MARCY (1969)
Director: Joseph W. Sarno

Code Red kicks off its Deweyvision line with the rescue of yet another little seen Joseph Sarno rarity, 1969’s MARCY, transferred from the only known surviving print.

Marcy Wiggins (Artemida Diannini) lives alone on her father’s sprawling farm. Her decision to take in female companion June Rutland (Sheila Britt) sparks rumors of lesbianism. Still jealous of her husband Dalton’s (Nick Dundas) – who owns the neighboring large farm – teenage romance with Marcy, Sharon Christie (Barbara Lance) brings up the rumor to needle him. This has the opposite effect on Dalton and he finds himself reconnecting with Marcy who, like him, is given to wandering the idyllic hills of their neighboring lands. Although Marcy and June are prone to tickling and wrestling with each other in the grass, neither seems to actually be entertaining lesbian thoughts; in fact, while Marcy is off wandering June puts the moves on handyman Will (Alex Mann). It is not until the Christie’s housekeeper Carrie Sue (Linda Boyce) asks June about what lesbians do that June decides she is interested in Marcy (after practicing with Carrie Sue, of course). Sharon finds the rumors of Marcy’s lesbianism comforting and now believes that Dalton wanders the hills for love of the land, but that doesn’t stop her from sleeping with Carrie Sue’s handyman husband Norbert (Aron Green). Marcy and Dalton rekindle their relationship in a cheap motel, but they realize that they cannot run away from their responsibilities. When June decides to seduce Marcy into a threesome with Carrie Sue, Marcy must chose between exploring her sexuality and a secret relationship with a married man.

How times have changed. In a film nowadays, a guy might take a new interest in an old flame because of her possible lesbianism rather than to dispel the rumor. MARCY was distributed by J.E.R. Pictures in 1970 and, unlike some of their other releases, had not been rescued by Something Weird Video. An early Eastman Color Joseph Sarno outing, it is neither one of his best nor one of his worst works. Flesh aficionados may be disappointed by the sparing display of it onscreen (the sex scenes are quite short for a Sarno film), and the pacing is not so much pondering as ponderous. Most of Sarno’s films feature minimalist music scores, but this one just seems cheap. Although his interiors still frame many of the erotic scenes in shafts of light – as in his black and white films – and there are plenty of scenes of characters in foreground staring off past the camera while another character needles them over their shoulder, many of the handheld exteriors look amateurish with shaky camerawork (there are, however, a couple nice exterior setups). Marcy is a far less interesting character than any of the other three females, and the screenplay doesn’t quite make good on the poster’s boasts of “A woman forced by cruel rumor to choose between two worlds” and “A totally new, totally real experience in the exploration of human emotions, passions, and desires!”

Much more impressive than the film itself, are the CV’s of its cast. Several of the cast members could be termed Sarno regulars – at least of this period – with Erickson, Boyce, Mann, and Green all having previously appeared in PASSION IN HOT HOLLOWS. Acting here under the pseudonym Artemida Diannini, Uta Erickson had a fairly impressive career as an actress in the New York softcore film scene of the 1960s and early 1970s. Erickson appeared in a number of films by Michael and Roberta Findlay including THE KISS OF HER FLESH and THE ULTIMATE DEGENERATE, as well as Doris Wishman’s THE AMAZING TRANSPLANT and LOVE TOY, Barry Mahon’s SIN IN THE CITY and THE SEX KILLER, Larry Crane’s BEWARE THE BLACK WIDOW and PRIVATE RELATIONS, Bill Hennigar’s SEE HOW THEY COME, and Albert T. Viola’s INTERPLAY. She also appeared with co-star Boyce in the Findlays’ MNASIDIKA, CURSE OF HER FLESH, A THOUSAND PLEASURES, Peter Woodcock’s DAUGHTERS OF LESBOX, MONIQUE MY LOVE and RETURN OF THE SECRET SOCIETY (on DVD from Image/SWV as BABETTE, paired with MONIQUE MY LOVE), Jesse Berger’s ELECTRONIC LOVER, Joseph P. Mawra’s OLGA’S DANCE HALL GIRLS, Curt Ledger’s roughie SHE CAME ON THE BUS, Victor Petrashevic’s ONLY IN MY DREAMS, and the Amero brothers hardcore flicks BACCHANALE and DYNAMITE. Besides the aforementioned films, Boyce also appeared in John Amero’s EVERYBODY FOR EVERYBODY, SILENT MADNESS director Simon Nuchtern’s earlier efforts THE GIRL GRABBERS and TO HEX WITH SEX, and Wishman cinematographer C. Davis Smith’s GRAFFITI. Erickson, Britt, and Boyce also appeared as insert doubles in the producer-augmented cut of Andy Milligan’s SEEDS/SEEDS OF SIN as well as Victor Petrashevic’s LOVE ME PLEASE. Britt got her start as an insert double in the Radley Metzger-augmented U.S. version of Max Pecas’ SOFT SKIN ON BLACK SILK and the Spanish THE UNSATISFIED for Cambist Films, before appearing as an actress in Sarno’s WARM NIGHTS AND HOT PLEASURES and THE SWAP AND HOW THEY MAKE IT, Joseph P. Mawra’s MURDER IN MISSISSIPPI, the Amero brothers’ THE LUSTING HOURS, and Allen Savage’s SUBMISSION (on DVD with Sarno’s VIBRATIONS) among others. Barbara Lance’s only other credits were in Sarno’s ODD TRIANGLE, THE LAYOUT, and DESIRE UNDER THE PALMS.

