Although Dorothy Gibson's name has largely been lost to time, she was one of the shining stars of the American film industry during the silent era. Gibson made a fateful voyage on the Titanic and barely managed to survive. She capitalized on her adventure in a successful movie titled Saved From the Titanic. However, another tragedy loomed in her future, when fate brought her to Germany at the advent of Hitler's rise to power. Click here for more
InterVision is releasing the vintage Australian Ozploitation films of director John D. Lamond, whose modestly-budgeted works turned enormous profits with the angle of showing what was going on down under Down Under. Following their release of Lamond's first movie, Australia After Dark (click here for review), the company now presents his second effort, The ABC's of Love and Sex- Australia Style, in an uncut version. (The film had been censored in various countries to conform with censors.) Curiously, although the DVD sleeve refers to the titles as The ABC's..., the film itself is titled The ABC of Love and Sex. Like the previous movie, this 1978 feature uses the guise of being an educational film to explore sexual habits among Aussies, though one would assume there is nothing so unique about Australian sex practices that can't be found in any other country. Perhaps to minimize interference from censors, Lamond mingles humor with surprisingly graphic (if somewhat clinical) presentations of willing couples doin' the dirty deeds. The film starts rather bizarrely with clay animation figures informing us of what we're about to see. Lamond uses the old ploy of interviewing doctors and researchers to give the feature a semblance of intellectual credibility when, in fact, it is clearly designed to titillate. Lamond takes every letter of the alphabet and presents a vignette to illustrate a sexual practice, fetish or deviancy relating to each letter. The prejudices of the era are in full view, with homosexual men being dismissed as catty queens bitching behind each other's backs at a party. However, lesbians are depicted as beautiful, naked and sexually voracious. There are also plenty of tips about masturbation techniques, in case you need some advice in that area. (Remember, it's sex with someone you love...) The film presents food as a sexual aid in a sequence that is obviously inspired by the dining sequence in Tom Jones. Lamond doesn't shy away from some touchier topics such as rape, and was ahead of his time in presenting it as an undeniable act of violence that leaves a woman brutalized. (Though he can't resist pointing out that some women have rape fantasies.) Lamond does provide equal time in terms of showing both sexes in full frontal nudity mode and some of the scenes are surprisingly graphic, given the era in which the film was made. The film is more amusing than erotic and contains some catchy songs played against images of attractive models dancing. This benign approach seems like a clever way to disarm critics and ensure the movie wasn't regarded as outright pornography. The film is crude but fun and provides an interesting time capsule of how we viewed sex in the 70s.
The DVD contains an audio commentary track by Lamond and filmmaker Nick Hartley that is quite entertaining. However, the packaging promises a gallery of his film trailer that isn't on the DVD.