Impulse Pictures/Synapse Films

Synapse Films offshoot Impulse Pictures rescues THE CHAMBERMAIDS, a porn film so rare no one even knows who directed it, from obscurity.

Actresses/part-time hotel chambermaids Sally (Valerie Marron, Metzger's THE IMAGE) and Mary Ellen (Mary Stuart, NAKED CAME THE STRANGER) come to the conclusion that they have to offer more personal services to the guests for bigger tips. Sally hits it off right away with lingerie salesman Marvin (Levi Richards, THE PRIVATE AFTERNOONS OF PAMELA MANN) who invites her back that evening to entertain client Smitty (Jeffrey Hurst, THE GANJA EXPRESS) – whose wife will be joining them later – and to bring a girlfriend. Unfortunately, Mary Ellen – who has just blown some life back into a newlywed (Eric Edwards, ABDUCTION OF AN AMERICAN PLAYGIRL) – can't make the party but has a replacement in mind (inexplicably, it is Mary Ellen who shows up for Marvin's party while Sally disappears from the picture). Mistaking Smitty's wife Sarah (singer/actress Andrea True of the disco hit "More, More, More") when she skips the concert, Marvin sends her off to get ready. Figuring what's good for the goose is good for the gander, Sarah gets it on with Mary Ellen. Carol, upset that her husband was finally able to get it up and then called out Mary Ellen's name, stumbles upon them and is pulled into a threesome. Smitty shows up for a good time not realizing that his wife is waiting to pounce and Carol's husband is about to happen upon an orgy with his wife as the centerpiece.

Even in the golden age of American pornographic cinema, plot (not the same thing as story) has never been a crucial concern; but THE CHAMBERMAIDS makes for a frustrating viewing experience if you pay more attention beyond the "action". Presumably the actress who played Sally was not available beyond the early shoot, and her absence makes complete hash out of the sitcom-level misunderstandings and presumed identities that make up the second half of the film what with Carol not batting an eye at meeting Mary Ellen (presumably the character was meant to be Sally since Mary Ellen couldn't make it) after her husband has called out her name. Instead of a punchline ending, the film just kind of fizzles out with a quizzical look from Richards held a few seconds too long. As far as golden age adult films go, it's sort of middle-of-the-road with flat direction, proficient photography, and a familiar cast of seventies porn regulars whose charisma makes up for the lack of invention in the script or its direction (the style is so generic as to be anonymous). It's worth seeing for diehard fans of seventies XXX (some of which might be able to ferret out the likely identity of its director).

Transferred from a ratty, scratched-up 35mm theatrical print, Impulse Pictures' single-layer progressive, fullscreen transfer faithfully represents the materials with good detail and stable colors beneath the litany of damage. The Dolby Digital 2.0 mono track is clean apart from the damage associated with the print itself. I doubt Vinegar Syndrome or any other company doing restorations to classic adult films of late could have done significantly better with these materials. There are no credits besides the title and end card, but it may have less to do with incompleteness so much as the performers and crew being wary about attaching their names to a porn film during DEEP THROAT's obscenity trial. There are absolutely no extras. (Eric Cotenas)