50 years ago, Gerard Domiano’s seminal classic, ‘THE DEVIL IN MISS JONES,’ was released to theaters. His groundbreaking film ‘DEEP THROAT’ was released a year prior, and it seemed as if this man would continue to helm inspired films that catch audiences off-guard and thrill critics.
The younger generations are spoiled. When they seek a quick release, the world is at their fingertips via social media, cam and hub sites, or their favorite creator’s personal vault directly to their inboxes on OnlyFans. All but gone are the days of linear storytelling in adult films. Sure, some bigger studios continue to produce narrative-driven films, but the purist of fans only consumes them. In today’s marketplace, PPV sells. And it sells well.
In a way, the older generations (calm yourselves, I’m not going full-stop boomer on you!) were spoiled, too. We had the best of cinematic adult entertainment. We had actors telling stories that celebrated the sexual revolution of the 60s and 70s on celluloid. And these filmmakers were doing it to deliver a product that could, and often would, see them spend time in jail, court, prison, and all for what? Art! And sex with a capital S-E-X!
And listen, many other journalists and documentarians have documented the era from conception to mob ties to artistic expression and free speech to the advent of video. I’ve recommended them before, but I urge you to seek out The Rialto Report for an excellent in-depth analysis of the Golden Age. I’m just here to wax poetic about a good film.
THE DEVIL IN MISS JONES is the story of Miss Jones (Georgina Spelvin), a 30-something that commits suicide by way of a razor blade, an open wrist, and a warm bath. Upon arriving in the afterlife, she is informed that her next stop will be Hell. Though she’s lived a pretty straightforward life, her final act is a big no-bueno. Since eternal damnation is next on the menu, she makes one final wish — to return to Earth to live a hedonistic life, if only for a few days. From here, the film goes head first into a beautiful art film that sent audiences and critics raving. Alongside Ms. Spelvin and her astonishing performance is none other than Harry Reems, another pioneer turned legend of the Golden Age, in a wonderful performance of sensual domination. Georgina and Harry share such a beautifully choreographed chemistry that it would be plausible to believe they had spent years honing their performance.
Performances are top-notch, of course, but another true star of this film is one you won’t see but how you see it. And that is the cinematography of Brazilian-born Jo?o Fernandes. In an era of harsh spotlights and subpar set designs, Jo?o’s use of softness to paint the scenes is the work of a true maestro behind the lens. As a result, the film comes across as an erotic dream because of Jo?o’s eye and serves as a top-billed star, i.e., the city of Chicago alongside Heath Ledger and Christian Bale in The Dark Knight.
I urge any fan of cinema or “fuck films” to check out what can be, and rightfully so, described as a pivotal moment in cinematic history alongside DEEP THROAT and BEHIND THE GREEN DOOR.
Born and raised in Rockford, IL., Jeremy spent his formative years in the dusty isles of local video stores. Eventually his “5 for $5 for 5 days” video rentals would lead to an underwhelming and short lived career in film and television production. His childhood fascination with the naked breasts featured in the “Friday the 13th” franchise prepared him for absolutely nothing in life. He currently resides in Southwestern Michigan living his best life as an introverted extrovert.
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