The Naughty Victorians - The Naughty Victorians (Blu Ray) [Vinegar Syndrome - 2020]The Naughty Victorians is an elegantly shot & often decidedly amusing slice of mid-1970’s sleaze. The films best described as light hardcore-meets-bawdy innuendo fuelled send-up of the British middle-to-upper classes in the late 1800s. Here from the folks at Vinegar Syndrome is a recent dual-format release of the film-bringing together a 2k scan, a new commentary track & a few other extras.
The Naughty Victorians: An Erotic Tale of a Maiden's Revenge- to give the film its full title was released in 1975; it was a US production but featured a largely very posh talking selection of English actors. The film was the first of only two directorial credits from once celebrated & innovative theatre director Robert Sickinger(as Robert S. Kinger). The picture certainly shows off his stage background, due to the lush & decadent production design, and Victorian costume. He also mangers to strike a good & fairly even balance between story/ plot, and skin action too.
The film focus in on well-to-do/ prim & proper Lady Alice- played by Susan Sloan- who has just been told by her father to break it off with Jack- played by the wonderfully named Beerbohn Tree- who is below her station due to him been just a mere teacher. One day she drops off some effects at his door, but has to begrudgingly take shelter inside when it starts to rain- fairly soon thunder starts , and she becomes scared- so Jack suggests they take shelter in his soundproof snug. When they get down to the snug- it becomes clear fairly soon that Jack is not the bookish & bland flop we first thought- he’s somewhat of a sex maniac, who has decided to deflower Alice of her maidenhead. The snug has a decidedly kinky Jules Verne vibe to it- as there is all manner of pulleys, buttons & knobs(!) hidden behind paintings- these bring down rope ties, swings, mirrors, etc. Fairly soon Jack has Alice strapped-up, and starts to pull back the many layers of her Victorian lady's dress- all the while she begs for him to stop, but she soon starts to enjoy what’s going on. All the while both her & Jack are remaining very polite & posh in their banter, and of course here we find some of the film's humour. One thing leads to another, and the pair has a length session- taking in self-pleasuring, roped up licking, and full-on penetration. It’s all done in a fairly light, campy, and fun manner. From here on Alice becomes somewhat of a sex fiend herself- first luring her common spoken maid to the snug, whose nick-named Beaky- due to her oral encounter with the gardener. Then her pompous friend Lady Bunt & her spoilt daughter- each having length encounters with Jake & Alice. The film moves towards its orgy finale, but it’s not all over yet as Jack gets payback from the women, when the ladies invite around some of his well proportioned male students. All in all The Naughty Victorians is an enjoyable romp of the film- blending fairly light hardcore action with a good dose of humour & mockery.
Moving onto the two-disc blu ray & DVD set- and we get a 2k scan from the 35mm print, and this aside from very occasional blips at the start of the film, is another wonderful clean & crisp print from VS- bringing out the flesh tones & grand ‘n’ gilded detail from within Jack’s kinky snug, where most of the film takes place. On the extra front, we get a commentary track from author & professor Dr. Laura Helen Marks- who lectures on porn, as well as having a fascination with Victorian-themed takes on genre- with this film being one of her favourites. She begins by talking about how much better the print is than any of the other versions of the film she has seen- in particular mentioning the dialogue, which seemingly was previously difficult to hear- and it most certainly is crystal clear. She moves on to briefly talk about the cast, and interviews she had with Mr. Tree, moving on at lengthy to discuss the differences between the film & the novella it was based on The Way of a Man With a Maid- which ironically was not written in the Victorian period, but in the early Edwardian period. She talks about the film in the context of the start of the 70’s mainstream porn boom, going onto comment on how the film rather plays down the more unpleasant man-forcing himself on women context by the whimsical/ frivolous tone. It’s an interesting enough track, though at times she doe repeat her self a little & nears been a little scholarly- though thankful never full dives into this. Otherwise, we get a selection of trailers for the film- both hard & soft-core versions, an alternative French credits, and archival stills & artwork.
It’s great to see VS release this slice of 70’s sleaze, that very much fits into the more mainstream & playful side of the Hardcore genre. And I’d say if you looking for an entry point into 70’s porn, or like your skin flick with mockery & humour then this most certainly is for you.