Al Goldstein, the enigmatic publisher of Screw Magazine, had his own public access television show that was broadcast in New York City a few decades back. What set Goldstein's show apart from the pack was the fact that it was pretty much entirely dedicated to covering pornography – be it in magazine or movie form.
Rarely seen outside of New York City since it's original broadcast, Midnight Blue has become somewhat of a holy grain among smut aficionados and the good folk over at Blue Underground have finally seen fit to start releasing the series in themed compilation format DVDs. The first disc in the series, Midnight Blue: The Deep Throat Special Edition focused on the film that made Linda Lovelace a household name, but this second volume, Porn Stars Of The Seventies branches out a little bit and covers the bigger names in vintage adult movie history who weren't necessarily associated with the most recognizable porno movie of all time. Here's who gets in front of the camera with Goldstein and company, and what transpires…
Marilyn Chambers/Marilyn On Marilyn: The star of such XXX classics as Insatiable and Behind The Green Door is the first to be interviewed on this release. Looking about as sexy as one can get, the former Ivory Snow cover girl talks about her make up line and her Vegas Show. Marilyn tells us about her fantasies, how she digs the idea of S&M and being blindfolded in the bedroom, and also covers her work with the infamous Dark Brothers of the San Francisco hardcore scene. The interviewer spends a lot of his time ogling Marilyn (can't blame him, really) and telling her how sexy she is, periodically quizzing her on her real life sex life. Marilyn is frank, honest, and sexy throughout and this is a pretty interesting interview for anyone who was or ever has been a fan of her body of work, or just of her body period.
Jungle Fever: A dance routine between a black man and a white woman, both completely nude, against a simple white backdrop and set to some funky disco music. There's no dialogue, nor really is there much of a point to it, but it's mildly amusing to see it just because it's odd that it even exists in the first place, especially when it goes into reverse negative.
Georgina Spelvin: Goldstein interviews the original Miss Jones who talks about her work and her life. We also see clips of her on stage in front of an audience tap dancing, her supposed retirement from adult films, and how she actually acts in her movies. Spelvin is also upfront and honest about her career choices, showing no regret (nor should she) and no fear in regards to talking about what and who she's done on camera for money, even going into detail about how black cum just might taste different than white cum. We see some clips of the lovely Ms. Spelvin adorning herself with stockings on stage, and writhing about with a snake in much the same way she did in Gerard Damiano's The Devil In Miss Jones. Seeing the footage of her live performance is pretty great, and to the best of this reviewer's knowledge, it's never appeared on home video anywhere else before this DVD.
Jennifer Welles: Welles is given a brief introduction and we see a clip from one of her films before Goldstein sits down to talk to her about her life in movies. She covers some of the director's that she's worked with, how life is on a porn set and how it compares to other movie sets, and how age effects the business. Welles isn't quite as upfront about everything as Chambers and Spelvin but it's still very cool to see an interview with her during the hey day of her career.
Annie Sprinkle: Annie shows up to give us instructions on how to masturbate using a Water Pic. She goes into no small amount of detail about how it works and the effects that come from using it properly, and how to avoid getting shocked while doing it. She also explains how to use a toothbrush down there, or a hairbrush, in conjunction with your hands for maximum effect.
Marilyn Chambers - Centerfold: Starting off as simply a montage of clips of Ms. Chambers enjoying a bath, shot in black and white, we soon see her posing for the camera in a more formal manner. There's no dialogue here, it's all just set to music, but hey, it's footage of Marilyn Chambers writhing around naked, so what's not to love? From here it switches to color footage where we watch her do a nude disco dance in a swanky seventies apartment.
Honeymoon Haven: This clip from 1978 shows some interesting footage from the set of Honeymoon Haven, directed by Carter Stevens, which at the time was being shot in New York City. Stevens is interviewed, talks about how the budget was under fifty grand, and from there we get to some cool behind the scenes footage. Not of the best quality, it's still great to see this material considering how little behind the scenes footage exists from the adult industry of the era.
Jamie Gillis: Stevens' interview segues into an interview with the filthiest actor to ever grace the adult industry, the star of Waterpower, The Opening Of Misty Beethoven and other classics, and my own personal perverted hero, Jamie Gillis. Jamie talks about his methods, how he tries to act no matter what the script calls for, and some of the tricks of the trade. We get a few clips from some of the movies in which he has appeared, and how he was originally ashamed of working in porno. Gillis is completely serious in the interview, and he makes for a pretty interesting subject. The man has been around forever and it's great to be able to see a clip of him from his most active and most recognizable period.
Disgruntled Porn Stars/ Bad Times In The Business: This is a look at porn stars who left the business and why. Why did they leave? For the most part, money. Marc Stevens is interviewed in his apartment, talking about how certain actresses would only work with specific male performers, and how a lot of the movies were being made part time on weekends. A few clips spice things up, another performer or two shows up to bitch about the industry, and the general vibe in this segment is odd and kind of self contradictory in that they talk nostalgically about their work but then piss all over the industry and the way that it developed.
