Peter Savage – Sylvia AKA A Saint, a Woman, a Devil (1977)
One of the oddest mixes of drive-in craziness and explicit sex, Raging Bull co-writer Peter Savage’s X rated adaptation of The Three Faces Of Eve finally comes to home video fully uncut with all the mind-boggling plot twists and X rated action fully intact! Young Sylvia is a good, pure Christian, but her friends and family are noticing strange things happening to her. Sylvia is experiencing sudden transformations from a church going innocent into a sex-obsessed vixen, violently seducing every man (and woman) in sight! Shocked by these episodes, her beautiful sister seeks help from a psychiatrist (played by director Peter Savage) and the two of them begin to explore the dark secrets in Sylvia’s past that have lead to her unnatural sexual awakening. Better known under its re-issue title of Sylvia, Vinegar Syndrome brings this sexy cult film to DVD in its original cut and under its original title: A Saint, A Woman, A Devil !
The longest possible version of the X-rated cut is a whopping 108 minutes (16 min. longer than the After Hours release). There actually isn’t much difference in the sexual content here, rather a lot more plot and dialogue. The biggest addition is a lengthy, eerie childhood flashback, likely deleted because it features a child actress (Although there’s nothing remotely sexual about the girls scenes, it still shows mom ripping out her fingernails with pliers). It was common practice to remove any footage involving minors regardless of the context in films like this, a fate that also befell titles like Both Ways and turned the ensuing DVDs into heavily edited gibberish. Anyway, this version is 100% complete from the looks of it and has been kept it much better shape than the After Hours print; in fact, it’s darn near spotless. Interestingly, the framing is also radically different with the Vinegar Syndrome featuring far more headroom compared to the After Hours version, which is heavily cropped on top but features more at the bottom. (Click on the label names for the same shot from each release.) As for that R-rated version (which also features the Saint title), it’s also really well done and comparable to the usual alternate soft cuts of the time with some alternate angles, takes, and edits substituting for the raunchier original footage.