Saturday, April 10, 2021

Harry Reems, Part IX: Addendum II (1972)

Way back in March 2013, when the studly and hirsute Golden Age porn star
Harry Reems (27 Aug 1947 – 19 Mar 2013) died, we began our long, fat look at his tool career and films: a full 7 lengthy blog entries! (Links to each are found bellow.) And while length is almost as much fun as girth, by the time we got to Part VII (1986-2013) we were really ready to roll over and go to sleep. Which is why we never got around to finishing the already-started Part VIII: Addendum Parts I – 4, which looked at the films that we somehow missed or skipped in our extended and meaty Parts I through VII. And then we went and lost the stick we had our Harry Reems file on (a lesson in backing documents up, that was).
 
But recently, while trying to distract ourselves from the Covid-related death of our paternal parent, we cleaned house in corners we have never cleaned before — and low and behold! The stick was found, probably where the cat kicked it.
And so, seven years later to the month, Addendum Part I, much like delayed ejaculation: better late than never. And now, a month later, here is Addendum Part II.
Not that we actually plan to finish the Addendum(s): we merely want to finally put online what we had already finished back then, mildly updated. (Way back when, we lost interest in the undertaking as of the films around 1985.) 
We dedicate the rediscovered Addendum(s) to our departed paternal parent, who inadvertently introduced us to Harry Reems when we, as a late teen, stumbled upon his VHS copy of Deep Throat (1972, see Harry Reems Part II) hidden in the VHS box for Key Largo (1948 / trailer).*  
* He also had The Resurrection of Eve (1973 / Purple Skies and Butterflies) hidden in his To Have and Have Not (1944 / trailer) box, but the 1973 film wasn't funny enough to keep us watching until the end. 
From the soundtrack of Deep Throat
Love Is Strange:

 
Go here for Part I  
Go here for Part II (1969–72) 
Go here for Part III (1973–74) 
Go here for Part IV (1975–79) 
Go here for Part V (1980–84) 
Go here for Part VI (1985) 
Go here for Part VII (1986–2013) 
 
 
 
Pornography in New York  
(1972, dir. Beau Buchanan)
Another "documentary" from the day and age when documentaries were a good way to beat the obscenity laws, Pornography in New York can now be easily found on the myriad of porn tube sites found all over the web.
Though uncredited, the "director" is Beau Buchanan (22 Nov 1937 – 12 Jan 2020), a man who started his film career as an un-credited student in Blackboard Jungle (1955 / trailer). In his interview at The Rialto Report, Buchanan claims that when he started this documentary, it was meant to be about the porn producer Leonard Kirtman and was entitled The Snake in the Big Apple, but eventually he ended up being fired by Kirtman who then used the existing material himself to make Pornography in New York. Buchanan's porn masterpiece, in any event, is the legendary production Captain Lust (1976) — give a listen to The Rialto Report's great podcast about that movie.
According to the iafd, Harry Reems is in the documentary somewhere — an assertion not supported by most other film sites... But: if the list of trailers included in this film supplied at the imdb is right, then he is there due to I Wish I Were in Dixie (1969), which we looked at in Harry Reems Part II.
Other non-Reems trailers and/or inserts used come from Sweet Taste of Joy (1970 / poster above), 101 Acts of Love (1971 / full NSFW film), Carlos Tobalina's I Am Curious Tahiti (1970 / poster below) and the West Coast "documentary" Pornography in Hollywood (1972), the last of which we took a look at in Babes of Yesteryear – Uschi Digard, Part VI: 1972.
 
