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Opening of Misty Beethoven, The

Studio: VCA
Category:  Classic , Comedy , Feature film
Directed by:
Starring: , , , , , , ,
Released on: 
Where to buy:DVD NewDVD Rent
andyblake's ratings for Opening of Misty Beethoven, The:
Overall Rating 5 stars
Opening of Misty Beethoven, The overall rating 5 stars
Female Looks Opening of Misty Beethoven, The Female looks rating 2.5 stars
Male Looks Opening of Misty Beethoven, The Male looks rating 2.5 stars
Sex Opening of Misty Beethoven, The Sex rating 4 stars
 
Plot/Acting Opening of Misty Beethoven, The Plot/Acting rating 5 stars
Extras Opening of Misty Beethoven, The DVD Extras rating 4 stars
Audio/Video Quality Opening of Misty Beethoven, The A/V Quality rating 3.5 stars
Worth$23.00
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Reviewed by andyblake  on  2/8/2001
This 1976 “Golden Age” classic is, by critical consensus, the best adult film of all time. It was directed by Henry Paris, a stage name for Radley Metzger, who directed several soft-core movies of the 1960s, including The Dirty Girls (1964), The Alley Cats (1965), Carmen, Baby (1967), Therese and Isabelle (1968), Camille 2000 (1969), and The Lickerish Quartet (1970). It’s safe to say he is more famous for this film than for any other; millions more people have seen Misty Beethoven than have seen any of those non- explicit movies. By the way, I’m not talking out of school by giving his real name; on the commentary track of this disk, Jamie Gillis and Gloria Leonard use his real name repeatedly. They aren’t talking out of school either, because some quick Internet research on any number of sites would give you his real name.

The plot is an x-rated takeoff on George Bernard Shaw’s 1916 play “Pygmalion” which was the basis for Lerner and Loewe’s successful Broadway musical and Academy Award-winning film, “My Fair Lady.” The Eliza Doolittle part is played by Constance Money. (Supposedly, Metzger gave her the nom de porn “Constance Money” because she was constantly asking for more money.) Money plays a street hustler named Misty Beethoven who gives hand jobs in seedy adult theaters and flophouses. Jamie Gillis, back when he was young and good looking, plays the Prof. Henry Higgins role, Dr Seymour Love, an author and sexologist. He meets Misty in one of those seedy adult theaters. Later they run into the Col. Pickering character, Seymour’s publisher, Geraldine Rich, who, as Seymour tells Misty when he introduces them “is both very Geraldine and very rich.” Geraldine is played by “one hit wonder” Jacqueline Beudant, and what a shame we can’t find her in any other movies. Love and Rich decide they are going to turn poor, unerotic Misty Beethoven into porn publisher Lawrence Lehman’s next “Goldenrod Girl.” Seymour drills her repeatedly on the erotic arts, until she can get three men off simultaneously using only her hands and her mouth.

For excellence of plot, dialogue, acting, sets, and humor, this film has no peers in the x-rated universe. Today, most porn films are shot in one day. A lavish Paul Thomas production for Vivid might shoot for five or six days. Metzger took three weeks to shoot this film. It was made to be shown in adult theaters, not popped into the VCR, and it played in one theater in Washington D.C. for 6 years running. There are exterior shots in New York, Paris, and Rome, along with some very impressive interior locations. The script has such witticisms as “What’s the biggest difference between Rome and New York?” “There are more Italians in New York.” The female performers generally were not as good looking in 1970s porn as they are today, but you take the good with bad, and Beudant and Money are nice looking enough. No fake boobs, no shaved pudenda, just a naturalness and a realness that you don’t find in today’s porn. Al Goldstein used to call videos he really liked “basic adult video library.” This film is basic adult DVD library. It’s a must. By today’s standards, it is perhaps the perfect couples’ film.

VCA has done a very nice job with the disk. There are a lot of spots and speckles on the film (it was shot in super 16 mm, but blown up to 35 mm for its theatrical release). Considering it’s a 25 year old porn film, however, it is in better shape than you would expect. The DVD transfer was fine, and the sound is adequate. VCA has restored some footage, in which Misty uses a strap-on dildo to penetrate a man, that was excised from most of the VHS versions floating around. They have also collected some stills, and as mentioned above, they got two of the performers, Jamie Gillis and Gloria Leonard, to do an audio commentary track. Too bad they couldn’t get the still living Radley Metzger; it would have been interesting to have his comments on the disk. All-in-all, VCA did a good job with this all-time erotic classic. They simultaneously released another Metzger classic, Barbara Broadcast, on DVD, but there are two more Metzger films, Naked Came the Stranger and The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann that I would like to see released on DVD.


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