When the history of adult filmmaking is explored, a lot of lip service is given to the “porno chic” era ushered in by Deep Throat and Behind The Green Door. However, the truth is that era was pretty short lived and only covers a small percentage of the adult films produced during that era. Most of the people working in this business were cranking them out as quick as possible, minimizing story and artistic flourishes to get to the sex as quickly as possible. The less expenses involved in the mise en scene, the better.
As a result, there’s a lot of junk in this era of adult cinema. However, cheap does not necessarily mean bad — and The Chambermaid offers proof that sex-flick quickies from this era could have a modicum of style and wit. The plot is simplicity itself: a pair of hotel maids (Valerie Marron, Mary Stuart) decide to supplement their working class salaries by giving hotel visitors a little “extra service” in exchange for better tips.
Their subsequent adventures involve the seduction of a newlywed couple (Eric Edwards, Lynn Stevens), with the female getting roped into the tricks-for-tips fun when a businessman requests a party. A friend (Andrea True) of the maids joins in to help make up the numbers, leading to a game of musical boudoirs that leads to plenty of carnal and comedic complications.
The result is better that you’d expect from the two-day wonder division of adult cinema. The performers have a nice, laid-back quality and a surprising flair for comedy. The stars of note here are Edwards, who would be a mainstay of adult films into the 1990’s, and True, who would later score a chart hit with the disco classic “More, More, More.”
Whether improvised or scripted, the situations these performers get into are surprisingly funny, with a series of identity switcheroos and double-takes that conjure up fond memories of See You Next Wednesday (the fake porn film seen in An American Werewolf In London). The director goes uncredited but he or she had pretty decent visual instincts when it came to filming the sex: the expected genital close-up shots are supplemented with better-than-average coverage, including a surprising amount of wide shots that allow the viewer to take in both performers.
In short, The Chambermaids offers a fun trip through the flipside of porno chic. If you’re interested in going beyond the name-checked classics, this a worthwhile quickie to add to your list.
DVD Notes: this rarity recently got a DVD release from Impulse Pictures. The full-frame image was drawn from a rare surviving print source so it has a certain grindhouse scratchiness to it. That said, it’s so rare to get micro-budget adult fare from this era in anything approaching a watchable form so fans will be happy to get this film-sourced version. There are no extras.