This laid back drive-in drama was the first feature written and directed by Joseph Ruben, several years before Dreamscape or The Stepfather. The movie starts with a gorgeous young woman (Anne Saxon) meandering along the street, turning on all the guys in her simple blue dress. She grins at the effect she’s having; plays basketball with a random youth briefly; then gets home, gives us a good look at what’s under that dress as she changes into a bikini, and dives into the pool. John Savage gets credited above the title as Robert, a standard issue aimless young man of the time who has just returned home after a year and a half wandering America to “find himself.” As soon as he arrives, we find out the young woman is Joanna, the titular sister-in-law to Robert. They both live in Robert’s parents’ house – along with Edward (W.G. MacMillan) – Robert’s brother and Joanna’s estranged husband. As Robert and Joanna work around to consummating their affair on the sly, Edward openly brings Deborah (Meredith Baer) into the situation. The boys have a quiet sibling rivalry going on - Robert somewhat naïve and jealous of Edward’s seeming success in life, and Edward wishing he could ditch the complications of his life for the simplicity of Robert’s. Eventually we discover that in addition to some former success as a screenwriter, Edward’s main source of income these days is as a courier for the NY mob. Trying to work his way out of his servitude, Edward draws Robert in to his shady life. This only serves to bring Robert closer to Deborah, and soon Edward realizes his younger brother has been playing around with both of his ladies. I don’t want to give away any more – suffice to say we are not headed toward a happy ending.
|Anne Saxon and John Savage hanging out.|
While I admit this is pretty slow and perhaps even dreary drive-in fare, I enjoyed this flick. It has the required elements to make it perfect for the drive-in screen: good amounts of nudity; a couple of fairly steamy softcore sex scenes; and a bit of violence. I thought Ruben’s writing and the acting from the four leads carried this one along despite some langorous plotting. In fact, that pace actually lends itself to the perceived drive-in situation – a movie you could follow yet not pay attention to while devoted to…er…other activities…in your car.
|Anne Saxon and W.G. MacMillan|
As to the four leads – Savage of course was a major star before the decade was out; MacMillan and Baer went on to work steadily in smaller roles in films and television – but Saxon – despite onscreen presence, beauty, acting talent, and a seeming willingness to disrobe at a moment’s notice, displaying a fantastic body – never acted again after this movie. That’s a pity, because she’s quite good in the role – even if she does fade back in the story despite the opening scenes and being the titular character.
|Can't play basketball in those heels...|
In the end - if you don't mind movies that take a little while to get where they're going - this gets a recommendation. If on the other hand you want bang zip zoom in every frame, this one is likely not going to be your cup of tea.
|Because she's also awfully cute - Meridith Baer.|
Thank you Buddha me lad! Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!