Private Screening Collection // 1985 // 93 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Chief Counsel Rob Lineberger (Retired) // December 22nd, 2006
An international odyssey of sexual immorality!
The Private Screening Collection has previously presented us with Lady Libertine and Black Venus. Both were "late nite" softcore films that ran on cable, which was the '80s answer to Internet porn. Both were period costume dramas produced by Harry Alan Towers. And both were pretty good.
Like its predecessors, Love Circles is a 1980s era, late night cable skin flick produced by Towers. Unlike Lady Libertine and Black Venus, Love Circles is not a period "drama." No, Love Circles is set in modern day 1985. Perhaps the veil of the period costumes is required to suspend disbelief, or perhaps Love Circles is simply subpar, but in any case it fails to meet the lofty expectations of its late nite cable cohorts. (If you've seen any of those cohorts, you'll recognize that I have just deeply insulted Love Circles.)
Don't get me wrong, Josephine Jacqueline Jones and Sophie Berger are as hot as ever. The women are not the problem here. The problem is that Love Circles takes itself seriously, while simultaneously throwing in slapstick comedy bits. When combined with the wretched dubbing, interminable filler scenes, and a core shtick that gets old quickly, Love Circles is the ultimate test of resisting the fast-forward button.
The basic plot is this. Some random American stud in a Paris night club gets picked up by an impossibly hot woman (stunning French cult star Marie-France). They boink, and she gives him a pack of cigarettes. He meets someone else; in this case, Josephine Jacqueline Jones, who chases him around her apartment in frantic fast forward, clawing the air like a tiger while offbeat piano keys tickle in the soundtrack. They boink. He gives her the cigarettes. She meets someone else...how long, do you think, before some random American stud wanders into a Paris night club and hands the cigarettes to Marie-France? Sadly, Love Circles treats this like a major revelation in the same echelon as Rosebud or Luke's father. Trust me, we saw it coming an hour ago. No need to spend excruciating minutes setting up this "finale."
"They boink" covers a lot of territory, though sadly not as much real estate as it should out of the 93 minutes. How are the love scenes? Well, the women are extremely attractive. The scenes aren't bad. It's just -- dare I say this? -- they're overshadowed by the plot. There is a hangover from each expository scene that would require several minutes of exquisite nudity to fully erase from our minds. As it stands, we barely have time to shake off the funk before we're assaulted with another awful filler scene.
If you somehow find yourself in possession of Love Circles, all is not lost. The last contestant in the cigarette pack sweepstakes is the lusty Lisa Allison. For some inexplicable (but blessed) reason, director Gérard Kikoïne strays from his slavish devotion to the formula with Lisa Allison. There is a modicum of tension built up. She doesn't doff her clothes right away. We have time to want her. And she gets more than the requisite two screws before her time is up. When you take into account that she is the most buxom and sensual of the lot, this is a good time to break the love circle.
By the way, I had to follow up on this claim from assassinn70 on IMDb:
"If you watch the very last love scene you will see the sex act being taped on a video camera if you watch on view screen of the camera the sex is 100% real and you see penetration it was one of my first views of porn and for that I salute it." I missed this subtlety the first time around, but indeed, the transition shot to the TV screen does reveal penetration. That technically makes Love Circles hardcore.
Like the other Private Screenings discs, this one comes to you as if straight from 1980s cable television. Set in full frame with poor contrast and faint scan lines, Love Circles is not a video showpiece. The mono track antiseptically delivers the flat, wretched dub job and wraithlike soundtrack. There are no extras, but what would there be? "The Impact of Love Circles on Cinema History?" "How to make your own Love Circle" featurette?
For nostalgia value alone, and the chance to see an '80s flick in the wild, Love Circles has value. Stunning women like Josephine Jacqueline Jones, Sophie Berger, Marie-France, and Lisa Allison don't hurt. But I cannot overstate how much this plot reeks. For your sake, watch Love Circles the way softcore skin flicks were meant to be watched: with a judicious finger on the fast forward button.
Review content copyright © 2006 Rob Lineberger; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Private Screening Collection
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 93 Minutes
Release Year: 1985
MPAA Rating: Rated R