Winner of six AFAA Awards including Best Picture, Director, and Actress (now that says something), not to mention that the director is Gary Graver and the actress is Veronica Hart. A sure masterpiece.
What makes hardcore films from the 70s and 80s so interesting to me is the fact that when they are good, they are REALLY GOOD. Hollywood classic good. Alright, budget limitations aside, a few hardcore features from this period (this included) could easily have played general houses with much applause.
In probably her most acclaimed role, Veronica Hart (Jane Hamilton) plays Amanda, a former high class call-girl who now works more as a madam, while trying to break into "mainstream culture" with her boyfriend, Friday (Jamie Gillis). When Gillis asks her for a favor, to act as a dominatrix to some rich city alderman prick who will then push for a zoning change on a space Gillis wishes to turn into a night club, Hart sends two of her hooker friends, the drug addicted Samantha Fox and the smart mouthed Lisa DeLeeuw. DeLeeuw makes a few too many nasty digs at the client who drowns her in his pool. Realising that both Hart and Fox could identify him, he decides to off them too...
It's rare when the "good film" and hardcore are in the same sentence, but even rarer when "great film" and hardcore are in the same paragraph. However, that is exactly the case here. Amanda is as flawless as any tense thriller could be. Great performances abound, and Hart in particular is perfectly cast as a jaded hooker who wants to turn her life around. Richard Bolla is wonderful as a street-smart, but still kind hearted cop. Even Ron Jeremy is good (but not great).
Gary Graver's spot on direction gives the film of a wonderful low budget late 70s made for TV style thriller. His cinematography is crisp and pointed. The moody lighting gives the film a noirish vibe in places and enhances Bolla's Sam Spade style detective.
The most impressive aspect of this all around great film is the outstanding script which is not only one of the finest pieces of writing to emerge from the hardcore industry but actually contains some of the finest characters ever created for a hardcore film.
Ronny Romonovich's excelent score mixes some cool easy listening pieces with tense action tracks and even a fun, cheesy song.
Amanda By Night is a must for any cinephile of lover of the cast or director.
The sex is nicely placed through the film and doesn't seem forced, with the exception of a short scene in a party. The sex scenes are also short enough so that the plot is never overshadowed by them.
None that I could find (unless you count a "slide show" consisting of screen grabs).
Sadly, this film has been butchered for DVD. Unlike other films which have been censored in which entire scenes are usually omitted, here chunks of scenes are removed. Although most of the cuts are peripheral, one sequence truly stands out as an obvious examply of the butchering which has been inflicted on this classic. It is a slow motion sex scene between Samantha Fox and Jamie Gillis which is reduced from aprox. 5 min to to 3 or so. The cuts are horribly apparent due to the constant cutting of the music and choppy editing which is incongruent with the rest of the film.
Luckly, none of the cuts interfere with the flow of the film but still, why cut anything from this film? Especially since the only reason for the cuts would seem to be to fit the film onto a 90 minute tape as opposed to a 120 minute tape. The film has been reduced from 91:23 to aprox. 86 min. A real shame.
The DVD (A & V, etc.)
Poor would be an understatement as the reproduction on this DVD is terrible. The black levels are horribly washed out, there are next to no reds or any other strong colors. Everything looks grainy. This DVD was made from a horrible VHS and even has an echo at times.
There is also a layering problem as the frame freezes and the time code restarts. As a result of this, you cannot rewind to previous chapters. To add to the problems, the DVD simply cuts off before the ending credits are complete.
A truly great film gets one of the worst DVD treatments I've EVER seen.