At Uschi Part VI, BTW, we mention that "Leonard Kirtman, in any event, had a long and productive career as a pornographer, with a few odd horror movies tossed in as well, but he seems to have disappeared soon after video took over. (But then again, maybe he just changed careers. Look his name up at Contact Out.)
At rame.net, they write: "Even though Gerard Damiano has nothing to do with this documentary film, this can be viewed as a follow-up to his documentary film named This Film Is All About... [a.k.a. Changes, looked at further above] because a couple of the NYC places and people featured in his film are also featured here. First is the unknown redhead, who (as far as I know) also appeared in Sex USA (1971, see Part II), A Time to Love (1971, see Part II), and a loop named The Pick-Up which is featured in TFIAA. Second is Nancy* who I will get to below. [...] This documentary is nowhere near as good as TFIAA, but it is still worth watching. The film is in Black & White, but it is well shot and has excellent sound. [...] Nancy* gets a guy erect by stroking him with her hand. Then she makes a cast of his dick with plaster (she was a real sculptress) and she shows off some of the dildo's she has made from other guys. [...] The film ends with the reporter saying: "8mm, 16mm, 35mm, live action, black & white, color, stereo, you can get it all in Times Square." As you know, this is not the way Times Square is now. That's Nancy at work below.
* Nancy [Godfrey], now a lost and forgotten name of the past, never parleyed her artistic intentions and work as far as another woman of her day did, namely: Cynthia "Plaster Caster" Albritton [see her website]. Take a look at the entry on Changes in Addendum I for more info on Nancy.
Trailer to the documentary
Plaster Caster (2001):
 
The free porn site erogarga might add: Pornography in New York "belongs to the genre of pseudo-documentaries, which justifies or allows an essentially pornographic movie to be shown. The sex scenes are not, by present standards, hardcore, although they are not soft core either. Film begins with the supposed DA of Nassau County talking about pornography and the law with emphasis on his duties in relation to obscenity. This is cover for what follows: a survey of various sexual practices, straight and gay, in the early '70's in New York. [...] The movie [is] 'hilarious' due to the serious way it presents raunchy material."
During our online search for material on Pornography in New York, we came upon two advertisements for the film, one presented above and one below. At the 9G Drive-In in Hyde Park, NY, the documentary was paired with Joseph W. Sarno's somewhat older sexploitation drama, The Swap and How They Make It (1965 / full movie). In Andy Warhol's place of birth, Pittsburgh, it was screened at the Art Cinema (now Harris) with Michael and Roberta Findlay's Take My Head (1970), which we looked at in our Babe of Yesteryear feature on Uschi Digard (Part III: 1970, Part II)
 
  
Rosebud
(1972, writ. & dir. Roberta Findlay)
Hard softcore sexploiter, typically violent and perverse in that special way common of Findlay films: Rosebud is yet another obscurity from the legendary and reclusive Roberta Findlay who, among many films, also directed the so-bad-it's-fun horror movie The Oracle (1975 / trailer below). 
Trailer to Findlay's
The Oracle:

