Felicity Robinson (Canadian born Glory Annen of Norman J. Warren's Alien Prey) spends her days at an all girl's boarding school dreaming of the day she'll be able to branch out on her own and spread her wings a little bit. That opportunity comes faster than she expected when her father surprises her with a summer vacation trip to the exotic locales of Hong Kong.
Jumping at the chance to take in some exotic scenery and cut loose a bit, Felicity decides that her first and foremost priority for the trip shall be to explore her carnal desires in more detail by way of physical encounters with pretty much anyone who is willing to give her what she wants – be they male or female. She soon meets up with a local girl named Me Ling (centerfold model Joni Flynn who some might recognize from Octopussy but who also has the distinguished credit of playing the 'girl from Castle Anthrax' in Monty Python And The Search For The Holy Grail!) and together they take in as much of what the island has to offer as they can. It's all very footloose and fancy free until Felicity meets Miles (Christopher Milne of the Australian horror film, Thirst), an exciting photographer who she not only lusts after but starts to have genuine romantic feelings for. With that monkey wrench thrown into her plans, Felicity basically has to decide if she wants to continue her wanton ways of exploring her wild side or settle into a nice, comfortable groove with Miles and commit to something a little more monogamous. When Miles has to travel and she's left without him for a while, will the mouse play while the cat is away? It wouldn't be much of a movie if she didn't!
While the most obvious point of reference for the film is Just Jaeckin's Emmanuelle (and the countless knock offs and sequels it inspired the world over), there are also shades of Lolita in here as we follow Felicity's exploits wherein she blossoms into womanhood through the permissive world of the seventies. As such, it's very much a product of its time from the costumes to the attitudes of the characters to the cinematography to the score. Writer-Director-Producer John D. Lamond (watch for a cameo from the director as the peeping tom hanging out in the garden) keep things moving along at a good pace and knows enough to make sure a reasonably graphic scene of copulation is thrown into the mix every few minutes to keep us from noticing the fact that while the story is reasonably interesting, there really isn't a whole lot to it.
That being said, Felicity (not to be confused with the late nineties television show of the same name!) is rather clever in a few ways. First and foremost it tries something different by having the lead's father be the one to open the door to the world of promiscuity for his daughter whereas more often than not in films about a teenage girl and her blossoming sexual maturity the father is the one holding her back and preventing her from running around with whatever beau happens to have caught her eye. Felicity is also forced to have to choose, and in a sense mature, when she starts to have feelings for Miles and while it definitely takes her a while to get there, she has learned something about her self and the ways of the world by the time that her adventures come to a close, giving the movie more meat to chew on than simply a plethora of wonderfully shot softcore love scenes.
That being said, in no way does the film skimp on the skin. A popular late night cable TV staple during the eighties, Felicity packs plenty of bumping and grinding into its ninety minutes, primarily of the guy-girl variety but highlighted by a girl-girl scene in the steamy sauna/shower room that is positively guaranteed to tighten your pants. The other scenes also hold up well, light very softly to give things a more passionate look that's common for the skin flicks of the era, hardcore and softcore alike. While the dialogue is a little on the hammy side and the performances nothing to write home about, Glory Annen proves to be sexy and charismatic enough to carry the rest of the cast, he frequent and very welcome nudity only adding to her screen presence.
Aside from a bit of grain and some moderate aliasing present in a few spots, the anamorphic widescreen transfer that Severin Films has provided of Felicity is excellent. Both foreground and background detail levels are nice and strong, blacks stay solid throughout (save for one or two instances where they flicker a bit) and don't break up or pixelate and flesh tones (of which there are many in this film) look lifelike and natural. Culled from the director's personal print, there's really very little to complain about here as the movie does look really, really nice.
The English language Dolby Digital Mono sound mix is the only option available for the film but it does the trick. Dialogue is consistently clean and clear and free of any hiss or distortion while the sound effects and score used throughout the film, which really adds a lot to the movie, are well balanced and don't ever over power the performers.
The main reason to check out the extra features on this release is for the commentary track in which director Lamond is joined by Felicity herself, Glory Annen. A surprisingly jovial and informative talk, the two wax nostalgic about the time they spent on the film with Lamond asking Annen for her take on various aspects of the production in addition to giving his own thoughts on the film. They cover the sets and locations, some casting details, and what it was like working on some of the more risque scenes that the film has become known for over the years.
Rounding out the extra features is a very exploitative trailer that plays up the sex appeal of the film and a still gallery of production stills, many of which feature the lovely Ms. Annen in her birthday suit.
Severin Films does justice to one of the finest examples of the seventies softcore skin flick. Felicity works well thanks to a smart and sexy blend of the carnal and the cerebral and while it's easy to dismiss the movie as nothing more than a late night cable staple, years later it still proves to be a whole lot of fun thanks to some clever direction and a great performance from the gorgeous Glory Annen. Highly recommended!
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.