Richard Kanter – Desires Within Young Girls (1977)
Producer Harold Lime, the Louis B. Mayer of porn, set out to make big studio-type movies with all star casts, lavish production values and an upbeat message. Before hitting his stride in his justly praised collaborations with Gary Graver a/k/a “Robert McCallum” as the ’70s gave way to the ’80s (ECSTASY GIRLS, AMANDA BY NIGHT, INDECENT EXPOSURE), he had already teamed up with another co-conspirator from his sexploitation days when he was better known as “Ted Paramore”, the man who gave the world the classic “nudie cutie” NOT TONIGHT, HENRY. The filmmaker in question was the sadly overlooked Richard Kanter, who had made the popular RIBALD TALES OF ROBIN HOOD prior to embarking on an all too short-lived explicit career as “Ramsey Karson”. Though his initial alignment with Lime remains his finest achievement, he would also direct the massively underrated “loop carrier” UNTAMED and the bloated if occasionally effective SENSUAL ENCOUNTERS OF EVERY KIND for him. For DESIRES WITHIN YOUNG GIRLS, a title forever targeted by moral crusaders because of its supposed pedophile suggestion (oh, get a life, you lot !), this twosome emulated Old Hollywood in their choice of material as well as style with a sexed-up rendition of the Marilyn Monroe soufflé HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE.
When aging gold-digger Madeleine Stone (the incomparable Georgina Spelvin) embraces widowhood for the second time as husband number 2 (John Leslie in fairly convincing old man make-up) comes and goes at the same time, if you catch my drift, she finds her amorously amassed fortune dwindling rapidly. The time is ripe to call on her two daughters from her first marriage who have been kept stashed away at a posh boarding school out of mom’s way. Now that she considers herself too old to trap a wealthy spouse, Maddie wants her girls to pick up where she left off and marry into money. While adventurous Cissy (Annette Haven displaying rarely tapped comedic abilities) is pretty much game for any scheme her mother could dream up, the more level-headed Penny (unjustly forgotten Clair Dia who had co-starred with Spelvin in Graver’s excellent 3 A.M.) refuses to go along now that she has found love with her drama teacher Marc (also played by John Leslie). A maiden attempt to get Cissy hitched to a rich ranch owner’s hilariously cowpoke son (“Radio” Ray Wells) doesn’t provide the expected result. So Maddie decides to throw her offspring to the wolves – pity the wolves ! – by attending an elegantly perverted soirée thrown by her old friend and partner in slime Harrison, another expert portrayal of sophisticated sleaze by the legendary John Alderman a/k/a “Frank Hollowell”.
This lengthy sequence makes up the meat of the movie and comprises several well-done erotic encounters. A stroke of genius caused the casting of near lookalikes Bonnie Holiday, star Haven’s erstwhile girlfriend who introduced her to the industry and subsequently made history, and all but forgotten Joan Devlon (who did her finest work in William Dancer’s seldom seen NIGHT PLEASURES) for the obligatory Sapphic session, as the model and the snooty Baroness respectively, scored with the kind of mock Morricone music that always seemed to accompany such scenes in ’60s saucy Euro fare. Cissy’s supposed S&M session with campy General Chesley No one (who appeared in such sexploitation classics like Walt Davis’s outrageous EVIL COME EVIL GO and Stu Segall’s SADDLE TRAMP WOMEN) remains one of the funniest moments in any sex comedy. Penny expertly turns off – no, that’s not a typo ! – millionaire playboy Turk Lyon with Cissy stepping in for some carnal comfort. Dominatrix Sabrina (who had a small part in Bob Chinn’s very funny HARD SOAP HARD SOAP) wanders about threatening various participants yet remains all talk and little action. One of this reviewer’s all time favorite scenes comes – and, boy, does it ever ! – in the gentle deflowering of devastatingly handsome Jon Martin (those familiar with his near-mummified appearance of the late ’80s are in for a serious shock) at the hands and so much more of achingly sweet Gail Lawrence a/k/a “Abigail Clayton” and fly by night starlet Stacy Evans. Annette’s frequent screen partner Paul Thomas provides the romantic capper as Maddie’s plans are sabotaged, or are they ?