today. Pic carries a 1972 copyright date but seems to have received the bulk of its playdates (through Ellman Film Enterprises) beginning in the spring of 1973. The ad campaign above, promising "The first seX with karate," appeared in July '73 and could possibly explain a brief, awkward karate fight seemingly shoehorned into a beach scene that may have been shot earlier. Hong handled dubbing supervision duties on the Ellman kung fu import FEARLESS FIGHTERS around the same time.

The film's ad art winkingly refers to the female switchboard operators employed by Ma Bell, still pretty much a monopoly in 1972, more than 20 years after an antitrust lawsuit should've ended the bitch's reign of terror. THE PRESIDENT'S ANALYST it ain't, but HOT CONNECTIONS smartly uses TPC as a platform for its pro-feminism plotline; in addition to being figuratively screwed by the Bell like everyone else, its own curvier employees are literally (according to the ad below) "Bugged...Tapped...Crossed...Plugged" by The Phone Company's chauvinistic, micromanaging men-in-power.

Enter the militant Marilyn Thaxton (Tallie Cochrane), leader of the Women's Liberation Defense Center.

Her ex-husband happens to be Arnold Thaxton (Christopher Geoffries from TEENAGE JAILBAIT, billed as "Fred Kodel"), a VP at the TPC as well as the company's number one abuser of the female staff.

Arnold’s had affairs with hundreds of phone company gals...

...but when he knocks up one of his employees and then fires her for not getting an abortion, he incurs the wrath of his ex-wife and the Women’s Liberation Defense Center.

The pregnant girl’s name, Mary Collins, is mentioned numerous times during demonstrations and meetings as if she’s a notable public figure, leading us to the conclusion that her character (hardly seen in the movie) is supposed to represent Mary Moore, the first voice of the Bell Telephone Company.

Arnold’s best friend and co-conspirator is dopey middle manager George Hanes, played by John Hayes stock actor Jay Scott, credited as “Billy Busby” (the name of his character in Hayes’ sexploitation western FANDANGO).

The men share a few bad habits, both in and out of the office.

One of these habits is keeping track of how much time the female employees spend in the women’s room and on the telephone with their boyfriends. Here we see the professional manner in which George deals with Angie (Rene Bond).

ANGIE: “Honestly, George, are you still timing my trips to the washroom?!

GEORGE: “This is phone company business and my name is Mr. Hanes!”

ANGIE: “Why don’t you change some of these figures? You’re making me look like I’ve got diarrhea!”

George is married to foxy Cynthia, played by Margie Lanier from FUGITIVE GIRLS (billed as "Marjorie Lane").

She's a member of the Women’s Liberation Defense Center as well, and -- much to George's irritation -- their home is frequently used as the group's meeting place.

Marilyn and Cynthia set out to publicly humiliate Arnold and get him fired from The Phone Company. Their plan? Hire a snooper to snap photos of Arnold balling his latest squeeze, Tiffany (sexy Lynn Harris from THE PICK-UP), enlarge the pics to placard-size and use them in a demonstration outside the TPC building.

The snooper is played by our guest of honor, James Hong.

Oops, sorry -- we mean "James Young."

Hmm. There's also a James Haig credited as producer.

Hong/Young/maybe-Haig tails Arnold to a meeting with George at a shoeshine stand. George tells Arnold about the photos and the Women’s Liberation Defense Center's plan to get him fired.

At this point, Snooper Hong is spotted...

...and the two friends hide behind newspapers until he leaves.

This is a nicely composed shot, with the Bell sign in the top center of the frame, above the shoeshine stand (power-subordination imagery), as director Hong crosses in the foreground, a camera dangling from a strap around his neck.

It makes us wish Hong had directed more features than just the three we know about. HOT CONNECTIONS never reaches the genius plateau of his masterwork, THE GIRLS NEXT DOOR (a.k.a. TEEN LUST), but is still a solid sexploiter with strong performances by the attractive leads, decent camerawork by future director Steve Carver, and a fast, funny script. Other cast members include Elana Casey (CANDY STRIPE NURSES), Starlyn Simone (A CLIMAX OF BLUE POWER), and THE ALL-AMERICAN GIRL'S Peggy Church. The print from Something Weird runs 71 minutes, 14 seconds and appears incomplete, with four minutes of loud distortion on the soundtrack at the one-hour mark. Hopefully a better print will surface eventually.

Please visit the Week of Hong's other participants:

Monday April 9th
Illogical Contraption - BLOODSPORT II

Tuesday April 10th
Direct to Video Connoisseur - SOUTH BEACH ACADEMY
Lost Video Archive - TEEN LUST

Wednesday April 11th
She Blogged By Night - SEVENTH SIN
Lost Video Archive - CYBER BANDITS

Thursday April 12th
Booksteve's Library - CHINA GIRL
Lost Video Archive - GLADIATOR COP

Friday April 13th
Lines That Make Things - THE A-TEAM (TV episode)
Temple of Schlock - HOT CONNECTIONS

Saturday April 14th
Illogical Contraption - BLOODSPORT III
Lost Video Archive - BLADE IN HONG KONG
Thrilling Days of Yesteryear - BAT MASTERSON and CHECKMATE (TV episodes)

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Movie Ad of the Week: THE GIRLS NEXT DOOR (1979) a.k.a. TEEN LUST (1983)

Atlanta opening: February 16, 1979

New York opening: September 9, 1983
We've covered this movie before, and as recently as March 30th, but our friends at the Lost Video Archive are gearing up to dedicate an entire week to its director, the multi-talented (but best known as a character actor) James Hong! The celebration begins Monday, April 9th at the Lost Video Archive and the participating blogs listed below.

Monday April 9th
Illogical Contraption - BLOODSPORT II

Tuesday April 10th
Direct to Video Connoisseur - SOUTH BEACH ACADEMY
Lost Video Archive - TEEN LUST

Wednesday April 11th
She Blogged By Night - SEVENTH SIN
Lost Video Archive - CYBER BANDITS

Thursday April 12th
Booksteve's Library - CHINA GIRL
Lost Video Archive - GLADIATOR COP

Friday April 13th
Lines That Make Things - THE A-TEAM (TV episode)
Temple of Schlock - HOT CONNECTIONS

Saturday April 14th
Illogical Contraption - BLOODSPORT III
Lost Video Archive - BLADE IN HONG KONG
Thrilling Days of Yesteryear - BAT MASTERSON and CHECKMATE (TV episodes)