Bambi Woods/Bambi Does The Melody: The star of Debbie Does Dallas, who has since more or less disappeared off the face of the planet, is interviewed after a strip club appearance on camera. She talks about making her most famous film, some of the controversy that surrounded it, and more. She appears here with short brown hair, looking quite different than she does in her most recognizable role, and she details how she originally got into porno because she owed someone money and needed a quick and easy way to pay off her debt (which she never did pay off). She talks about her comfort level while making the movie, her personal sex life, and how she transitioned some of her personal experience to her movie roles. We also get to see some very cool footage of Ms. Woods dancing on stage at one of her personal strip club appearances. I wonder what ever happened to her…?
Veri Knotty/A Veri Shocking Act: A stripper named Veri Knotty shows up, we see her dance on stage, and then an interview with her reveals how she's able to stretch her lips (not the ones on her face) way out and tie them into a knot, hence her stage name. A clip from the movie Capt. Lust demonstrates this unique ability with nothing left to the imagination (I've got to admit, it's pretty cool in a freakishly disturbing kind of way). She tells the camera how originally when her lips hit the stage at a performance they were once mistaken for hemorrhoids, and how she used her natural ability to pick up tips from patrons. This segment closes with some footage from her stage act in which she proves that her interview was not all talk.
Tara's Challenge: Tara Alexander appears to promote her attempt to go for the world record of banging at least seventy-five guys in one night. This spot invites the television audience to show up at Plato's in NYC to participate by writing the show. While the narrator explains the premise, Tara fingers herself and plays with her boobs on camera. She explains her training techniques all while she lets her fingers do the walking, showing no shame in front of the camera at all.
Seka/Seka On John Holmes/Seka Hits The Stage: Some footage of Seka on stage starts of her segment, which leads into an interview backstage at the Melody Burlesque where Goldstein interviews the blond goddess. Seka talks about the differences between stripping and having sex on camera, what she prefers and why, and how she got into the business in the first place. She talks about her time in NYC, where she went, what she did, and why, and how she ended up in New York in the first place after growing up in Virginia before she got into the porno industry. Seka talks about her work with John Holmes, how John liked her and treated her well and how he was decent to work with but that if he was having a bad day it was rough on everyone. She discusses her relationship with the man in her life and how her career has been a bit of an obstacle, but also how she was able to overcome that. She covers swinging, the adult film industry, how they can both help couples and how married couple should get into it without guilt or regret. The segment ends with some great footage of Seka on stage, posing for the camera in front of some signs promoting her strip club appearances, and then more on stage footage.
Blue Underground has also included all of the advertisements that were shown during the original airings of this material. While the phone numbers are bleeped out, it's still very cool to see television ads promoting notable porno movies, infamous NYC clubs such as Spartacus, and as well as various swingers, sex clubs, adult novelties, and more. You'll even see a commercial where you could order home video releases of Midnight Blue for only $69.95!The DVD
Taken from the original ¾ inch master tapes, Blue Underground has done a decent job of trying to clean up this material but precedes the episodes with the warning that 'you can't shine shit.' All things considered, this material looks okay. It was shot on video and so it's very soft looking and a lot of the fine detail is lost forever in the murkiness of the tape but the colors come through alright and the image is at least stable enough that you won't have any problems watching the material. There's a bit of flicker here and there and some images are a little more washed out than others but the episodes are at least watchable and the fact that this material has made it to DVD at all in the first place is a miracle in and of itself.Sound:
The audio is on par with the video quality. Again, this material is taken from old ¾ inch tapes and as such, the limitations that existed are made all the more obvious by the DVD format, but if you turn the volume up a bit and ignore some of the background hiss you won't have any difficulty understanding the interviews of the strange commercials peppered throughout the content. There are no subtitle options or closed captions provided and everything is in the original English language as it was presented in the first place.Extras:
The only extra feature on this release is a Trivia Track which, when enabled, will pop up on the screen with 'extra facts and info' about whatever happens to be being discussed at the time. It works sort of like the Pop Up Video show that used to air on VH1 a few years back. Sometimes it's a witty joke, other times an interesting tidbit of trivia, and other times some information such as what the original airdate was for the clip you're watching. Wanna know Marilyn Chambers' birthday so you can celebrate it each year by watching Behind The Green Door? Wanna know what became the Hyatt in NYC? Who the first 'mature porn star' was to gain a following? Where Carter Stevens lives and works these days? What Holocaust survivor interviewed Bambi Woods? All this and more is revealed to you through the wonders of the pop up trivia track on this DVD.
Other than that, there's a coupon contained inside the clear plastic keepcase that allows Midnight Blue fans the chance to purchase a one year membership to Screw Magazine's website for the discounted rate of $3.95 for a year.
On a somewhat related note, thumbs up to Blue Underground for using the ever cool artwork of Danny Hellman on the cover for this release. It does a nice job of capturing the manic feel of the material contained inside the packaging!Final Thoughts:
There's no disputing the fact that fans of vintage adult cinema need this release. The rarity of some of this footage and the fact that many of the performers here haven't really appeared on camera talking about their work makes this an invaluable asset to anyone even remotely interested in the golden age of adult cinema. Blue Underground's presentation makes the best out of the rough source material but presents the series uncut aside from the phone numbers and Midnight Blue Volume 2. – Porn Stars Of The Seventies comes highly recommended to the niche market to which it is being presented to.