MATINEE IDOL (1984) Blu-ray/DVD combo
Director: Henri Pachard
Vinegar Syndrome

BLOOD FEAST producer David F. Friedman goes hardcore with MATINEE IDOL, on Blu-ray/DVD combo from Vinegar Syndrome.

The enmity between porn power couple Lance Hardy (John Leslie, NEVER SLEEP ALONE) and Linda Hand (Jesie St. James, HER WICKED WAYS) goes from backbiting to "front-biting" when an onset skirmish causes both to walk off the set, searing never to work with one another again. Hoping to recoup the investment in their latest production, producers Bernard Kuntz (Friedman) and Harvey Cox (Elmo Lavino, SADIE) plan to send both difficult performers packing after they have auditioned replacement partners for both of them. When Linda is "serviced" by pool maintenance man Bud (Herschel Savage, PRETTY PEACHES 2), she hits upon the scheme to get rid of Lance and make Bud her new leading man. Unbeknownst to Linda, Lance has hit it off with Kuntz's new starlet Daisy (the truly stunning Angel, FOR YOUR THIGHS ONLY). Both performers attempt conceal their jealousy, but a screen test between Bud and Daisy could leave both seasoned vets in the lurch.

"If Hollywood ever made a porno film, this would be it," so touts the advertising of MATINEE IDOL, a well-mounted but restrained hardcore film that mixes a bright 1970s look, very eighties hair, clothes, and music, and scenes of light comedy out of a 1930s or 1940s Hollywood film (including a penultimate scene in which in which the formally-attired Leslie and James actually look and act as if they are in older screwball comedy). Friedman and Lavino are as fun to watch going through their comic schtick as dependable presences like Savage, Kay Parker (TABOO), and Colleen Brennan (LADY DYNAMITE) are doing what they usually do. Leslie and St. James do generate some heat in their final hardcore sex scene, and the film is surprising in that some of the encounters are softcore (seemingly not so much out of a reticence on the part of softcore exploiter Friedman as the dramatic demands of a scene like the actual final sex scene between the two stars).

Released on tape by VCA and the on unauthorized DVD by Alpha Blue Archives (in a Kay Parker triple bill), MATINEE IDOL comes to Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray/DVD combo in a restoration from a 2K scan of the original camera negative. Apart from reel change marks, the presentation looks virtually spotless throughout, colorful, and sharp throughout (enough to notice the posters of other Friedman productions on the walls of his character's office). The DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 mono track has some faint hiss but it does not interfere with the dialogue or the music. Friedman appears on a telephone audio interview in which he discusses his work for the Adult Film Association of America, his four hardcore effects (including 7 INTO SNOWY), and the transition point where hardcore overtook softcore in the film market. He distinguishes his experiences between the two as a matter of comradery and fun while making the softcore productions that was absent in the latter. The disc also includes the film's theatrical trailer (1:26). The reverse of the cover is a nice piece of rectangular poster artwork for the film. (Eric Cotenas)