Jerry Douglas – Both Ways (1975)
sarabay1978 (IMDb Review) wrote:
It’s folly Erwin, FOLLY!
It’s not very often when so-called “pornographic” films mix both straight and gay sex(mainly due to the obvious; the audience will not be aroused), but two films that did, 1972s SCORE and 1975s BOTH WAYS not only interweave the gay sex into the story but are also two of the most unique and innovative hardcore films in existence. While Radley Metzger’s 1972 classic Score was an artistic study of swinger culture, Jerry Douglas’s 1975 film Both Ways takes a far more intellectual approach to the subject and instead creates a powerful family melodrama.
Gerald Grant (who, by the way also portrays the exact same role in Score) stars as a bored and lonely (?)husband who falls for an anonymous college student he picks up in a gay bar. His wife (notable hardcore film starlet and future disco superstar Andrea True) immediately becomes suspicious of him after discovering the mans jacket in her husband’s car. Meanwhile, their constantly eavesdropping housekeeper Ms. Pauline keeps a close eye on both the private life of Grant and True while minding their five year old son David (played by a 6-8 year old looking boy).
It soon becomes apparent that what appeared at first to be a casual fling between Grant and his young male friend is becoming much more (and much too) intimate. Everything goes to pieces however when Grant and True are invited to a neighbors party where none other than COLLEGE BOY himself is bartending!!! Both Ways is one of the most intelligent and honest studies of broken homes and broken marriages to come out of recent American cinema. The story (which is layered with countless subplots, the funniest of which is one involving Pauline and her flamboyant antique dealer friend Erwin who decide that Grant is being blackmailed (!)So they decide to “help him out”, only adding to his troubles) is well developed, but sadly not developed enough (the film should have been longer). The acting is far better than in most hardcore cinema (with special kudos going to True for her astounding performance); in fact the only bad actors are those in non-sex parts! The film is also quite well shot, although the camera work is a bit jerky at times, and the POV shots and zooms do sometimes tend to give the viewer a bit of a headache, although the sort of home movie look to certain scenes only adds to the films realism.
I would suppose that the film’s only major flaw is the fact that at times the viewer must stop and reflect on certain previous scenes in order to make sense of the current one. Furthermore, for the films first twenty minutes it is almost impossible to gauge what is going on, where it is going on, whether or not these scenes are flashbacks, whether or not the whole film is a flashback, but in the end though, all these questions are thankfully resolved. This is that rare type of hardcore film that really does keep the viewers eyes poised on the screen, mainly because THE PLOT IS REALLY INTERESTING! OK, so the final stats (out of 10): Acting: 7 Story/Script: 8 Direction: 7.5 Cinematography: 6.5 Production Values: 9 Overall: 8 Get this film (at least make an effort to see it). Shot on Super-16mm film in New York City and Long Island New York in 1975. In color, Rated X. Original running time: 80:43. A Double Scorpio Release.
P.S. As of March 17 2006, I spoke to director Jerry Douglas who informed me that almost 15 minutes of plot have been removed by VCA, thus accounting for the films occasional incomprehensibility. Sad, very sad.