Secret Key Motion Pictures // 1950 // 200 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Chief Counsel Rob Lineberger (Retired) // July 24th, 2007
Over 3 hours of classic stags on Deluxe Dual Layer DVD!
A typical stag reel runs three minutes. It typically features a housewife performing chores in the nude, or doing a strip tease. Occasionally there will be an attempt at plot, and even more occasionally there will be the suggestion of actual sex. This collection of stag reels runs for over three hours and each is introduced with roughly 30 seconds of dialogue from 42nd Street Pete. If you do the math, you'll quickly come to two conclusions: there is massive variety on this DVD, and there is a lot of 42nd Street Pete.
Pete is a love him or hate him kinda cat. Like Mr. Skin and my college roommate Josh, Pete is famous for having a massive porn collection and understanding its intimate details. Unlike Mr. Skin, 4-2-P has the nads to show himself and talk openly about his love of porn. Like your irascible uncle who walked uphill both ways in the snow and made do with rusty nails instead of video games, 42nd Street Pete has an abrasive, somewhat condescending attitude. It masks an honest desire to impart real history to the ungrateful whippersnappers who don't realize how good they have it. Pete is exactly the guy you want to have as a host for a collection of stag reels because he says what every guy is thinking. The difference is that Pete says these things on record, which immediately blacklists him in the book of anyone with any inkling of political correctness or sensitivity. Pete ingratiates himself with charming phrases like "lung warts" and "Hey that was pretty interesting. I'll bet half the guys watching would love to bust a cap in that bitch, now wouldn't ya?"
Though Pete embraces the culture of exploitation whole hog, he has a real fondness for the otherwise nameless and forgotten women on these shady, mail-order-catalog throwaways. While one side of his mouth is busting caps in bitches, the other side is staunchly upholding the honor of these exploitation queens. His favorite, Uschi Digard, makes an appearance or two, but Pete has appreciative words for all of the women. He also drops tidbits about the cinematography, social context, censorship laws, and such that contributed to the peculiar vibe of these reels.
There's a lot of Pete, but there's a lot of reels too. I'm going to say this as delicately as I can: These reels look like they were dragged down a gravel road behind a pickup truck while drunken rednecks shot at them with nail guns. The quality of these reels was never high, but I absolutely could not tell what was happening in several of them. Vaguely gray shapes move diagonally across vaguely white backgrounds while vaguely black shadows swallow the edges of the screen. The cover shows a few nice looking, and more importantly discernable, women. Technically those frames might exist somewhere on this collection, but I was hard pressed to find a clear image in the lot. This is one case where my video setup is a huge disadvantage. Literally: front projection creates such a huge image that the grainy, scratchy nature of the images is much more difficult to interpret. On a small screen, you might be able to see more perceived detail because the grain would be condensed.
These silent reels are matched with low-key, repetitive electronica that is nice to listen to but eventually grates. The music isn't really an issue: If you don't like it hit the mute button and listen to whatever you want. These are silent reels after all.
Even though the video quality is abysmal, the reels have their charms, particularly the first few and the last one. Among the former is a memorable noir wherein a chiffon-clad blonde hears something in her house, walks around with a big gun, and then falls into bed with a ventriloquist's dummy. This is the reel that prompted the aforementioned "bust a cap" comment, and honestly I can see where 4-2-P is coming from -- it's hot stuff. Pete introduces the last segment as a bonus, but it is really the piece de resistance: an extended, full-color reel called Breast Orgy. In this aptly named über reel, a lucky guy on a large bed is treated to a parade of buxom ladies who literally smother him with their breasts. They dangle them in his mouth, rub them all over his body, cup them and rub them around his face, and basically perform every non-sexual act a breast fetishist could long for. If you didn't come to the Busty Stag Collection collection for this, then I don't know what you came for.
Review content copyright © 2007 Rob Lineberger; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2015 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Secret Key Motion Pictures
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 200 Minutes
Release Year: 1950
MPAA Rating: Unrated