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Barbara Broadcast (VCA)

Barbara Broadcast (VCA)

Studio: VCA
Category:  Classic , Couples , Feature film
Directed by:
Starring: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Released on: 
Where to buy:DVD NewDVD RentStreaming/Download
Principal Skinner's ratings for Barbara Broadcast (VCA):
Overall Rating 4 stars
Barbara Broadcast (VCA) overall rating 4 stars
Female Looks Barbara Broadcast (VCA) Female looks rating 4 stars
Male Looks Barbara Broadcast (VCA) Male looks rating 2.5 stars
Sex Barbara Broadcast (VCA) Sex rating 4 stars
Plot/Acting Barbara Broadcast (VCA) Plot/Acting rating 4 stars
Extras Barbara Broadcast (VCA) DVD Extras rating 5 stars
Audio/Video Quality Barbara Broadcast (VCA) A/V Quality rating 4 stars
Rating Scale
Reviewed by Principal Skinner  on  2/13/2001

While BARBARA BROADCAST is a true classic in the annals (or is that "anals?")of adult movies, I must admit that this film has never been, and probably would never will be, a favorite of mine despite this superb DVD presentation by VCA Classics. As it so happens, my ardent interest in porn coincided with a time where videotape reigned supreme, and where any incompetent with a video camera, a flood light, and a hotel room could easily make their own pornographic masterpiece. Suffice to say, I completely missed the era of true blue movie classics of the seventies and early eighties (which included titles like DEEP THROAT, INSATIABLE, ROOMMATES, and BEHIND THE GREEN DOOR) for which porn historians like Jim Holliday sing their praises. Still, though I lack the cultural background to appreciate fully the golden age of adult movies, their overall erotic effect is not lost upon me, nor should it be lost upon anyone who enjoys watching carnally raw, hot sex. Under that criteria, and after almost twenty years, BARBARA BROADCAST proves itself to be pretty damn good porn.

This movie (as in shot-on-film motion picture, and not an ED-Beta or Digital 8mm video) was originally released in the seventies, and looks it; Generation XXX-ers will probably find all the dated costumes and settings to be quite quaint, to say the least. Nevertheless, as a form of adult entertainment, BARBARA BROADCAST succeeds quite well in erotic content, due in large part to the stunning presence of Annette Haven, perhaps one of the most attractive women to ever appear in porn. At a time when most actresses of that era would never be mistaken for Andrew Blake Girls, the sensual great looks of the dark-haired and slender Annette Haven brought a true sense of class and beauty to her films. Now retired, Ms. Haven's legendary status is well-deserved and her appeal is on ample display here, as she assumes the role of the title character.

Even at a relatively short running time of one hour, fifteen minutes, none of the hardcore scenes feel the least bit rushed. Instead, Henry Paris directs his story so that we're not bogged down by endlessly repetitive action. The visual economy is effective, and we never feel like we're being cheated on the all-important fucking and sucking scenes. Most of the sex occurs throughout the film with such nonchalance (especially in the opening restaurant segment), that one almost forgets that BARBARA BROADCAST, is first and foremost, a "dirty" movie. The story is simple: Annette plays sex-expert Barbara who is interviewed by a reporter played with convincing wide-eyed naivete by CJ Laing, who in turn later gets seduced by her alluring subject. Fans of Ms. Haven will be glad to know that she participates in a healthy number of scenes, including an brief blowjob in the opening restaurant setting (which is full of oral sex scenes and a once risque interracial scene between an African-American woman and a white man), as well a full straight scene with , and an ending lesbian affair with C.J. Laing. The most alluring element of Ms. Haven's performance lies in her slow and sexy approach to every scene, allowing the passion to build with sensuous kissing and plenty of foreplay. Needless to say, she looks great throughout the film and her all- natural, non-siliconed, non-pierced and non- tattooed body is a pleasureable change of scenery from today's here- today, gone-tomorrow girls.

