Running Time: 75 min.
Production Date: 1980 - 1981
Director: Julia St. Vincent
Cast: John Holmes, Seka, Annette Haven, Jesse St. James, Georgina Spelvin, Linda Wong, Laurien Dominique, Kyoto, Eileen Wells, Chris Cassidy, Felecia Sanda, Kitty Shane, Bonnie Holiday, Christin Sarver, Fatima Hammoud, Melba Bruce, Candice Chambers, Laura Toledo, Fay Burd, Phardre, Jennifer Richards, Monique Starr, Laurie Smith, Jessica Temple-Smith, and Bob Chinn
Initial Expectations: Iíve heard a lot about this movie, and MG Media looks like theyíve done a great job. Hopefully itís as good as it looks.
Initial Reaction: Itís an amazing DVD of a very well done movie.
Who Should Watch It : Anybody interested in John Holmes.
Who Should Avoid It: Anybody looking for just a spank flick.
Audio /Video Quality: Although it does show itís age a little, Exhausted looks and sounds great. There are a few minor problems with the video, since the feature was shot on film and is twenty years old, but it looks as good or better than most shot on film features that are released today. The audio is a little uneven in spots, but it doesnít interfere with the feature much.
Music: The music is mostly classical during the compilations of Johnís scenes. It gives many of the scenes a very easy feeling and is well balanced with the rest of the audio.
False Advertising: The cover lists a photo gallery as being included on this DVD, but I couldnít find one. Itís a very minor thing to me, but there are some who really love them.
Menus: The menus fit the feature great. They have a very 1970s feel to them and a great animation separating them.
The Feature: Exhausted is a very rare and notable adult film. In its day, it was one of the most popular adult films to be made, even pulling a twelve year run of Deep Throat at the Pussycat Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. It didnít end there, with its influence even extending to the past few years as the major inspiration for the mainstream movie Boogie Nights (only John didnít need any prosthetics).
Since he first started in the adult film business, people have been fascinated with John Holmes. According to the legend, John made over twenty five hundred movies and bedded over fourteen thousand women (along with a few men). In addition to starring in movies, he worked as a gigolo at night. Exhausted shows quite a bit of John Holmes through interviews with John himself, Seka, and director Bob Chinn both on and off the set. Itís obvious Johnís interviews span quite a bit of time, as his style and aura change quite a bit throughout the feature. Interviews about John and his life are also included with quite a few people on the street. In addition to the interviews, many clips from Johnís movies are included to show what people were talking about in the interviews. Itís all very well balanced and helps to show many aspects of John. He rarely comes off as an extremely happy person, but does joke around quite a bit. More often that not he comes off as extremely flawed, although this could also be more hindsight than anything.
Surprisingly, one of the things that stuck with me most was one of the comments in the interview with Bob Chinn. He was being questioned about making the movies, and said that he was just trying to make porn that doesnít insult the audienceís intelligence. Itís a great answer and one thatís going to have me checking out more of his movies. Itís also some of why people noticed John. Yes, he has a schlong the size of a loaf of french bread, but people wanted to see more of his features for more than just seeing him as a sexual freak show.
If youíre at all interested in Big John Holmes, you have to pick up Exhausted . Itís a great blend of interviews with John Homes himself, Seka, and director Bob Chinn, interviews with people on the street, and scenes from Johnís movies. Exhausted ends up giving the viewer a good feel for John Holmes as he neared the end of his career.
Extras: The extras on Exhausted are every bit as good as the feature itself, even if it is missing a photo gallery. Of course, thereís a listing to a web site. Bios are included on John Holmes, Seka, Jesse St. James, Annette Haven, Georgina Spelvin, and Julia St. Vincent. John and Juliaís bios are quite extensive and deal quite a bit with the time the feature was shot, but the others are fairly brief.
Juliaís Diary from the time the movie was shot is also included. This seemed like kind of a trivial extra at first, but worked out quite well. Many of Juliaís moods about filming Exhausted come through as well as how hard John was to work with at the time. In addition to being able to view the diary, Julia also adds some commentary to some of the pages which fleshes out some of the entries. It ends up being a good addition to the extras package.
Certain to be of interest to many John Holmes fans is the twenty two minute interview with John Holmes. Although it takes place over a few reels of film, other than that itís an uncut interview so you get to see John, warts and all. Some of the questions are hard to hear and the audio track is slightly off from the video track, but it looks extremely good for its age. John jokes around quite a bit during the interview, and you can tell that he and Julia were fairly close. Very often in the interview John looks very uncomfortable talking about himself, and often tries as hard as he can to avoid some of the questions. He does get very serious at times, but itís often hard to tell when heís joking or dodging the question or being serious, especially after he denied using drugs in all seriousness. The interview is a huge addition to the feature. Some of the things John says are duplicated in the feature, but itís the longest straight interview on the DVD.
The other extremely notable extra is the commentary with three pioneers of the adult film industry, Julia St. Vincent, who directed Exhausted , Bob Chinn, the production director for Exhausted and a director who made many movies with John, and Gloria Leonard, the Grande Dame of Adult who sadly leaves after about the first hour. Itís a really amazing commentary. Julia talks about her inspiration for making the movie and the three of them talk quite a bit about making adult films in the golden age, including many of the precautions they had to take since it was illegal at the time. They also talk about what they call the Stepford Slut Syndrome in modern porn, with almost all of the women walking alike, talking alike, etc. They also do an amazing job identifying all of the performers in the clips and the movies they come from, with Bob Chinn taking a definite lead in the identification. The commentary adds a whole new level to Exhausted .
Themes: Documentary, straight, lesbian, and group
Raincoat Factor: Medium low
Overall: Currently, Exhausted can be found online for between $18 and $25 with several stores offering it for $18. If youíre at all interested in finding out about Big John Holmes, the person, you have to buy this DVD. The movie is excellent, as well as having a great transfer and extras.
Note to MG Media: I hope you continue to release classic adult films such as this. Itís one of the best classic DVDs Iíve seen. In the future, however, please pay a little closer attention when you list the extras on the cover.
If you have any questions or comments, please e- mail me .