Babylon Pink (1979)

Howard Winters a/k/a "Cecil Howard" remains one of the finest erotic filmmakers that ever lived, with a track record that includes the lofty likes of Neon Nights, Scoundrels and the seriously soapy Firestorm trilogy. As a producer and distributor through his company Command Cinema (which found a logical extension in its small screen era Command Video incarnation), whose impressive back catalogue seemed perilously close on the verge of piecemeal DVD release in exemplary bells 'n' whistles editions through Media Blasters' unfortunately shortlived Raincoat Theater sub-label, he has always been similarly dedicated to bringing out the best in fellow filmmakers such as Chuck Vincent (Heavy Load, Farewell Scarlet), Roberta Findlay (with whom he co-directed the wonderful Walter Mitty-inspired Fantasex) and the late Ron Sullivan a/k/a "Henri Pachard". While he had a considerable background in sexploitation with "roughies" like Lust Weekend and The Bizarre Ones, Sullivan had yet to cross the explicit barrier at the time. Suffice it to say there would be no looking back as he was of course to become one of the industry's most talented and enduring directors, successfully launched into the lust lane with Babylon Pink as his very first (hardcore) film.

More sex-packed and less plot-oriented than Howard's movies usually were at that time (though he would follow suit with Platinum Paradise and Foxtrot) or Sullivan's since for that matter, at least until the transition from theaters to tape enforced a pared down and purely pornographic approach, the awards-avalanched Babylon Pink deals with female erotic fantasies. Still something of a revolutionary concept in porn back then, well before Candida Royalle's Femme productions or any pretenders to her throne, and Ron pulls it off with a blend of style and apparent honesty without sacrificing anything in the way of heat. Seven Manhattan women, identified by their stations in life, dream up carnal encounters that run the gamut from sweet 'n' tender to downright raunchy yet conspicuously lacking in those male-identified mannerisms which tend to spoil a lot of porn for female viewers. Anyone even slightly versed in the adult classics should recognize most of the superstar cast, with only a couple of cult favorites likely to create confusion. Samantha Fox is the business executive who has a very verbal encounter with prospective buyer Bobby Astyr, her real life friend and lover until his untimely death from lung cancer in 2002. This scene provides a great teaching lesson for couples in need of expressing their sexual thoughts in word as well as deed.

Her secretary is played by Merle Michaels who fantasizes about being "abused" in her sleep by roommate Arcadia Lake – another sad casualty who passed away from drugs and alleged anorexia – and her lawyer boyfriend Eric Edwards (another real life item) in a scorching druggy sequence that shapes up as one of the film's hottest. The sweltering highlight however is not altogether unpredictably provided by dependably volcanic Vanessa Del Rio portraying Astyr's downtrodden wife (a shocking change of pace the Latin First Lady of Fucking on Film pulls off with astonishing aplomb), imagining herself in a sweaty number with Dave Ruby who was always good sex on screen. Vanessa's ants in her pants teenage daughter is perky Georgette Sanders of Debbie Does Dallas fame (though Shaun Costello gave her a chance to really shine as Dirty Susan, one of his lesser "Dan McCord mysteries"), pressed into duty as cheap labor, serving dinner for her well to do aunt Georgina Spelvin and uncle Bob Bolla who are entertaining their tennis teacher David Morris and his girlfriend Debbie Revenge, the scrumptious short-haired blonde also in Gerard Damiano's lachrymose For Richer, For Poorer. All these cast members collide in a hot and humorous scenario that totally justifies Debbie's being curiously billed as "Tonight's Dinner" ! Spelvin and Morris - best remembered as the gardener deflowering Marilyn Chambers in Stu Segall's legendary Insatiable, a scene so scorching it received instant replay in the sequel - get it on in the bathroom, setting the tone for Sullivan's recurring toilet fetish (listen closely to hear Spelvin's pee hit the porcelain as she gobbles down Dave's dick), with Bob and Georgette bringing up the rear with a deflowering number that's surprisingly sensitive as well as sensual.

A superb starter film for both couples and people interested in learning about fuck film's finest hour, Babylon Pink was exquisitely photographed by the aforementioned Ms. Findlay, a justifiable legend within adult circles herself, even though she continues to downplay her achievements in the field in favor of far less accomplished but more "respectable" skid row horror schlock like Tenement and The Oracle. The soft rock soundtrack was provided by a band billed as The Purple Claw who were never heard from again, for good reason as it's the single element that seriously dates if not deteriorates this high watermark endeavor for its makers. Ending on a trivia note, shortly before the movie's 30th anniversary (a "Momentous Occasion" in hardcore history I may indeed have been the only one to remember...), it was still being shown at the Brussels ABC Theater, one of the last remaining adult cinemas still operational in Europe if not the whole world, screening 35mm film rather than video or DVD. At least part of the audience, including yours truly, watched in rapt attention while their more single-minded brethren were busy cruising for cock, oblivious to the unique occasion they were thus passing up. Clearly their loss. All too soon the lights will be turned on for the very last time and this extraordinary experience will be lost to us forever. Then my memories will be all that is left...

Directed & written by Ron Sullivan (as Henri Pachard). Produced by Howard Winters (as Cecil Howard) for Winvan Productions. Photographed by Roberta Findlay (as Robert W. Norman). Music by The Purple Claw. Edited by Findlay (as Anna Riva) & Morris Greene. Starring Vanessa Del Rio (The Housewife), Georgina Spelvin (The Elegant Aunt), Samantha Fox (The Business Woman), Merle Michaels (The Secretary), Arcadia Lake (The Roommate), Georgette Sanders (The Teenager), Eric Edwards (The Ladies' Man), Bobby Astyr (The Husband), Robert Bolla (The Elegant Uncle), Dave Ruby (The Housewife's Dream Lover), David Morris (The Tennis Pro) & Debbie Revenge (Tonight's Dinner). Running time : 77 minutes.

The glorious Georgina Spelvin today : with husband (left) and our own main man Steven Morowitz (right)