Pros: Major figures of the early adult industry; lots of nudity; very funny at times
Cons: The program is quite tasteless and certainly not up every viewer's alley
Midnight Blue was a television show that ran in New York City for several decades from the 1974 up until the early 2000s. This public access show featured discussions of all sorts of matters, many of them sexual in nature. The show, founded and frequently hosted by Screw magazine publisher Al Goldstein, regularly featured porno actors and actresses, sometimes rather explicit film footage; frankly, I'm astonished that this program was ever allowed to air on cable, but by golly, hip hip hooray for free speech! Blue Underground, perhaps the most adventurous DVD label out there (and that's saying something), has released several volumes compiled from the infamous TV show. Volume Two of the series is subtitled "Porn Stars of the 70's," and delivers an entertaining and revealing program.
"Porn Stars of the 70s" starts off with an interview of Marilyn Chambers, one of the first major stars of the porn business. She discusses her involvement with adult film, from her beginnings with the Mitchell Brothers through to her superstar status and branching out into other projects. At the conclusion of her segment, Chambers is seen performing a nude dancing exhibition with an African-American companion. This segment is filmed using solarization at times, creating somewhat interesting visual effects, but obviously, the main attraction is the nude flesh on display.
The program continues to interview such subjects as porn actresses Helen Madigan, Jennifer Welles, Georgina Spelvin (from The Devil in Miss Jones), Bambi Woods (the elusive lead of Debbie Does Dallas), Veri Knotty, and Seka and also includes interviews with adult film director Carter Stevens and male porn actors Jamie Gillis and Marc Stevens. Throughout the program, actual footage from porn movies is included, although for the most part the footage is non-explicit. Several of the actresses also participate in some sort of dance or performance for the camera, thus we have burlesque routines by Spelvin (in which she replicates the infamous scene from Miss Jones where she performs with a snake), Seka, and Woods. Veri Knotty also shows us her claim to fame: her ability to tie her labia in a knot. Close-up footage of this is about as explicit as the program gets. There's also a rather amusing segment in which the one and only Annie Sprinkle discusses the pleasures and hazards of masturbating with household objects.
The interviews are generally quite entertaining, with the interviewers proceeding to ask thoroughly inappropriate questions of the subjects. The subjects also shine some light on the industry in those days, by including stories of their involvement in the business and their attitude towards working in porn. Particularly interesting in this regard is the interview with Carter Stevens, who talks about the nature of porn budgets, and working with less-than-cooperative erections. This program isn't necessarily pro-porn either; both Helen Madigan and Marc Stevens talk about their decisions to leave the business due to various reasons.
Porn Stars of the 70s was compiled from several episodes of the TV show, which were originally recorded on magnetic tape. Transferring these tapes to DVD doesn't really eliminate many of the problems present in the master, thus the disc is rather grainy looking at times and full of picture imperfections. In my opinion, this element of shoddiness makes this product more enjoyable since it seems more appropriate with regard to the subject matter. I don't think one would ever expect to see a program like this presented in crystal clear video; like a grindhouse film, the poor quality of the images add to the appeal of the DVD. Midnight Blue, the original program, actually was recorded quite well; the images and sound are of decent quality considering the nature of the program.
As a bonus feature, the entire running time of the program is supplemented by an onscreen trivia track that adds to one's enjoyment of the program by supplying additional info and facts about the subjects discussed in the film. Generally, this trivia track is rather amusing and light-hearted, yet does provide quite a bit of background on the persons included in the film. The DVD also includes a number of vintage commercials from various NYC-based businesses such as swingers clubs, strip joints, sex toys, and more. Some of these ads are absolutely priceless and very funny, and their inclusion provides even more crazy sensory overload and entertainment value to the DVD.
Midnight Blue Volume 2 contains all sorts of material which is definitely not appropriate for all audiences. There is constant sexual dialogue and frank discussion, quite a bit of vulgar and offensive language, and a parade of full frontal (both male and female) nudity throughout the program. Be assured that you do see every female featured in the program "in action" so to speak, although the program never really branches into explicit depictions of sexual activity. This DVD is absolutely not appropriate for children.
For those who are interested in the adult industry, this program is invaluable, providing a look at some of the most recognizable figures in the industry. The interviews are fairly interesting and consistently amusing and funny and are spiced with nudity from the lovely ladies of the program. I would highly recommend this to those interested in the subject or who are just looking for an excuse to see several of the more noteworthy figures of the early porn industry. Midnight Blue is one of the more entertaining (if tasteless) programs out there, and I think most viewers who can handle the subject matter and content would find this DVD enjoyable.