As for Harry Reems, is he in this forgotten movie, or is he not? Once again the French site encyclocine.com stands more or less alone by claiming that Reems is there (credited as Stan Freemont) — and while virtually no other site claims that ,the good old imdb mildly clarifies the matter by listing Harry Reems (as Stan Freemont) as "credited only". Interesting to note: Harry Reems, credited as "Stan Freemont", does actually appear in Findlay's previous project, the first feature film that she made after splitting with her husband Michael Findlay (27 Aug 1937 – 16 May 1977),* Altar of Lust (1971, see Part II). Fact is: Harry Reems ain't in it, but let's look at Rosebud anyways. 
* Roberta Findlay: "I moved in with Mike, and we got married. I was in love with him — for about 2 weeks. Somehow I stayed with him another 10 years. [Rialto Report]"
As in most Findlay films, the good filmmaker did everything but star in it: as Jason S. Martinko points out in The XXX Filmography, 1968-1988, aside from her credited activities as writer, producer, director and cinematographer, "She also wrote the original music (as Robin Aden) and worked in the lighting department (as Robert Marx). Film editing was done by Charles Schwartz." (Odd thing about Mr. Schwartz is that his only other known film credit is for Altar of Lust [1971], which sort of indicates it too is a pseudonym there, too.) Rosebud is currently easily found on DVD as part of a triple feature of Findlay films — the other two being Altar of Lust and Janie (1970, 4:35 mins., poster below), all of which feature a notable fascination (obsession?) with incest.
For a long time, the only plot description online was the one on a DVD's back cover: "Rosebud (Darby Lloyd Rains) becomes a drifter after finding daddy in bed with his mistress, has incestuous fantasies about daddy, resulting in rape." 
Just this very year (on 23 Jan 2021), however, Video Zeta One put a full blow-by-blow description along with great photos, not one of which shows Harry Reems anywhere. It reads (without the photos) in parts: "[...] Jamie Gillis (20 Apr 1943 – 19 Feb 2010) plays Don, Rosebud's boyfriend — before she killed herself. Don listens to her last words, recorded on the reel-to-reel. The downward spiral really began when she caught her father (Richard Towers [20 May 1927 – 27 Feb 2016]) with a woman named Marie (Arlana Blue). Rosebud admits on the tape that she has incestuous feelings toward her father. [...] Rosebud is traumatized and runs away from home. […] Rosebud goes to live at a hippie commune. [...] The character of Rosebud is depressed and miserable for the entire film. [...] Rosebud moves out of the commune and gets a cat. There's a knock at the door... Terry has arrived and she's brought her friend (Tamie Trevor). [...] Terry and her friend try to convince Rosebud to come back to the commune. Back at her father's place, Kate (Helen Wood a.k.a. Dolly Sharp) is visiting. Kate and dad have a roll in the hay. Rosebud arrives just in time to see the action. Rosebud can't help herself; she masturbates while she watches. [...] Rosebud is out of the frying pan and into the fire. She's pursued by a rapist (Alex Mann [24 July 1941 – 6 July 2010]). [...] Rosebud faints, and the rapist undresses her while she's passed out. [...] She wakes up and finds she's been raped. She decides at that point to commit suicide. [...]."
 
 
Room Service 75
(1972, writ. & dir. Fred Baker)
Fred Baker (26 July 1932 — 5 June 2011) was a Renaissance Man active in music, stage, film and writing; he did uncredited production work on the critically acclaimed documentaries The Battle of Algiers (1966 / trailer) and The Murder of Fred Hampton (1971 / trailer), directed the documentary Lenny Bruce Without Tears (1972) and the seldom-screened time capsules Events (1970 / trailer further below) and White Trash (1992), and had bit parts in Lizzie Bordon's Working Girls (1986 / trailer) and Romero's Dawn of the Dead (1978 / trailer). His company, Fred Baker Film & Video Company (nee Fred Baker Films, Ltd.), distributed films such as David Lynch's Eraserhead (1977 / trailer), Alfred Sole's Tanya's Island (1980 / trailer from hell) — and this movie here, Room Service 75, which was screened at The First Annual New York Erotic Film Festival, an event about which Jonas Mikas (24 Dec 1922 – 23 Jan 2019) once wrote: "I am a perfect victim for any capitalist swindler. Which this festival probably is, a big capitalist swindle."
At the First Annual New York Erotic Film Festival, Room Service 75 was amongst the films seized when the festival was raided by the boys in blue, alongside celluloid like Al Di Lauro's Old Borrowed and Stag (1971, poster below), Arch Brown's now lost Tuesday (1971) and John Knoop's short Norien Ten (1971). (Tuesday is so lost, that it doesn't even appear on most current Brown filmographies.) Charges were dropped for all but one film: "The exception was Arch Brown's Tuesday, which was the only gay male film at the festival. Although many of the films had hardcore sexual content, the homosexual orientation of Brown's film was perhaps the sticking point for the judge, who, according to Screw, claimed that 'it was the worst film I've ever seen.' [Sex Scene: Media & the Sexual Revolution, ed. Eric Schaefer]" (Interestingly enough, the judge was obviously not bothered by the hardcore two girls and a dog scene found in Room Service 75.)
Prior to his death, Baker also began the extremely readable blog Slink, a "non-fictional novel" based on his life that will, of course, now never be finished. 
Trailer Fred Baker's experimental film
Events (1970):
An intriguing cascade of facts: The narrative of Baker's film prior to Room Service 75, Events, tells of "a wannabe directing team turning to porn as a means of financing a documentary about Lenny Bruce"; and Baker's first film(s) after Events was a documentary on the stand-up comedian entitled Lenny Bruce: Without Tears (1972) and this one. 
We could find very little info on Room Service 75 online, though we did find the "explicit hardcore porn documentary" itself online here at daftsex. Aside from the known participation of Harry Reems ("Herb Streicher") and Arlana Blue, the film also features Kristen Steen, Myron "Butch" Oglesby and Peggy Windsor. Another credit of note: "Toys and Drawing by Tom Ungerer" (28 Nov 1931 – 9 Feb 2019)... less known is the inclusion of a lot of vintage pornography (as in B&W and from before you're mother was born), including two girls and a dog.  
Ungerer's drawing above is from one of the two known posters used for the film; and as seen by the page below from the 8 Sept 1972 issue of the York Daily Record from York, Pennsylvania, the film was also screened at least at one location outside of NYC, the now-gone Southern Theatre and present-day Asamblea de Iglesias Cristianas Puerta de Salvcion.
In Whitney Strub's book Perversion for Profit: The Politics of Pornography and the Rise of the New Right, she mentions that Lucille Iverson, a reporter of Women & Film and "no fan of films in which 'women are degraded, submissive, adoring of the large erect penis'" saw Room Service 75 and found that the movie "showed lesbians captivated by 'the myth of supposedly greater satisfaction achieved via the big male cock,' but [that] the film had redeeming qualities in other scenes, where 'the women are treated equally with the men" and "the clitoris is important and so is fondling and kissing'." Doesn't really seem to correspond to what we saw online, but if anyone has any further information about the movie, feel free to share... 
A year after Room Service 75, in 1973, Baker (as "Vance Farlowe") wrote and directed a narrative porn film, Different Strokes a.k.a. Spikey's Magic Wand and Over Exposure. At the time we took  a look at that movie in Harry Reems, Part III (1973-74), it was not general knowledge that "Vance Farlowe" is supposedly Baker — which is why we offered our own conjecture regarding who really wrote/made that movie...

