Director: Arthur Greenstands and Larry Revene (uncredited)
Image Entertainment

Here it is, a Holy Grail of sorts for aficionados of 1970s and 1980s adult cinema! Apparently designed as an R-rated direct-to-video sequel of sorts to Larry Revene’s quite good adult feature WANDA WHIPS WALL STREET (1982), that film’s producers, John Christian and Steven Kaman (aka “Sven Nuvo”), edited all the hardcore sex out of the original WANDA, shot wrap-around scenes with a group of twenty-something actresses, a brand-new rockin’ New Wave soundtrack, and unleashed it on an unsuspecting rental crowd in 1984 as STOCKS & BLONDES.

Wendy, a perky blonde college student, is struggling to pass Business 202, so decides to research Brandt Enterprises and Wanda, the mysterious woman who kickstarted the company through questionable methods. By interviewing those who knew her (and plenty of flashbacks), she finally meets Wanda, and learns that women in business have a secret weapon for which all men fall: sex!

Classic porn and general release films had brushed shoulders previously in the form of IT’S CALLED MURDER, BABY, the Anthony Spinelli feature starring a who’s who of adult cinema’s finest thespians of the time (John Leslie, Samantha Fox, Veronica Hart, Kelly Nichols, Lisa de Leeuw, Juliet Anderson, Hillary Summers [open to debate]). That film was originally envisioned as an R-rated potboiler, with classic Hollywood character actors Cameron Mitchell and Buck Kartalian signed on in featured roles. But producer Chris Warfield knew he could make extra money utilizing the porno star cast by also having them perform hardcore sex scenes, hence the alternate version, DIXIE RAY: HOLLYWOOD STAR, which was lauded as a breakthrough in its genre while the R-rated version was largely ignored in theaters and on video. Of the two, IT’S CALLED MURDER is far superior, and proves the kind of talent working behind and in front of the cameras at one point in the industry.

In the case of WANDA and STOCKS, it’s a completely different story. Produced in 1982 by Chuck Vincent’s Platinum Pictures and written and directed by Vincent’s frequent cinematographer Larry Revene, WANDA WHIPS WALL STREET followed the devious corporate takeover of Tyler Securities by Wanda Brandt, an enterprising young vixen who slept and blackmailed her way to the top with the help of Her Girl Friday Tish Ambrose and Wall Street stockbroker Samantha Fox. Figuring into the plot were porn favorites Ashley Moore, Jamie Gillis, Ron Jeremy, Ron Hudd, and Sharon Mitchell. In-between very long sex scenes (most of which are quite good) and unbelievable sequences actually filmed on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (!!!), the film was a surprising feminist take on the business world, helping to further secure Hart’s standing as one of the most responsible and empowering actresses in the industry of the time. Because of the heavy plot and easily removable hardcore sex scenes, WANDA likely seemed a good candidate to be reissued two years later. Producers John Christian and Steven Kaman (cinematographer on both features as well) entered the softcore market with MODEL BEHAVIOR the same year, and must have needed a cheaply produced title to continue meeting demand for new product on video. The two would also co-produce a number of general release DTV titles throughout the 1980’s. Most of the STOCKS credits are all obvious pseudonyms and all of the original film’s cast members, save Hart, aren’t even credited (including Jeremy, Fox, Gillis, Ambrose, and Chuck Vincent repertory players like Kurt Mann, Patricia Dale, and Adam de Haven, as well as Joni-Ruth White, who most film fans should remember as Divine’s ruthless mother in POLYESTER!). A further note: contrary to the IMDB, producer John Christian is NOT to be confused with Chuck Vincent protégé John Christopher, a gay filmmaker who drifted back and forth between gay and straight adult features until his AIDS-related death in the late 1980s.

Original cast members Tish Ambrose, Ron Jeremy, Jaime Kanter, and Veronica Hart were all summoned back to reprise their characters from WANDA. In a pretty darn humiliating creative decision, poor Tish’s trademark mole on her left breast is covered up with black tape (?!) as she performs a sleazy dance routine at a bar called the Pink Squirrel! Strangely, Ambrose’s character is now bitter and angry about Wanda’s corporate takeover, though the two of them are seen toasting each other and dancing gaily under the end credits of WANDA. No explanation is given about what happened in the two years between WANDA and STOCKS. Jeremy proves once again he was a damn good actor, here playing an obnoxious fabric store clerk, demoted from his role as private investigator Jamie Gillis’ right hand man seduced by Ambrose in WANDA. He claims he “never touched Janie” in STOCKS, though the two characters had a fairly serious relationship in WANDA. Kanter plays Tyler, the former company head now homeless and anxious to tell the story of his corporate downfall. Hart appears in the finale of the film, looking great as usual (and at the time, still acting in non-sex roles in adult classics like IN LOVE and FIRESTORM), and figures into a surprise ending. In all honesty, the behind-the-scenes story of STOCKS is far more interesting than the film itself; the added scenes of ditzy business students are vapid and brimming with terrible (funny) dialogue, though it is interesting to see the original cast members lured back in front of the cameras for a rare R-rated venture.

Unfortunately, as interesting as STOCKS AND BLONDES is, the DVD transfer leaves a lot to be desired. Culled from a very poor tape master, complete with tracking problems and tape rolls, I actually own a dub of a used VHS that looks better than this transfer. The image is very dark and colors are unattractive. Mono audio sounds muffled due to the source materials. There are no extras, which is a shame because both John Christian and Steve Kaman are still around and working.

STOCKS AND BLONDES would be an excellent companion disc to Video-X-Pix’s WANDA WHIPS WALL STREET DVD (which you should already own as an aficionado of classic adult cinema), but taking into account the poor a/v quality and tacky feel of the release, can’t possibly get my recommendation for purchase unless you’re a completist of the highest order. Stick with WANDA instead. (Casey Scott)