Director: John D. Lamond
Severin Films

Following their release of the similarly single-named GWENDOLINE, Severin Films has unearthed another 1980s cable standby with the Australian sexploitation relic FELICITY. Nowhere near as popular as the EMANUELLE series or even the very similar INGA, this little film has gained a major cult following over the years and has finally found a home on DVD.

Felicity is a prim and proper, yet eager and wanton Catholic schoolgirl just discovering her budding sexuality and ripening young body. As a gift for her summer holidays, her rich father treats her to a trip to Hong Kong to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Orient. Upon arrival, she finds at her disposal a virtual sin city to aid in her sexual awakening, and our Felicity may just find a lasting love amidst all the masturbation, voyeurism, Sapphic love, statutory rape, group sex, and public fornication.

Despite all the rampant sex and almost wall-to-wall nudity, FELICITY is a simple and sensual film, almost as if geared towards young women and couples looking to enjoy a dirty movie. At face value, a film following a young teenage girl throwing herself into a sexual playground is a perverse idea, and some sex scenes do push the boundaries of good taste, but in the right hands of the talent involved here, the film neatly sidesteps any really filthy areas…though the scene of Felicity painfully losing her virginity on top of a car to a mustachioed sleazeball is questionable, as is a scene of Felicity taken from behind by a faceless stranger while peeping on her friend making it! Writer/producer/director John D. Lamond takes his cues from classy films like STORY OF O and EMMANUELLE (both books are mentioned several times by our heroine), rather than the hardcore porn of the time. By choosing Hong Kong as the locale for his film (like D’Amato’s later, and sleazier EMANUELLE entries), an added sense of romance and intrigue permeates the film, and the location photography is to die for! Adding to the sophisticated sexuality of the film is the star, Canadian cutie Glory Annen. In addition to being a captivating leading lady, quite lovely and a surprisingly good little actress, Annen narrates portions of the film with wistful dialogue about exploring her grown-up body in the shower, being aroused by a couple having sex on a plane, and wanting a man to please her, all with a delicious accent. Indian model Joni Flynn, familiar from the pages of Penthouse and who plays a Hong Kong native who introduces Felicity to the wonders of saunas and sex clubs, may also be familiar from OCTOPUSSY or MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL. What a strange career!

FELICITY does have its flaws. Some scenes just end with abrupt edits, as if slapped together in post-production, while others proceed at a smooth pace. This uneven presentation sometimes hampers the eroticism levels of the film, and cheapens an otherwise professional looking film, but fans of erotica as opposed to sleaze will be in heaven with FELICITY. It’s understandable why so many teenagers in the 80s fell in love with this film: its lovely star, frequent sex and nudity, and coming-of-age scenarios, presented in a believable and sensual manner, make this a stand out film that has somehow eluded major attention for so long.

This uncensored director’s cut, restoring footage never seen in America on its cable airings or on home video, is culled from director John D. Lamond’s personal vault print, presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Some fuzzy photography looks this way intentionally, and colors are generally clean and bright. The mono audio gets the job done splendidly, especially during Felicity’s inner monologues and the catchy theme song.

The meat of the extras lies in the audio commentary with Lamond and star Glory Annen! Annen, currently a casting agent, is in good spirits, talking about her feelings on nudity, approaching the character, shooting on location in Hong Kong, and other behind-the-scenes tales, and Lamond is genuinely proud of his little film that delivers the sexy goods as he recounts the genesis of the production, the shooting schedule and budget, the film’s release and distribution history, and various production stories. Even Annen comments that the statutory rape scene is a little much, but both participants sound like they’re having a good time reminiscing about this cute little film. A theatrical trailer, highlighting many of the most memorable scenes, and a welcome “intimate” stills gallery, with many rare and unique promotional stills, most showcasing the many nude scenes, cap off one of the finest sleeper discs of the year. (Casey Scott)