Dundas collaborated as an actor with Sarno in nine other films before MARCY including STEP OUT OF YOUR MIND, SKIN DEEP IN LOVE, THE BED AND HOW TO MAKE IT, THE SEX CYCLE, BED OF VIOLENCE, THE LOVE REBELLION, as well as DEEP INSIDE, COME RIDE THE WILD PINK HORSE, and SCARF OF MIST THIGH OF SATIN with Britt. His only non-Sarno credits was David R. Friedberg‘s TORTURE ME KISS ME (also with Erickson). Alex Mann was another Sarno regular, also appearing in THE SEDUCTION OF INGA (actually, in an insert added by producer Vernon Becker), WALL OF FLESH, THE YOUNG EROTIC FANNY HILL, ABIGAIL LESLIE IS BACK IN TOWN. Like Erickson and Boyce, Mann (who died in 2010) also had a varied career in softcore and hardcore films including David Durston’s I DRINK YOUR BLOOD, Jerry Gross’ TEENAGE MOTHER and THE FEMALE ANIMAL, Charles Romine’s BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, Joseph Magine’s SMOKE AND FLESH, Barry Mahon’s THE DIARY OF KNOCKERS McCALLA, Larry Crane’s THE LOVE CAPTIVE, the Findlays’ TAKE MY HEAD, Roberta Findlay’s ROSEBUD, Fred Donaldson’s SOMETIME SWEET SUSAN (released in hardcore and softcore versions), Claude Goddard’s WINTER HEAT, Wishman’s SATAN WAS A LADY (the 1975 XXX version) and KEYHOLES ARE FOR PEEPING, Armand Weston’s THE DEFIANCE OF GOOD, as well as the more drive-in friendly MALIBU HIGH and MICROWAVE MASSACRE. Besides MARCY and PASSION IN HOT HOLLOWS, Green’s only other credit was Sarno’s DEEP INSIDE (with Dundas and Britt).

Deweyvision’s single-layer, interlaced, 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen features continuous vertical lime-green scratches, damaged reel change points, audio drop-outs (some muffled dialogue seems to originate with the mix since the music and effects sound just fine during these parts), and much murk in some of the tinted sex scenes (the sort of condition seen on some of Image/SWV bonus features). Since the film was transferred from the only known surviving print source, it was either this or nothing. There is no main menu screen. Following the logo – featuring a likeness of occasional Code Red commentary moderator/interviewer Lee Christian with blank eyes – there is a text screen informing the viewer that a commentary track featuring David DeCoteau (DREAMANIAC) and adult filmmaker Gino Colbert can be accessed by pressing the audio button on your remote. Colbert was an associate of Sarno from 1979 on and collaborated with him on more than a hundred films starting with the hardcore INSIDE SEKA (Colbert explains that Sarno gave directorial credit to a lot of his adult films to other people). DeCoteau – who is more of an interview/moderator here – points out that Colbert also worked with Chuck Vincent and Doris Wishman, which prompts Colbert to discuss the differences between the three filmmakers (the term “oddball” is used a couple times regarding Wishman). While little is said about the film they are viewing, there is a lot of interesting information about Sarno’s lesser known work as a documentary filmmaker and film doctor (he reportedly also finished Wishman’s 2004 SATAN WAS A LADY after her death). Colbert is knowledgeable about the Sarno films that preceded their collaboration, including INGA and ABIGAIL LESLIE IS BACK IN TOWN, as well as his working methods. DeCoteau also coaxes information from Colbert about the Amero brothers, Radley Metzger (Colbert worked for one day on THE OPENING OF MISTY BEETHOVEN), Casey Donovan, Jennifer Welles, Annie Sprinkle, and Jack Wrangler among other New York adult filmmaking personalities. When the film ends, there are no trailers for other Code Red (or Deweyvision) releases (as there were with some other “no menu” Code Red titles); rather, the repeated loop of the screaming guy from GOD’S BLOODY ACRE – which was featured on the main menu screen of Code Red’s recalled standalone version of that film framed to parody the MGM logo – with the text “The movie is over. Shut DVD off now!” flashing for about five minutes. (Eric Cotenas)