The Film (4/5)
Felicity is the first narrative feature film by director John D. Lamond following his pseudo-documentary films The ABC's of Love and Sex: Australian Style and Australia After Dark. The film was a notable entry in the Ozploitation film movement of the 70's, but also later found popularity in late night cable viewings in the 80's when channels needed content to fill those late night time slots. It has seen a recent resurgence in popularity due to it's inclusion in Mark Hartley's splendid documentary on Ozploitation cinema Not Quite Hollywood, and of course Severin Films already solid 2009 DVD release.
The film stars Glory Annen as the titular Felicity. As the film begins she is living a boring day to day existence at an Australian boarding school, wanting to begin the process of growing up and experiencing the world. Her chance would come quite soon when her Father sends her a ticket to spend her school vacation in Hong Kong with a family friend. That friend introducers to Me Ling (Octopussy's Joni Flynn), and the pair begin to explore Hong Kong's more "exotic" nightlife. Felicity first attempts to lose her virginity, and then goes on to experience as much sex as she can. That is until she meets a man named Miles, and falls in love, and realizes that sex is best with love. However, as Miles is a traveling photographer, she has to decide whether or not to be loyal to him while away, and as she is young and in an experimental phase, that answer is mostly no.
Felicity is an interesting little film from director Lamond. It is obviously inspired by popular erotic film titles of the era like Just Jaeckin's Emmanuelle, and also the Story of O. I would use the cliché it wears these influences on its sleeve, but Felicity is even seen reading the books those films are based on during the film making it quite a bit more obvious.
The film is quite a bit restrained in its approach. While the film has quite a lot of sex and nudity on display, it is all softcore scenes. The film has a very soft focus look obviously meant to channel a dreamy and romantic atmosphere, and the narration by Annen further helps to amplify these attempted atmospherics. I can't say for certain if these were successful in the 70's or 80's, but they felt a bit out of place. That being said I will admit I had a lot of fun with the film, as it is quite decent middle of the night viewing. Glory Annen turns in a solid performance as Felity, as does Me Ling as essentially her friend and Hong Kong tour guide. The direction from Lamond is solid, and maintains a solid pacing ensuring the film is never fully drags.
Severin Films presents Felicity in a solid 1:78:1 1080p AVC encoded transfer preserving the film's OAR. The presentation here is solid, and accurately reflects the look of the film. As I said during the main body of the film the film has a very soft focus, look and that is replicated here, but it also keeps the transfer from being as sharp as it could be. That being said colors are nicely reproduced, detail is solid, and blacks are quite decent.
The audio is presented with a DTS-HD 2.0 mono track in English. The track is quite solid with dialogue and score coming through nicely. I had no complaints.
Severin have put together quite a solid extra package for their Blu-ray release of Felicity. There is a commentary track between Lamond and Annen. outtakes with Annen and Lamond from Not Quite Hollywood, and a trailer reel of Lamond features. If that wasn't enough Severin have included Lamond's prior 2 mock-documenaries The ABC's of Love and Sex Australian Style and Australia After Dark previously released to DVD by Severin's Intervision imprint, and both featuring commentaries with Lamond.
Felicity is a cheesy, but fun 70's Ozploitation erotic film. The Severin Films Blu-ray does quite a solid job of restoring the film for the HD era, while putting together quite a solid extra package sure to please fans of both Felicity and Lamond. RECOMMENDED.