Below is Fred Baker 1962 short On the Sound which, according to Mi Shorts, "was his first film and it won the coveted USA Golden Eagle the following year, representing the US at international festivals in Berlin, London and Edinburgh. The original score is by legendary saxman and composer, Gigi Gryce." 
Fred Baker's short film
On the Sound (1962):
 
 
A Place Called Today
(1972, writ. & dir. Don Schain)
A.k.a. City in Fear. X-rated not as in X-rated porn, but as in X-rated adult themes ala Midnight Cowboy (1969 / trailer), A Clockwork Orange (1971 / trailer) or Last Tango in Paris (1973). Today, such films would be R-rated or, at worst, NC-17, like Henry & June (1990 / trailer) or A Dirty Shame (2004 / trailer). 
"Don Schain (26 Feb 1941 – 26 Dec 2015) and his partner Ralph T. Desiderio conceived the idea for the notoriously trashy 'Ginger' exploitation picture trilogy in 1970. Schain wrote and directed all three of these immensely popular cult films: Ginger (1971 / scene), The Abductors (1972, see Part II) and Girls Are for Loving (1973 / scene). The 'Ginger' flicks starred brassy blonde Cheri Caffaro as a sexy yet tough female James Bond-style crimefighter who used harsh and aggressive methods to nail the villains. Don subsequently directed Caffaro in ... equally sleazy drive-in items... [imdb]" Like this "message" film, A Place Called Today.
Harry Reems, who also showed up in The Abductors (credited as "Herb Stryker") to play a cop, pops up as an un-credited extra in this flick as a construction worker in a crowd scene: that's him above, to the far right below.
Over All Movie, Hal Erickson says, "City in Fear was an attempt at socio-political commentary by soft-core porno star Cheri Caffaro and her director/husband Don Schain. The film takes place during a heated political campaign, wherein the 'race card' is played up for all it's worth. The bigoted whites attack the blacks, the militant blacks attack the whites, and gallons of blood are spilled. […] Originally released as A Place Called Today, this is no more or less than an ultraviolent sexploitationer masquerading as a 'statement.'"

