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Case Number 11149: Small Claims Court

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42nd Street Forever: XXX-Treme Special Edition

Synapse // 2007 // 120 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Judge Paul Corupe (Retired) // April 5th, 2007

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All Rise...

Judge Paul Corupe goes back to the grindhouse for one last titillating tour of the days right before 42nd Street went upscale.

The Charge

For mature adults only!

The Case

Though we've seen a recent resurgence of interest in 1970s "grindhouse" cinema in the past year or so, most fledgling fans of gun-blazing, blood-soaked exploitation cinema are unaware that Times Square's sleazy book shops, sex show clubs, and porn theatres were just as important to the Deuce as fondly remembered genre film palaces like the Victory, Selwyn, and Lyric. While Synapse's first two volumes of 42nd Street Forever did an impressive job of covering the horror, sci-fi, blaxploitation, and mondo shockumentaries that regularly thrilled the Deuce's denizens, their latest addition to the series, 42nd Street Forever: XXX-treme Special Edition shines the light on some of the almost-forgotten pornographic films that helped to forever change the face of popular entertainment.

This unique DVD collects almost 50 adult film trailers—not from the "porno chic" era of the 1970s as one might expect, but the early 1980s as the industry was making the transition from celluloid to the latest technological innovation: home video. Over the course of more than two hours, you get to experience smutty previews for:

• Dirty Girls

• Coming Together

• Alexandra

• Heart Throbs

• Nothing to Hide

• Slip Into Silk

• Oriental Jade

• Debbie Does Dallas 3

• Debbie Does 'Em All

• I Want To Be Bad

• Sensations

• G-Strings

• For Services Rendered

• Blonde Heat (AKA The Maltese Dildo)

• Blonde Ambition

• Burlexxx

• Showgirls

• Surrender In Paradise

• 1001 Erotic Nights

• Matinee Idol

• Trashy Lady

• All American Girls

• The Ribald Tales of Canterbury

• F

• Naked Scents

• Supergirls Do the Navy

• Tight and Tender

• Passage Thru Pamela

• Skintight

• Hot Blooded

• Desire

• Beyond Desire

• Hot Lips

• Aroused

• Fascination

• Scandalous Simone

• Girls on Fire

• Beverly Hills Cox

• Tickled Pink

• Making It Big

• Dracula Exotica

• Ultra Flesh

• The Devil in Miss Jones 3

• The Devil in Miss Jones 4

• Supergirls Do General Hospital

• The Oddest Couple

Even the thought of bothering to make a trailer for a porn film back then seems a little ludicrous to us today—the raincoat crowd was not exactly the most discerning group of cineastes. Still we should be glad they did, as 42nd Street Forever: XXX-treme Special Edition is an intriguing time capsule of a very specific time in the history of both film and adult entertainment.

Overall, it's actually a bit surprising at how unremarkable some of these films are, but perhaps that's a further testament to their intended audience's lack of concern towards minor details like plot and characterization. Titles like Scandalous Simone, Beyond Desire, Tight and Tender, and All American Girls are virtually interchangeable, featuring run-of-the-mill trailers of girls looking hungrily at the camera with frequent cutaways to the title card, which is why the highlights of this disc are the theatrical spots that go for something a little different than your average fuck film. Blonde Ambition, for instance, is a comedy epic about a pair of singing (and swinging) sisters who want to make it big in New York City, and is intriguingly advertised "for those who enjoyed Deep Throat and Singin' In The Rain." The psychedelic F has a confused protagonist stumbling through encounters in various themed rooms in a mysterious mansion, where he meets a variety of playmates, including "wind-up dolls" and a gold-painted girl who apparently offers a novel twist on the old King Midas story. It's Passage Thru Pamela that has to one of the wildest adult films of the era, however, starring a pre-op transsexual who becomes a supermodel and is threatened with exposure at every turn. The trailer repeatedly teases "Can you guess Pamela's shocking secret?" but it still reveals it at the end of the spot.

Porn spoofs of mainstream films have always been popular with audiences, and this disc serves up a nice helping of tongue-in-cheek fun with trailers for non-classics like For Services Rendered which looks like a terrible spy film that follows the under-the-cover adventures of "James Bomb," and Blonde Heat (AKA The Maltese Dildo), an obvious take-off on the John Huston classic that features a cameo by notorious exploitation producer David F. Friedman! Jamie Gillis looks a little silly as the titular Dracula Exotica, but the film doesn't look too bad at all, a straight-faced genre riff with impressive production values. The sci-fi epic Ultra Flesh is much more feisty, starring Seka as an Martian invader who shoots lasers out of her crotch in an effort to defeat a rival race of aliens who have made Earth men impotent.

There are also several classic favorites represented on this disc. The Dark Brothers, who brought a new measure of distinctly 1980s style to the industry with their groundbreaking New Wave Hookers are represented by their third and fourth entries in the long-running The Devil in Miss Jones series, which offer up buckets of '80s cheese—headbands, synthesizer rock, mirrored sunglasses, and pleather (shades of which are also visible in Skintight and Aroused, which, hilariously, features a dildo-equipped Radio Shack robot). A slightly disturbing ad for Henri Pachard's notorious kink-fest G-Strings is here also, along with Nothing to Hide, an award-winning coming-of-age film that was one of the industry's last attempts at working pornographic scenes into an authentic narrative, before the VCR's fast-forward button rendered such pretensions obsolete.

Also, as you might expect, this disc presents a virtual who's who of the early 1980s porno circuit, mixing and matching sexual superstars like Kelly Nichols, Ginger Lynn, Seka, Rhonda Jo Petty, Vanessa Del Rio, Veronica Hart, Samantha Fox, and Sharon Mitchell with pimply-assed male favorites like Jamie Gillis, John Leslie, Harry Reems, John Holmes, and Ron Jeremy (who, it seems, appears in close to half of these trailers!). Even for those who have never seen these particular films, there is no shortage of recognizable, uh, faces.

As with prior volumes, each of the trailers on this volume of 42nd Street Forever is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic transfers (with the occasional windowbox), and the quality is impressive—colors are bright and bold, and detail is excellent. Scratches and other source artifacts pop up occasionally, but they add to the experience and shouldn't be counted against this excellent release. Audio is also pretty clean all around.

All in all, this is another satisfying release in the 42nd Street Forever series, which continues to be the finest line of trailer compilations on DVD. Although viewers should be aware that absolutely nothing is left to the imagination on this release, 42nd Street Forever: XXX-treme Special Edition nonetheless comes recommended to open-minded adults looking for a nostalgic thrill.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 83

Perp Profile

Studio: Synapse
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
• None
Running Time: 120 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Unrated
• Erotic
• Exploitation

Distinguishing Marks

• None

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