Prior to his 1995 murder (found dead beneath his own bath), Al Adamson made a name for himself over the years as one of the world's top purveyors of schlock entertainment. Movies to his credit include THE FEMALE BUNCH, BLOOD OF GHASTLY HORROR and SATAN'S SADISTS.
His 1974 effort THE NAUGHTY STEWARDESSES (aka FRESH AIR) was no doubt filmed to cash-in on the public's growing interest with the cross-over appeal of the then-burgeoning adult industry.
A stylish 'photo-clip' titles sequence (imagine the opening to an extremely low-budget James Bond affair!) precedes the simple yet laborious tale of four young friends determined to become successful flight stewardesses. Yes, that's the plot ... kind of.
But were this film intent on offering nothing more than the soft-core fumblings between a sexy teen stewardess and a randy pilot as is the case in the opening ten minutes, that would be fine - at least we'd know where we stood. Instead, the film shifts wildly between (unfunny) comedy and uninvolving drama.
The turning point of the film, when all sense of fun is forsaken, is when one hapless girl - Debbie (Connie Hoffman) - is lured blindly into the world of fashion photography by her taxi-driver/wannabe photographer boyfriend. We then follow her glamour shoots, juxtaposed with his unhappy degeneration into the world of directing porn cinema.
The couple are reunited in a later rape scene that really is the final nail in the coffin of a film almost hell-bent on removing all sexiness from it's flesh scenes. A moral of sorts seems evident - don't want to give too much away! - but it's unlikely you'll care too much by the time you reach the end of the 103 minute running time.
I really can't elaborate greatly on this film. It's a bore. Many, many scenes are filled with stock landscape footage of whatever location Adamson happened to be filming at. And in-between those moments, we're 'treated' to scenes of the girls playing with each other (no, not like that you dirty devil!!) while atrocious tourist music fills the soundtrack.
Comedy is promised but not delivered (unless you're prone to the odd moment of painful Benny Hill-esque slapstick). One 'hilarious' episode sees an elderly gent chatting up a barmaid, while nipping upstairs every five minutes to satiate his young vixen girlfriend's desires. He manages to hold two coherent conversations with both women while keeping them oblivious to his two-timing ...
As for the sex, it's not only soft - OK, I knew it would be - but surprisingly infrequent. It's also ugly .... the male lead must be at least 60 years old!!!
Hmmm ... not the best film in the world, then. But if you like Al Adamson in general then this will no doubt serve as a welcome addition to your collection. And, the disc?
The R0 disc looks mighty fine for a film almost 30 years old, although there is notable 'snow' on the picture occasionally (what do you expect?!?!). But it's a generally sharp and clear picture presentation here, with no unnecessary grain or artifacting. The film is presented in its original full-frame ratio, and fans will be delighted to know it's fully uncut. Restored from the original 35mm negative, this is presumably as good as we're ever going to see this movie looking.
Furthermore, the mono soundtrack offers no aural problems whatsoever - serving both the hipster dialogue and mock-60's Motown soundtrack well.
Seduction Cinema are renowned for strong releases within their 'Retro' catalogue, and this is no exception. OK, the film is nothing to write home about - but coming from the legendary Al Adamson/ Sam Sherman staple, it's bound to be sought after in select circles. The extras on the disc therefore will not disappoint fans.
First up is an incredibly honest and coherent audio commentary by producer Sherman (the film's actually better if you watch it with the commentary track playing!). His admission of the stupidity of the preposterous scene involving a young girl sitting in a hanging wicker chair, then having 'sex' with the old guy is refreshingly amusing.
We also get treated to the original theatrical trailer which - typically - makes the film look a lot more appealing than it actually is! Other trailers on the disc include BLAZING STEWARDESSES; CINDERELLA 2000 and THE POSSESSION OF NURSE SHERRI (all Adamson flicks).
There's a rare out-take scene from the filming of NAUGHTY that will please completists to no end, while the deleted scene is akin to watching your grandad sucking a hot young tart's nipples dry. However, at over 3 minutes long, this scene is probably the most erotic thing on the disc and it's difficult to see why it was ever deleted (censored, perhaps - but then that would rubbish the 'uncut & restored' boast on the cover, right?!).
Packaged in a keepcase and boasting 21 chapters for the main feature alone, there's no doubting this a good release.
Retro-Seduction have yet again provided a great disc for a long forgotten slice of 70s soft-core entertainment. There's no denying the effort that's been involved here - tracking down the original film negative, and acquiring a priceless commentary from producer Sherman. They have, as always, done themselves proud.
But the film itself? Well, it's all a matter of opinion of course ...!
Review by Stuart Willis
|Released by Retro Seduction Cinema|
|Region - All (NTSC)|
|Deleted scene, Trailer Vault|