Anthony Spinelli was one of the finest west coast X rated filmmakers who ever lived. His films were often elaborate mixtures of psychodrama and mellowdrama, topped with smart, well written scripts and distinguishably good performances. Made on the coattails of Spinelli's first blockbuster, Sex World, Easy is a sure candidate to be worth a look.
The first 10 minutes of Anthony Spinelli's Easy is one of the most compelling openers ever seen in a hardcore film. Jessie St. James stars as Kate, a teacher who gets a bit too much attention from her male students. After being manipulated into sucking off a boy after class, she returns home only to be raped by one of the boy's friends at knife-point. But what makes matters strange is that she almost seems to enjoy it.
Kate retires from her teacher position and moves to a new city, but soon finds herself seducing a blind piano tuner. She's next picked up by a potbellied guy (director Anthony Spinelli in an amusing cameo) in a bar during which we learn that Kate's promiscuity may be the result of a messy divorce.
It seems that Kate just can't help herself sexually, whether she wants to or not. But, when Kate meets dream man Victor (Jack Wright), all finally seems to be well in her world, that is unless he has something to hide as well.
Easy Was shot in 1978, a few months after the release of Spinelli's two final films with Essex Pictures, those being China Sisters and Sex World, and while it is certainly better than the former, it doesn't even come close to holding a candle to the latter. While Jessie St. James does give a gripping performance as Kate and Spinelli supporting player Jack Wright is slimy as ever in the role of Victor, the film as a whole is a rather empty mess.
It seems like the script was at one time much longer and more complex but was watered down extensively. Potentially interesting sequences often begin, but then abruptly end without any kind of satisfying resolution. What's more is that the film's entire premise is so horribly clichéd, any attempt the film makes at throwing in an interesting twist is completely lost as it has been done times before, and frequently better.
Spinelli's fine direction of the cast and the genuine tension he's able to give certain scenes does make up somewhat for the extreme lack of a complex or original script, but not enough to be able to truly recommend this film. It's really a shame because, at times, Easy holds so much promise, but it the end barely delivers.
VCX has taken over the distribution of this and around 60 other titles originally put out by Cal Vista. Unfortunately for the viewers, this means that these releases are of VCX's low standards of quality instead of Cal Vista's relatively high standards. Though billed as "remastered," I'd hardly call feeding an old 3/4 inch tape into a computer in a lousy attempt to reduce noise a remastering job. Yes, as is always the case with anything VCX touches, it turns to and looks like shit. The film is presented in open matte 1.33:1 when it should be shown matted to 1.85:1. The sound level varies throughout and often has a hiss. There are numerous tracking lines and even a couple full picture dropouts. Essentially, the A/V quality of this release is a true shame. It should also be noted that VCX has done us the favor of bugging the film with their logo every 15 minutes.
In their wisdom, VCX has decided not to include the great audio commentary track with historian Jim Holiday which graced the former Nu-Tech release though they have included the original VHS art (hooray!) as well as some stills (not production, screen grabs), about 4 pages of the 7 page pressbook, and trailers for Eruption, Suzie Superstar, and two others which don't come to mind. The trailers, like the feature, are transferred from tape and look terrible.
The one good thing I can say about this release is that it's all here. Thankfully nothing has been removed or edited (as VCX frequently tends to do) and I can happily report that we get to see poor Jessie get "raped" all three times (sarcasm!).
Who Should See It?
Mainly fans of Spinelli and St. James. Her excellent performance and Spinelli's earnest, though mostly unsuccessful attempts to give the film moodiness are the only things this movie has going for it.
Who Should Skip It?
This movie is very sex heavy, so if your only experiences with Spinelli have been the much less carnal Sex World and Nothing to Hide, and that sort, this might not be a good film to watch. Also, if you're looking for a clever, interesting script, this one definitely fails to deliver.
Anthony Spinelli was one of the finest X rated filmmakers who ever lived and is responsible for some of the best X rated psycho/mellowdramas to ever grace a hardcore theatre. That said, even masters can mess up, and while I wouldn't go as far as calling Easy a complete failure, it's anything but a success. Spinelli certainly proved that he could and did better and unless you're a Spinelli or St. James completist, there's plenty better to be seen.