PRETTY PEACHES (1978) Limited Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo
Director: Alex de Renzy
Vinegar Syndrome

The film that introduced that "Peaches Girl" Desiree Costeau PRETTY PEACHES arrives uncut on limited edition Blu-ray/DVD combo.

When her daddy Hugh (John Leslie, BABY ROSEMARY) decides to remarry, sickeningly sweet nymph Peaches (Desiree Costeau, HOT & SAUCY PIZZA GIRLS) is jealous about having to share him with Lilly (Flower, THE OTHER SIDE OF JULIE). After the wedding, she leaves the Virginia City casino in a huff and crashes her jeep along a bumpy back road while swerving to miss sleazy ne'er-do-wells Kid (Joey Silvera, THE FIRST TIME) and Jesse who take advantage of her while she is unconscious. When Peaches wakes up, she cannot remember her name and accepts their offer of help and a ride back to San Francisco in "their" jeep. Kid sends Peaches to his "Uncle Percy" for help with her memory but he turns out to be a crazed enema freak (in a scene censored from some editions of the film). The guys let Peaches stay with them so long as she gets a job (to subsidize their own loafing around other comely hitchhikers including CANDY STRIPERS' Nancy Hoffman and HOT LUNCH's Sharon Kane). The only job Peaches seems qualified for is as a dancer, but that audition results in a gang rape by strap-on-wielding lesbians. Meanwhile, Hugh is worried about not hearing from Peaches and Lilly is trying to push his boundaries (including a threesome with PURLEY PHYSICAL's Juliet Anderson as the Scandinavian housemaid). A despondent Peaches runs into a handsome psychiatrist (Paul Thomas, FANTASY WORLD) who agrees to help her. Wanting to first write off any physical cause to her amnesia, he gives her a probing physical exam; however, Peaches actually enjoys this encounter and the offer to accompany him to a "know your own self" seminar (read: orgy). Kid and Jesse have followed Peaches to the doctor's office and are afraid that she will get her memory back. Checking her jeep's registration, Kid and Jesse decide to seek out Peaches' father to turn her over for reward money, only to discover that Lilly has tricked Hugh into attending the same orgy.

Despite the gang rape, forced enema, and incest, PRETTY PEACHES is one of the lighter works of Alex de Renzy's seventies filmography, courting less controversy than FEMMES DE SADE, BABY FACE, or LONG JEANNE SILVER. The film is loosely-scripted but well cast, with the undeniably stunning Costeau's affected bratty performance – for which she won an Adult Film Association of America award – keeping things light (there are plenty of examples in pornography of innocent girls abused by schemers offering help going back to De Sade's "Justine"). The related in name-only sequels PRETTY PEACHES 2 and 3 downplayed the incest angle (while the highly successful TABOO spanned twenty-two sequels) with Herschel Savage revealed as the heroine's stepfather in the second film and no father or other relations at the end of Peaches' search for spiritual enlightenment in the third film. None of the cast or crew are credited, but Anthony Spinelli regular Ken Scudder (EASY) is among the orgy guests. The score is also uncredited, but the soundtrack does feature the Madeline Bell songs "Love is All You Need" during the Costeau/Thomas sex scene and "You've Got What It Takes" – also heard the same year in John Lamond's THE ABCs OF LOVE AND SEX and the Australian women-in-prison series PRISONER: CELL BLOCK H – during the climactic orgy.

Due to the film's themes of incest and some non-consensual sexual content, VCA released the film on VHS in a heavily-censored edition and apparently not at all on DVD (although Alpha Blue Archives released an uncut VHS and DVD). Vinegar Syndrome utilized an uncut 35mm print for their 2K scan, and the resulting 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.78:1 widescreen Blu-ray presents a sterling rendition of the film with bright and bold colors, crisp detail, and a minimum of damage (including a few white specs and some jitter early on). The DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 mono track is also in good condition, the better to convey Peaches' whining, crying, and the porn-tastic soundtrack.

The Blu-ray's extras are limited to trailers for PRETTY PEACHES 2, BABY FACE II, and FEMMES DE SADE while the DVD includes these trailers as well as two vintage interviews. The first one with Alex de Renzy (19:24) was shot shortly before his death in 2001. He starts off by discussing the transition from theatrical distribution of pornography to video (where it became harder to keep track of the business the films did). He discusses his beginnings with a theater projecting adult films to his early films including the documentary A HISTORY OF THE BLUE MOVIE which incorporated a wide variety of clips from films he rescued from the garbage bins of the porn arcades. Of FEMMES DE SADE, he recalls how his wife Kathryn approached make-up artist Ben Nye (PLANET OF THE APES) to tutor her in special make-up in preparation for the film, how long it took to make-up thirty-five people for the final scene, and the audience reactions to the film's extremes (which were purely theatrical effects), and how VCA is still "scared to death" to distribute the film. De Renzy's only comments on PRETTY PEACHES are restricted to Costeau's great personality, although this is still a welcome piece since he passed away before porn companies started taking a retrospective interest in their catalog titles.

The second interview is with Reverend Dr. Ted McIlvenna who formed "The National Sex & Drug Forum" (and later the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality) in the sixties to provide "educational resources regarding human sexuality". He became involved with San Francisco's sexual underground in the sixties and got to know a number of porn filmmakers including de Renzy. After consulting in the UK on the Homosexual Law Reform Society, he returned to San Francisco to develop a sexual educational program which developed and incorporated films. De Renzy contacted him about the pornographic works that he had collected for screening and use in A HISTORY OF THE BLUE MOVIE. He recalls how de Renzy's archives were about to be thrown out by his last wife Carol, but that he and de Renzy's earlier wife Kathryn Reed picked up the material and discovered sixteen full-length feature films that de Renzy had never edited (documentaries not pornographic works) as well as almost three hundred films of women dancing. While those do not sound as interesting as resurrecting the rest of De Renzy's pornographic filmography, Vinegar Syndrome might consider looking into some of this material for a future featurette (or even a documentary on de Renzy's interests outside of pornography). While the supplements are not exactly bountiful, they are welcome and perhaps appropriate to a film that is well-regarded by fans but less so by its director. Limited to 1,500 copies, the Blu-ray/DVD combo of PRETTY PEACHES is available only direct from Vinegar Syndrome. (Eric Cotenas)

BACK TO REVIEWS

HOME