From Holly With Love (1978)

Description:

Review: This appears to be the first of several adult films Roberta Findlay (yes, the same Roberta Findlay of SNUFF and sexploitation fame) shot – as “Robert Norman” – at her Fire Island beach house, the others being A WOMAN’S TORMENT, MYSTIQUE and, the best of the lot, THE TIFFANY MINX. It’s actually a bit of an oddity in that the first half is as well plotted and acted as your average Golden Age flick, with Findlay’s interest seemingly flagging for the remainder.

New girl on the pavement Holly (credits say “Joanna Miquel” but it’s partly Native American beauty Beth Anna, star of DIRTY LILLY and SWEET SAVAGE) entertains her “first client” (director Carter Stevens) with woeful tales of how a sweet, innocent 19-year old like herself landed on the streets. One year prior, she was still a virgin living with her older sister Trish (Crystal Sync, a good actress almost defeated by her ridiculous black afro wig) and her solicitor husband Lew (’70s porn mainstay Robert Bolla). On their annual vacation at the beach, pent-up frustrations and tensions are about to erupt, changing the lives of all involved dramatically. While Trish and Lew share an unsatisfying sex life due to her guilt-tinged inability to have intercourse with anyone she is also emotionally involved with (springing from, of course, a trauma caused by her being deflowered at the hands of callous ladies man Jeff Hurst, shown in flashback), young Holly’s just bursting with teenage sensuality struggling to find an outlet.

A pair of beach bums, nice guy Tony “The Hook” Perez (a Mexican guy who challenged the late John Holmes in the size sweepstakes) and his bastard buddy Michael Gaunt (one of porndom’s finest character actors who finally got a rare starring role in Roger Watkins’ American BABYLON), are only to eager to provide, with their regular boy toy (cute redhead “Patty Sebring” a/k/a Patty Boyd, the innocent hippie girl from Armand Weston’s TAKE OFF) tagging along. As Holly’s not in too much of a rush to part with her maidenhead, this causes a rift between these fast friends. Perez tries to make up by sneaking into the girl’s bedroom and making safe, non-penetrative love to her while big sis is having a fling down the hall with the local bartender (the industrious Turk Lyon, a more diminutive Blair Harris type) as Lew has gone into town on business with recently widowed and love-starved Eileen, played by the inimitable Marlene Willoughby (DOMINATRIX WITHOUT MERCY) at her slinkiest. You got all that ? Lew’s drunken return fuels the catharsis, resulting in Holly’s rape and her subsequent choice of loveless sex over true love. A fairly lame “twist ending” suggests that the girl may have made it all up just to extract some extra cash from her john.

Reading back my little synopsis, I realize I’ve made it look rather better (or more coherent, at any rate) on paper than it plays out on the screen. Part of the film’s semi-failure is definitely attributable to a cast sharply divided between those who can act like Sync, Bolla, Gaunt and Willoughby and the rest who cannot. Beth Anna was frequently called upon for her exotic looks and sexual versatility and occasionally showed a glimmer of thespian prowess in less demanding roles (like the dyed in the wool porn actress she played in Gerard Damiano’s SKIN FLICKS) but is clearly unable to carry a film.

Findlay’s haphazard helming should by no means go free though. By the halfway point, she’s obviously going through the motions with scenes looking like their main concern was to get everything in frame and in focus with little regard for dramatic continuity or attempted artistry, examples of which do pop up in the film’s early stages. As far as the sex goes, it’s an equally mixed bag. The Willoughby/Bolla number might’ve been the show’s hottest if it hadn’t been ruined by schizo editing, probably leaving top spot to the two sisters’ night-time rendezvous in separate bedrooms.

For the record, there are two original songs : the not too bad title number playing over the brief credits and initial encounter between Holly and her customer and a truly hilarious syrupy love ballad that gets to torment the eardrums twice before the final fade-out. Bad music lovers will have a field day, even if adult film fans might find their appetites slightly unfulfilled.

Starring: Beth Anna,Tony Perez,Patty Boyd,Michael Gaunt,Jeffrey Hurst,Robert Kerman,Carter Stevens, Crystal Sync,Marlene Willoughby

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