L'Amour (1984)

Marga Aulbach, who had successfully produced Anthony Spinelli's indelible 1981 classic The Dancers as "Michele Ames", attempted to corner the couples film market in a more creative capacity for which she had the good sense to accept the assistance of Jack Remy. Best known for his superlative skills as a camera man, Remy has also proved himself a decidedly decent dirty movie director with the likes of The Mistress, Girls on Fire and Looking for Mr. Goodsex. His invaluable input on this joint effort must have been considerable as L'Amour effectively turns out to be a far more fully realized porno project than Aulbach's subsequent solo flights with the dispiritingly pedestrian How Do You Like It? and Thought You'd Never Ask, shot back to back.

When ex-husband Vince (played with seemingly effortless laidback charm by veteran Harry Reems) - whose business is in dire straits due to the spending habits of his new and much younger trophy wife Gloria (the wildly popular Angel, not much of an actress though she does spoiled and petulant all too well) - fails to meet his alimony payments, Ellen Brewster (Kay Parker) decides to move back in with teenage son Mark (Tom Byron at the beginning of an exceptionally longrunning industry career) in tow. Predictably, this causes friction for all involved, not least for Vince who still harbors feelings for his former spouse who is now dating his best friend, divorce attorney Jerry, sympathetically portrayed (which is no mean feat, considering his profession !) by the late great Jamie Gillis. Meanwhile, Mark falls deeply in lust with pretty diner waitress Pam (very early Shanna McCullough) whose efforts to elude her dad's strict supervision cause further complications.

The captivatingly cute storyline proves this movie's standout saving grace, culminating in a nicely sustained round of musical beds leading to new and sometimes surprising couples straight out of French farce. Feydeau with fornication, anyone ? Remy's first-rate cinematography makes the most of the female pulchritude on display with seasoned class act Parker playing mother hen to the most succulent starlets of the mid-'80s as well as easily stealing their thunder from an acting point of view. Both Angel and Shanna went on to superstardom, as did of course Ginger Lynn who distressingly disappears after her opening bit with Gillis, their chemistry which would reach boiling point in Kirdy Stevens' superlative Taboo IV already much in evidence. Watch out for an early appearance by Nikki Randall (billed as "Rachel Whitney"), who succeeded Jamie Summers in Vivid's popular Brat series and wound up second-stringing for Pasta porn mogul Joe D'Amato in the '90s following an ill-advised boob job, as one of the girls picked up by Reems and Gillis on their drunken night out. The other "girl" in this scene is transsexual Ivory Essex who was predictably much better suited to the freak show mentality of Kim Christy's Corrupt Desires.

Sexually, the film's no more adventurous than most of the female-oriented features of the period. Yet while none of the encounters are particularly graphic (and even cum shots are kept to an inoffensive minimum), they are predominantly warm and friendly and apparently performed by people who genuinely like each other, which makes them fun to watch. The May/December lesbian number between Angel and Parker is particularly memorable. And good luck on trying to get that saccharine Nina Lark title song out of your head, a tearful ballad Anne Murray would have given her left tit to warble back in her heyday !

Directed by Jack Remy & Marga Aulbach. Written by Aulbach & Chester H. Carlti. Produced by Aulbach for Caballero Control Corporation. Photographed by Remy. Music by Daniel Boules. Starring Kay Parker (Ellen Brewster), Angel (Gloria), Harry Reems (Vince Brewster), Jamie Gillis (Jerry), Tom Byron (Mark Brewster), Shanna McCullough (Pam Wilson), Ginger Lynn (as Ginger) (Stacey), Nikki Randall (as Rachel Whitney) (Leslie) & Ivory Essex (Samantha). Running time : 85 minutes.

Like fine wine, she only improves with age : the effortlessly classy Kay Parker