by Joe Dante Dec 30, 2014

Here’s another installment featuring Joe Dante’s reviews from his stint as a critic for Film Bulletin circa 1969-1974. Our thanks to Video Watchdog and Tim Lucas for his editorial embellishments!

Orgiastic porno flick has much‑publicized star Marilyn Chambers to lure customers in remaining big‑city hard‑core markets before the unavoidable crunch comes. Self‑imposed X.
The days seem to be numbered for this kind of hardcore porno fare, but loyal fan reaction in the little time left should reach considerable boxoffice proportions. Commercially, the most salable thing about BEHIND THE GREEN DOOR is Marilyn Chambers, the demure Ivory Snow model whose contract was cancelled amid much publicity when she surfaced as the star of this weird sex opus, in which no orifice is left unexplored. Actually, the Mitchell Bros., who produced and distributed it, seem to have attempted a work of “porno art”—and, to be fair, the film does have moments of bizarre imagery and nightmarish fantasy (far more so, in fact, than the much praised THE DEVIL IN MISS JONES). However, it is technically so poor (photography and editing in particular) that its intended artiness comes off merely as phony pretension, like a poverty‑row producer’s wet dream.

Miss Chambers, a wholesome‑looking Cybill Shepherd type, speaks not a word throughout as she is kidnapped and used (to say the least) as the star attraction at a very odd nightclub. Masked patrons look on and manipulate themselves as the bewildered but accommodating Miss Chambers undergoes all varieties of sexual humiliation, culminating in her taking on three superstuds at once—two of them hanging from the ceiling. It climaxes, so to speak, with a mass orgy, which seems as good an ending as any. There are a few interesting color‑key and slow‑motion effects, and the second half of the picture has no dialogue (“pure cinema,” as they might, and may yet, say in France)—a special blessing, considering the “acting” in the first half. In sum, this is certainly more imaginative than most of its ilk, but any promise its makers might have shown seems doomed to remain just that in view of the recent Supreme Court ruling.

1972. Mitchell Brothers. Eastman Color. 82 minutes. Marilyn Chambers. Produced and directed by Jim and Art Mitchell.

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