Down Among the "Z"Movies, who unlike us is not a Caffaro fan, says: "Cheri Caffaro has had a cult following, though I've never understood it. Her 'Ginger' films are like all other hardboiled woman action sleaze, except that Caffaro would get naked — actually, she'd always get raped, which, given that the director (Don Schain) was her husband, is creepy. She gets raped again in this film, again directed by her husband, and then killed, as she isn't the star of the film for once. Neither is Lana Wood, who has a bigger role [...]. The 'star' of the film is social and political commentary, of which the film is replete. The film consists largely of static shots of people very angrily shouting about racial conflicts, usually straight into the camera. [...]" 
Scene from
A Place Called Today:
The basics of the plot, as explained at Johnny LaRue's Crane Shot: "J. Herbert Kerr Jr., who did little of note on film, is earnest enough as Randy Johnson […], a black man with a plan to run for mayor by inciting violence behind the scenes and more or less scaring the Caucasian Establishment sheep into voting for him. Helping him are white revolutionary Carolyn (a miscast Lana Wood [...]) and black Steve Smith (former footballer Timothy Brown). On the other side of the election are Ron Carton (Richard Smedley), Carolyn's lover who believes in the Establishment and is also making time with wealthy debutante Cindy Cartwright (Caffaro), a goodtime party girl who backs the current mayor (Peter Carew) basically because her daddy tells her too. [...] As for lovers working together, Wood met Smedley on this film and married him. In her autobiography, she claimed A Place Called Today was his first film, but he had in fact acted in several soft- and hardcore sex films prior to it and continued to do so after their wedding. He's a dreadful actor, and Schain's self-important dialogue really leaves him hanging. Wood trashed this movie in her book, though she claimed it was ruined in the editing. I don't think it was edited enough." 
Speaking of Richard Smedley, that's him above with his future wife, the pneumatically talented Lana Wood. Prior to this movie, as "Dickie O'Toole" — synergy: one of Lana Wood's most famous roles is probably that of "Plenty O'Toole" in Diamonds Are Forever (1971 / trailer) — Smedley worked with the Great Uschi in Affair in the Air (1970 — see: Uschi Part II) and, as 'Bigi Dicki', in Skin Flick Madness (1971 — see Uschi Part V). Later, in 1974, he also worked with Marilyn Joi in Al Adamson's The Naughty Stewardesses (1974 — see: Marilyn Joi Part II). While his marriage to Lana Wood was over by 1976, his exploitation film career was pretty much dead by 1974, when he had his last "feature film" role in the swan song [sex] movie of forgotten Western and TV director Oliver Drake (28 May 1903 – 19 Aug 1991), Angelica: The Young Vixen a.k.a Wild and Sexy (German poster below). In 1979, the Texan-born Smedley (Snyder, TX), who worked in the oil fields prior to college, moved to Midland, TX, with "the love of his life, Johni" and "re-entered the oil business". Born 3 Oct 1946, Richard Paul Smedley died at the age of 73 on Sunday, 8 Dec 2019, in Midland, TX, after a four-year fight with cancer.
But to return to the movie. "Since it was filmed at a time when plugged-in directors were engaging the Black Power movement head-on, the plot of A Place Called Today is weirdly old-fashioned, like a racially tinged riff on some old Edward G. Robinson potboiler. Furthermore, the filmmakers' attempts to integrate elements of jet-set debauchery and youthful rebellion fall flat. Caffaro plays the horny daughter of a corrupt businessman, Lana Wood plays an earnest activist, and both of them sleep with a white reporter (Richard Smedley) determined to uncover the black politician's scheme. So what the hell is A Place Called Today trying to say? That everyone is misguided? That conscientious white people need to save African-Americans from themselves? That sex makes everyone insane? Compounding the muddiness of its rhetoric, A Place Called Today suffers from leaden pacing, wildly inconsistent acting, and a vile portrayal of women. [...] In sum, if you're looking for an inept movie that contains both gratuitous nudie shots and lengthy debates about the pros and cons of capitalism, then A Place Called Today was made for you. [Every 70s Movie]" 
8 Minutes of the Movie:

