Ah, the so-called “Couples Film” ! In the early ’80s, the adult industry desperately tried to appeal to female viewers by supplying “thoughtful” story lines and “realistic” sex, or so the pr machines were working hard to make us believe. More to the point, it proved a stillborn, mythical creature that was to have been all the rage – as it should have augmented box office takes by dragging in the punters’ better halves – but somehow wasn’t. The how and why are open to discussion. As far as I’m concerned, neither male nor female porn enthusiasts were holding their breath for soap opera plots dealing with unhappy relationships with lifeless, lovey dovey groping to match. Various genre critics have pointed out over the years that the best adult films have universal appeal and that the frequently misunderstood female viewer can appreciate a hot f*** as much as the average guy does.
One aspect of adult-oriented fare that really did benefit from a more sensitive approach though was the creation through writing and acting of believable female characters who were sexually both confident and independent rather than at the mercy of some “male chauvinist pig”. Husband and wife team “Edwin and Summer Brown” a/k/a director Edwin Durell and producer Sandra Winters pretty much made it their lifelong quest to fill this gap with a long list of adult features including FOR THE LOVE OF PLEASURE, IRRESISTIBLE and A THOUSAND AND ONE EROTIC NIGHTS catering to the tastes of more sophisticated adults willing to view women as far more than mere carnal playthings while still retaining all the heat that great adult entertainment should offer.
EVERY WOMAN HAS A FANTASY, which swept up most of the industry awards the year it was released, represents the culmination of this quest. The vignette-structured story provides an elegant framework for the richly varied sexual situations where the female characters serve to instigate rather than submit to the action. Glossy cinematography by Teru Hayashi and an infectious theme tune add up to an instant classic. Artistically successful husband and wife (he’s an actor, she’s an author) Ben and Teri Conti (John Leslie and Rachel Ashley, exhibiting superlative chemistry) have a great marriage that after a number of years still needs some spicing up. As Teri regularly meets up with her girlfriends, no boyfriends or significant others allowed, this naturally piques her husband’s interests. Not content with her just telling about their conversations or even her secretly taping them, he ends going along in drag as his wife’s out of town cousin. Doing his best TOOTSIE, John surprisingly pulls of this tightrope-walking turn ! Before we get to that, the ladies discuss their experiences and fantasies which the audience gets to see acted out.
Erica Boyer (who started out in Sam Weston’s wonderful NOTHING TO HIDE), looking fabulous, teases delivery guy Blake Palmer, Shauna Grant’s cheating boyfriend in ALL American GIRLS 2. Newscaster Kristara Barrington (unforgettable in Ron Sullivan’s JAILHOUSE GIRLS) dreams of having sex on the air in a scene now cut from US versions since Barrington apparently wasn’t quite 18 yet at the time of shooting. Older and bolder Shantell Day wants to get under the table at her husband’s poker parties and bucktoothed airhead Lisa Lake, Jerry Butler’s duplicitous girlfriend from TABOO 3, fantasizes about public sex at the opera. Ravishing Rachel supplies the highlight with a long sequence moving from a sexy phone call with a stranger (handsome Robert Byrne) from the personal ads to a motel room seduction with a surprise performance from his more than willing wife, played by the gorgeous Martina who bears more than a passing resemblance to fan favorite Abigail Clayton of 7 INTO SNOWY fame. A good-natured orgy with lucky Leslie the single male participant wraps up the proceedings.
Every aspect of production turns out to be top notch, giving this adult movie that much desired “real movie” feel that so much porn aspires to but rarely achieves. Not a single line of dialog is amateurishly spoken and when it’s time to get down ‘n’ dirty, these guys ‘n’ gals aren’t fooling’ around either ! For true fans of erotica, this is as good as it gets. Durell came back two years later for a sequel that’s almost an equal with Lois Ayres (formerly “Sondra Stillman”) supplanting Ryan. His otherwise excellent shot on video EVERY WOMAN HAS A FANTASY 3 however was a follow-up in name only with Juli Ashton and Steve Drake sorting out their marital woes in more typical f*** film fashion.