Perhaps the most notable feature of this DVD is the inclusion of some (but apparently not all) previously "censored" material, which has been restored to completion for the first time in years. Included in this previously edited video is a scene of C.J. Laing urinating in a bowl in a kitchen, and Jamie Gillis indulging in some sex and bondage with Constance Money (a similar, but far less explicit scene was removed from LET'S GET IT ON WITH AMBER LYNN). It should be noted that the past exclusion of this footage seems to have been a company decision of prior restraint in order to avoid general legal problems as well as specific obscenity issues. As I understand it, this DVD version is still not 100% completely unedited from the original release, although it surely has a longer running time than any other recent video incarnation. While the quality of these scenes is all a matter or personal taste and opinion (no truly hardcore sex scenes are on display in the Gillis/Money scene), VCA should be applauded for leaving the film in its (almost) original form with all the controversial scenes intact (despite the fact that the political climate of the next four years may be less favorable towards adult entertainment).

It is also worth noting that this controversial scene (as it is revealed on the commentary track) is actually an outtake from MISTY BEETHOVEN, which reflects a time when directors would actually pare down their material in the interest of advancing the story or not compromising the integrity of their films (compare this decision with most directors of today who desperately pad their material with lackluster sex scenes).

Contrary to the extras listing, it is not director Henry Paris who comments upon the film, but rather Jamie Gillis and Gloria Leonard (who has nothing to do with the film and even admits to being puzzled as to why she's even there). However, both commentators are good at what they do, and it helps that Ms. Leonard is there for Mr. Gillis to tell his stories and respond to her prompting questions. Proving that experience and knowledge can add a lot to any work of art, their back and forth banter greatly enhances one's appreciation of this film, and offers some surprisingly enjoyable insight into the history of porn.

The music has that hauntingly familiar electric guitar and Hammond organ arrangements, accompanied by whimsical Henry Mancini-esque jazzy orchestrations, which were so typical of porno films in that historical era. In truth, however, porn scores of the past two decades really haven't improved in quality or originality that much at all: with the exception of Andrew Blake and John Leslie films, all features can be dated by the derivative popular music of their time (check out any late eighties cheapie video release, and you'll find variations of Huey Lewis' "I Want a New Drug" melody and guitar riff in a startling number of scenes...honest!). For those who ever watched the old PEOPLE'S COURT show (starring Judge Wapner, currently of ANIMAL COURT fame), the inclusion of that annoyingly catchy instrumental theme "melody" will be a mild shock to hear on the soundtrack, especially when it accompanies Mr. Gillis going down on a chain shackled Constance Money. The score to this movie, credited to "Music Soundtrack Service," has more than likely been culled from public domain sources, thus avoiding any copyright problems (trust me, this is highly important information for those who might want to download the music to BARBARA BROADCAST via Napster).

The overall picture quality is good, but the film stock is definitely dated with a washed-out appearance typical of all movies produced during the seventies. There are all sorts of minor scratches and dropouts which litter the picture throughout, but nothing significant which would distract your attention from the story or the sex. Again, kudos to VCA for coaxing the best picture possible from what must have been a difficult master source.

The extras on this disc are remarkable. Usually, a VCA Classic release doesn't get the stellar "Criterion Collection" treatment which a landmark video usually deserves. In fact, up until now, most titles under this label have been sorely short-shrifted in terms of extra features (usually the consumer gets a photo gallery, a chapter selection feature, an outdated listing of VCA's catalog of DVDs, and a mis-named biography section which contains little to no information). BARBARA BROADCAST, on the other hand, includes the aforementioned running commentary, an on- screen discussion by Jim Holliday, a set of interviews and a "Hall of Fame Gallery" which spotlights some of VCA's best and brightest stars of yesteryear. Unlike other supplementary materials on any average porn DVD, the extras here are useful, informative and fun, and raises the DVD productions standard for other studios to follow (only Private and Wicked offer as much; Vivid is usually content in giving us all sorts of interactive junk and out of context video excerpts).

Overall, this disc is a worthy --- nay, mandatory --- addition to any respectable porn collection. The debut of BARBARA BROADCAST on DVD is newsworthy, indeed.

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