In the third of their PEEKARAMA double features, Vinegar Syndrome brings us a pair of hardcore directorial efforts from Bob Chinn.
The titular SADIE (Chris Cassidy, SEXWORLD) is an American prostitute in the South Seas. Having decided to go straight, she has hooked up with smuggler Harry (Larry Price, DELTA FORCE) who has promised to get her a job as a dancer in Jakarta but has actually secretly sold her to the Rajah (Richard Slade, BODY MAGIC) of the Borneo island on which they are stopping for a short stay. The two end up at the trading post of Doc (Elmo Lavino, DEBBIE DOES 'EM ALL) and sharing cramped quarters with fanatically religious American Senator Daniels (Joseph Darling, BETWEEN THE SHEETS), his icy wife (Deborah Sullavan), and their virginal daughter Honoré (Diana Holt, BLONDS HAVE MORE FUN), and vacationing sailors Jock (Jerome Deeds, BLONDE IN BLACK SILK) and Bear (Gary Dana, NASTY LADY). Jock hits it off with Sadie and Bear with Honoré. Sadie's and Jock's happiness is short-lived however as the Rajah wants Sadie and uses the island's military Colonel Moktar (Herbert Siguenza, ENCINO MAN) to entrap the couple, sending Jock undercover to expose Harry's smuggling contacts and leaving Sadie to choose between being part of the Rajah's heroin-addicted white slave harem or the senator's threat of jail time in the United States.
Most porn films are limited in scope, but SADIE's chamber piece construction is more deliberate despite the script's numerous intrigues – most of which are resolved offscreen – with much of the action taking place in Doc's trading post, a quite elaborate set (including an exterior façade) for a low budget sex film. In fact, its melodramatic aspects have the feel of a Hollywood film from an earlier era (although the film itself is set only a decade before the year in which it was shot) with senator's wife Sullavan - who has no sex scenes - exuding vintage Hollywood glamour. The hardcore sex scenes are explicit enough but feel mostly tangential to the cluttered story, mainly illustrating the consummation of the relationships between the two main couples and Sadie's sexual exploitation by the Rajah (an additional sequence featuring the Rajah, one of his guards, and a handful of his white slaves feels almost like a tacked on insert to beef up the film's sexual content and extend the running time to seventy-four minutes).
In THE SEDUCTRESS, junkie prostitute Renee (Lee Carroll, AMANDA BY NIGHT) and photographer George (Damon Christian, BEACH BLANKET BANGO) are hired by housewife Cindy (Lisa De Leeuw, CENTERSPREAD GIRLS) to get photographic evidence of her husband Richard's (Richard Reynolds, SORORITY SWEETHEARTS) infidelity so that she can divorce him. When Renee learns that Richard is someone more important than one of their average marks, she turns the tables on both George and Cindy and threatens to publish the photographs unless Cindy takes her place on her next assignment: John McCord (Billy Dee, BARBARA THE BARBARIAN). Afterwards, Cindy confesses the setup to John assuming that his wife is behind it all, but Rose (Kathy Harcourt, CENTERFOLD FEVER) seems genuine not only in her cluelessness but also her affection. This leads John and Rose to realize that someone else has a motive to try to ruin him (and Richard), so they decide to turn the tables on the most likely suspect. Meanwhile, Renee's rogue blackmail job on Cindy makes her a liability for George's operation.
Had it been more fleshed out (and its sex scenes less so), THE SEDUCTRESS' scenario could have made for a sleazy mainstream thriller with a series of twists that lead up to a surprising but equally muddled conclusion. The production value is reasonably good and the cinematography to a high standard and only let down by some grainy night shots made more so by the 16mm format (cinematographer Ken Gibb was prolific as a DP in adult films but had also worked as a cameraman on more mainstream exploitation films like THE WITCH WHO CAME FROM THE SEA and POINT OF TERROR). The performances are generally professional with De Leeuw and Dee coming off most naturally in the scenes that require acting. The sex scenes are also more plentiful and more explicitly covered here than in the disc's co-feature.
SADIE's anamorphic widescreen 1.85:1 transfer comes from a 2K scan of the 35mm internegative and the colors really pop after the grainy stock footage establishing shot of Borneo, and overall the transfer is filmic while being free of the noisier grain from underexposure thanks to the controlled lighting of this studio-bound (however low-budget) film. The Dolby Digital 1.0 mono track has a bit of hiss but that does not detract from the film's dialogue and the rather basic sound mix and scoring (which includes a theme song). THE SEDUCTRESS's anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen transfer – also deriving from a 2K scan – is also quite professionally shot and lit, but it's grainier overall due to its original 16mm lensing (although the negative was the transfer source rather than a 35mm blow-up). The Dolby Digital 1.0 mono track has some hiss but generally sounds cleaner than that of SADIE. Although Bob Chinn provided an interview for Vinegar Syndrome's Walt Davis triple feature, the only extras present on this disc are trailers for both of the films (3:07 and 3:36, respectively). (Eric Cotenas)
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