This 2-disc package compiled by the genuinely dirty-looking (as in, unwashed) 42nd Street Pete purports to highlight the best of the legendary John Holmes' career.

Disc 1 presents an early feature film in the form of DEAR PAM - directed under a pseudonym by Roberta Findlay (ANYONE BUT MY HUSBAND; SNUFF).

A light-hearted dig against the moral majority, this begins with three members of the fictional Decency and Morality League - Rose (Jennifer Jordan), Barton (Tony Perez) and Richard (Holmes) - strolling through a wet city street while reading an advice column penned by agony aunt Pam Slanders (Crystal Sync).

All three are impressed with Pam's counselling techniques and agree she should be nominated for their upcoming award of Most Moral Woman of the Year. But first, they must pop in on Pam to ensure she meets their strict criteria.

Pam meanwhile is busy pleasuring herself at her desk with a vibrator. When the League walk into her office she quickly hides it and greets them politely. Unfortunately when she coughs, the vibrator falls out from under her desk - but she insists it's merely an eraser �

The League tell Pam of their exciting proposition, but advise that they need to select one of her readers' letters at random first, to make sure it's the kind of material they approve of.

Rose begins to read a letter from a reader called Harry (Eric Edwards, WATER POWER), who wants advice on a necklace he's misplaced. In flashback, we get to see how the necklace (a huge blingy monstrosity) got lost.

The flashback starts with Harry dining in a restaurant with his secretary Gladys (the gorgeous C J Laing, SEX WISH). They get frisky and end up rutting doggy-style. Later that day, the horny Harry has sex with his mistress in a bathtub. After ejaculating across her back, he winds down with her - until she kills the mood by announcing that she's pregnant to him.

The League read on with disgust as Harry retires home in his letter, reeling from his mistress' news. In flashback, we see Harry make himself feel better by screwing his sleeping stepdaughter Sandy (Ginger Snaps). It's during this encounter that Harry's necklace becomes loose and winds up falling into Sandy's fanny. But Harry is oblivious to this - he wants Pam's advice on how he should determine where to find the necklace: with whom did he lose it?

The League are suitably outraged by the letter and suggest it may be enough to ruin Pam's chances of winning their coveted award. But first, Richard suggests, the League must take to the streets individually and interview all the people mentioned in the letter, to ascertain its authenticity.

Predictably, the League's house calls lead to indiscriminate fucking - each time, the necklace getting surreptitiously passed from one sweaty body to the next.

After much fucking and sucking, Richard returns to Pam's office to tell her that everything in the letter was true. He also takes the opportunity to seduce her while his colleagues are absent.

It all leads to the grand awards ceremony, in which Pam duly wins her award, Harry turns up irate that his letter was dissected so publicly, and the whole shebang develops unsurprisingly into an orgy.

Cheap, cheery and clearly a lot of fun to film, DEAR PAM offers a satirical swipe at the patronising mobs rallying against pornography in the 1970s while keeping the gags frequent and performances bubbly, so as not to bog the film down with political motivation.

It's a desperately cut-price film, with sparse offices and house rooms doubling for sets, and dialogue recorded in post-production then later added (clumsily) to the visuals. But it hardly matters. What's more important is that we get plenty of high energy bonking and amiable characters to lap up, and it's all delivered in a brisk, a-wink-and-a-nudge style. Holmes even manages to look quite attractive in this film! On an incidental note too, Holmes manages to stay hard in most of his scenes, unlike his later works where he's often flaccid.

The film is presented uncut in anamorphic 1.78:1 and looks very good considering it's age. Images are solid and sharp, while colours are bright and free from bleeding. Specks and lines are evident of course, but in the main this is a reliable transfer of a relatively obscure film.

The English mono audio is generally level and clear throughout, with only very minor hissing on occasion.

There's no scene-selection menu, but you can rush through the film if need be, by way of 14 chapters.

Extras on disc 1 include a 'forced' 7-minute video introduction to the film from 42nd Street Pete, explaining why he chose this film to showcase Holmes. We also get trailers for 10 titles, including SYLVIA and GRINDHOUSE OCCULT COLLECTION.

Disc 2 offers 10 'loops' ranging from the late 1960s to the early 1970s, all shot silently on grainy 8mm, and all starring Holmes. Averaging around 7 minutes apiece in length, these soon become extremely samey in content - but brief outlines (along with the titles Pete has given them) are offered below:

"Dancing Fool" - Holmes and a girl friend get it on in black-and-white.

"Holmes 2" - the big man in colour (as are the remaining loops), here beginning quite tenderly with some kissing and cuddling on a sofa, before degenerating into the inevitable blowjob, sex and nice facial.

"Rough Stuff and Two Blondes" - a curious piece that finds 2 completely different films spliced into one, a'la THE EVIL CAMERAMAN. These show Holmes in different stages of fashion. Some oddball bondage footage kicks things off, before the more conventional finish.

"John To Go" - more boy + 2 girls shenanigans, this time with the added bonus of illiterate subtitles.

"Hose Down" - ends with a messy facial, the aftermath of which we seem to linger on for aeons.

"Deep Throat 2" - a busty redhead lives up to the title. John looks very amused. Good stuff.

"Big John Part 2" - an attractive filly gets the Holmes treatment beside an outdoor swimming pool.

"Big Dick 2" - a pretty girl goes red in the face while Holmes porks her, then giggles after taking his load on her face.

"Big Dick 3" - Holmes in the 69 position with a hot brunette.

"John's Orgy" - 6 girls and 3 guys. Enough said?

A static menu page allows you to "Play All" loops at once, or select titles at random. Each loop is presented uncut in anamorphic 1.78:1. They are all presented without audio. Image quality ranges from the grainy, the speckly and the washed out - but all are watchable and are of the usual standard if you've come across this type of stuff before (ahem).

Each loop comes with it's own video introduction from Pete, who continues to portray himself as a genuinely grubby character. There's also a 2-minute video outro from Pete at the end of the loops.

Extras on disc 2 are trailers for 12 more titles.

An excellent 8-page booklet rounds out this generous package, with colour photos of Holmes' 13-inch prick in various mouths and really good liner notes from Pete. Frank and fascinating, Pete's essay on Holmes is a recommended read.

John Holmes was a scuzzball - a liar, a thief, a junkie and possibly even a murderer. He was someone who didn't think twice about continuing to work without protection, hiding the fact that he had AIDS from his unwitting female colleagues. What a twat. But he is also arguably still to this day the biggest male name the porno industry has produced, and as a showcase for his talent this 2-disc package is a raw and honest snapshot of why he was so revered.

Review by Stuart Willis

Released by After Hours Cinema
Region 1 - NTSC
Not Rated
Extras :
see main review