Director(s): Harry Lewis/Louis Lewis (aka Ken Gibb)
Vinegar Syndrome

Vinegar Syndrome's new Peekarama DVD volume steps into 1980s with a pair of offerings from the San Francisco-based Lewis Brothers.

Having adopted the moniker The Lewis Brothers to divert obscenity prosecutors and some of the shady individuals funding their productions from out of state, producer Elliot Lewis and director Harry Lewis (aka Lee Utterbach) met and worked with virtually every adult filmmaker and plenty of the talent that came to the burgeoning San Francisco adult film scene for which they provided camera equipment (some of whom would also adopt the Lewis surname for their work). The two films herein showcase an impressive roster of familiar faces with CHINA GIRL's Annette Haven headlining LADIES NIGHT as football widow Betty whose husband's (Richard Bern) life revolves around the game so much so that even Betty's own sexual fantasies are sports-related (for instance, CAMPUS CAPERS' Phaery Burd getting sacked by quarterback Ken Scudder from Anthony Spinelli's EASY). Fed up, Betty decides to join gal pals Angie (Nicole Black, PURELY PHYSICAL) and Irene (Lisa De Leeuw, AMANDA BY NIGHT) for a ladies night out at a male strip joint where men like LET'S GET PHYSICAL's Mike Horner compete in "wet underwear" contests and MC Paul Thomas (FANTASYWORLD) croons the ladies out of their panties. Betty is eager to participate on stage while Irene has fun playing with balls in the upstairs billiard room in a game of "strip pool" with waiter Johnny (Blair Harris, LADY DYNAMITE) and FEMMES DE SADES' Starr Wood. Angie, however, only has eyes for valet (ORIENTAL HAWAII's Jesse Adams) and decides to take him for a spin. Herschell Savage (TRASHY LADY) plays the bartender who is on the receiving end of a neverending blowjob beneath the bar. Although LADIES NIGHT is rather average in terms of plotting and sex, it is certainly uplifted by some game performances, particularly the lead trio and Thomas (although former mime Horner really gets into the wet underwear contestant persona).

HER WICKED WAYS finds Jesie St. James (VALLEY VISTA PTA) as merry widow Ruby who has just inherited over a billion dollars until repressed stepdaughter Catherine (Joanna Storm, SILK SATIN SEX) contests the will. Ruby decides to dig up some dirt on her stepdaughter, but Catherine has the same idea and hires sleazy P.I. Riff Rafferty (Paul Thomas). When her lawyer advises Ruby that stocks have plummeted since her husband's death, decides to improve morale among the speculators (including HOT LUNCH's Jon Martin) and grease the board in a threesome with the chairman (Eric Edwards, THE VIRGIN AND THE LOVER) and his secretary (Tigr, BODY GIRLS). Catherine seeks solace with her lesbian secretary Gilda (Janey Robbins, FLESH DANCE) but Ruby shows Catherine exactly why her father married her when she gives a little mouth-to-cock resuscitation to the pool boy (Mike Horner) knocked unconscious while trying to break up their soap opera catfight in the pool. When the board calls a special meeting to name a new president, both women go in with ammunition and are in for a surprise. Coming across like DYNASTY with money shots, HER WICKED WAYS boasts attractive leads, good performances, luxurious production values, and an opening and closing text disclaimers by an otherwise absent Lisa De Leeuw urging viewers to defend their First Amendment rights to watch films like this.

Transferred from 2K scans of archival 35mm elements, the progressive, anamorphic widescreen presentation of LADIES NIGHT looks crisp and colorful apart from some scratch opening and closing credits while HER WICKED WAYS looks even better due to the brighter and better lit photography of director Louis Lewis who is actually Bob Chinn's DP of choice Ken Gibb (DRIVE-IN MASSACRE). The Dolby Digital 1.0 mono track of LADIES NIGHT has a bit of hiss while HER WICKED WAYS sounds cleaner.

LADIES NIGHT is accompanied by an audio interview with "The Lewis Brothers"; that is, Harry Lewis, Elliot Lewis, and Wes Emerson (FAST CARS FAST WOMEN). Harry recalls answering an ad to work as a photography assistant only to discover it was a nudist magazine in Los Angeles. He trained to replace one of the photographers and was busted along with the owner, getting five years which was switched to probation when obscenity defense lawyer Stanley Fleishman took on their defense. Before the arrest, he had already done some networking in San Francisco and moved up there after his parole officer got him off probation in the third year where he would get into adult filmmaking. Elliot Lewis went to film school in New York and came to San Francisco to work with industrial filmmakers who did porn on the side. He worked as a gaffer for Gibb (who was the son-in-law of exploitation film DP Robert Maxwell) and worked on the Johnny Wadd films. Boston-born Emerson did some production work on a National Geographic program and made some friends in California, starting as producer on THE HEALTH SPA followed by Scott McHaley's dual FAST CARS FAST WOMEN and STARSHIP EROS (a previous Peekarama double bill), before working with Elliot on BAD COMPANY. Since this is an audio interview instead of a commentary, they mention LADIES NIGHT a couple times in the context of their other work, musing on the San Francisco locations and the owners who let them use them including a gynecologist. (Eric Cotenas)