Hot Legs (1979)

Former Playboy model Gail Palmer granted her “real world credibility” to the adult industry by producing and on occasion allegedly directing (as in the case of the CANDY movies with Carol Connors) several high profile, big budget porn epics as the swinging ’70s gave way to the egotistical ’80s. Many of these were made – regardless of what the credits sometimes claimed – by veteran filmmaker Bob Chinn, who had put the formidable John C. Holmes through his paces in the long-running JOHNNY WADD series, showing the ropes to an up ‘n’ coming acolyte named Jeffrey Fairbanks. The latter would of course go on to helm his own line of instant classics away from his mentors including American PIE, EXPOSED and the vastly underrated WILD DALLAS HONEY. Released through Chinn’s production and distribution company Caribbean Films, the aforementioned CANDY comedies and the Seka/John Holmes vehicle PRISONER OF PARADISE were obviously intended to be the blockbusters right from the start. The strangely sluggish saga of a South Seas whorehouse run by maternal madam Georgina Spelvin, TROPIC OF DESIRE was perhaps the only outright bomb they ever inflicted upon unsuspecting audiences. These headliners were supported by a whole slew of sleepers, the popularity of which has often proved far more enduring than that of their more bountiful brethren. Once again asserting that erotic evaluation is a highly personal matter, I would like to present my case for HOT LEGS as the cream of that crop.

The plot is mercifully simple and falls squarely into the “fun ‘n’ fluff” category with beleaguered advertising executive Mort (expertly essayed by a suitably hopped up Richard Pacheco a/k/a “Dewey Alexander”) doing his darnedest to beat the deadline on the Hot Legs pantyhose campaign. Of course, everyone gets in the way, making for the movie’s superbly staged and – in my not so humble opinion – extremely erotic sex scenes. Model Jesie St. James (the late Sam Weston’s favorite actress) gets the ball rolling by being late for a photo shoot, courtesy of Blair Harris (Serena’s Limo liaison from Tom Janovich’s SMALL TOWN GIRLS, billed here as “David Blair”) and his impressive lovemaking skills. Though I’m a gay man and should therefore have no logical use for such shenanigans, I’ve always considered Jesie particularly effective in same sex encounters (ah, perhaps this is starting to make sense after all) and she certainly doesn’t disappoint in her delicious duet with lovely Lisa Sue Corey from Chinn’s TELEFANTASY and the orgy finale in Alex De Renzy’s PRETTY PEACHES. Classy brunette Delania Raffino, an accomplished actress in Weston’s EXPECTATIONS and Alex De Renzy’s SUMMER IN HEAT, is pretty much wasted here as the proprietress of the Hot Legs company in the film’s single throwaway nookie number with sailboat captain Jon Martin. Genre mainstay Sharon Kane, whose career has now officially exceeded the three decade (!) mark, fares way better in a romantic fantasy with photographer Paul Thomas, a sequence singled out by late carnal critic Jim Holliday as the most tender and loving sex scene ever captured on film…and I’m not about to argue with my spiritual mentor on that one ! A disco Rollerblade fantasy all but screams out its ’70s origins, and has therefore secured its everlasting place in the heart and mind of this old codger, the guy easily identifiable as notoriously switch-hitting stud R.J. Reynolds, paired with little-seen performer Penelope Jones in her only hetero footage. She did a Sapphic scene with Tina Marie (a/k/a “Victoria Jackson”) in Edwin Brown’s NAUGHTY GIRLS NEED LOVE TOO. Having successfully solved his advertising woes (including a “Why, Miss Jones” moment involving his bespectacled blonde secretary), Pacheco brings up the rear with the type of friendly f*ck he was famous for with sympathetic make-up girl Laurien Dominique, the late lamented star of Stu Segal’s fan favorite SUMMER SCHOOL.

HOT LEGS typifies the kind of adult movie that separates the true aficionado from the umbrage-taking apologist. Sure, it has a cute little – though as predictable as any cable fodder – story that keeps the action moving at near break-neck speed and production values befitting its makers’ lofty reputations. The brightly colored hues conjured up by the late Ken Gibb’s expert cinematography pop right off the screen. Yet it’s clearly the sex and the legendary people having it that ultimately push this unassuming little gem through the roof, with everything else like goofy dialog and breezy sight gags primarily there to enhance the enjoyment for the more discerning dirty movie devotee.

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