For all scorn and derision A Place Called Today gets, there are a few, lone voices to the contrary out there, like Obscure Video & DVD, which raves: "A very well-made film about a young black lawyer running for Mayor in a large city and all the racial tension he creates to win the race. The film may be timely today as all American elections are run on dishonesty and crime, this film really packs a wallop. [...] Gorgeous Cheri Caffaro is the daughter of a high and mighty political backer who really flaunts her body and actually gives the best political speech I have ever heard!! J. Herbert Kerr Jr. gives a great performance as the young black lawyer on the rise and who soon regrets what he has done, especially when he orders Caffaro raped and killed to make a point about violence. If you get a chance, see this film, you won't forget it." 
Of the cinemas given in the adverts above — Fine Arts and DeMille of NYC, and Loew's Mid-City of St Louis — none still exist today.
 
 
Her Way to Star
(1972, dir. Still Unknown)
For a short time, Vinegar Syndrome tried to establish its own streaming service, Exploitation.tv, specializing "in all things sleaze, trash, drive-in, and genre film from the '70s and '80s". It failed — now Amazon does the streaming for them. But while Exploitation was around, it practiced Vinegar Syndrome's aim of uncovering and presenting lost and forgotten obscurities. Including this unknown porno flick from the early days, once lost and forgotten and now found everywhere on the web (like here at tubepornclassics).
Virtually all names involved remain unknown, but the lead man-meats are those of Harrry Reems and the omnipresent Jamie Gillis. Of the multitude of rent-paying women, the only identified name is that of "Bertha Jones", an attractive brunette whose limited known film career consists of this film and Carter Stevens's Collegiates (1973), also with Reems (see Part III).
The X-rated fuck-film comedy has gained little to no attention in general, although some guy named Michal Pekár, who likes to make music videos to cool songs using obscure film material, did use Her Way to Star in 2018 as material to his music video to Beck's 1996 song Hotwax. 
Beck's Hotwax set to
Her Way to Star:

The only person so far who has seen the film and thought to write about it is Davian_X, who on 12 March 2016 wrote a lot more at the imdb than what we present here: "Her Way to Star is the kind of half- interesting storefront junker that gestures toward the pleasures of the genre without coming off as particularly distinguished. The nominal plot centers around one woman's (Bertha Jones) attempts to make a splash in the X-rated film industry. […] "I'll do anything! On top, on bottom, girls, boys, animals, anything!" […] Part zany parody and part desultory sex flick, Her Way to Star offers a good example of the sort of madcap clowning that was often a product of fly-by-night early X-rated productions. Actors without a clearly defined character archetype (zany director, sleazy producer, etc.) often seem to be playing themselves, and frequently either struggle not to break character or begin wryly commenting on the action in a scene they're participating in. […] The film is charmingly self-deprecating, and these interludes provide a fun and zany perspective on the world of sex films circa 1971/72. […] That said, while engaging fairly playfully with the one- or two-day-wonder production model, Her Way to Star inevitably falls victim to it as well. The sex scenes, while decently performed by a game and generally attractive cast, are nevertheless not much to write home about […] and frequently slow the film down between its more engaging plot-based scenes. While the film makes an admirable attempt at combining the two from time to time, as well as at providing a winking nod toward the slap-dash milieu from which it sprang, it's ultimately not quite enough to fully rescue the proceedings, making this worth a watch but hardly a candidate for repeat viewing."
BTW: The World Theatre used to present the film's title at the beginning is the same World Theatre we looked at briefly above in The Corporate Queen (1969). Taken over by Embassy Theatres in the early 80s, it was razed in 1987.

Addendum III to come one day...

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