The Film (2/5)
Imaginative writer John Michaels longs for a sensual relationship. His wife Jen was once a sexually brazen woman before her transition to the woman’s liberation movement. Now, John’s desiring urges slam against a fortified brick wall of harsh utilitarian feminism, left with only his thorough imagination to barely satisfy his passionate and animalistic cravings. That's until Ms. Azure walks through his front door. Dressed in a low cut, form fitting, short skirt blue dress, Ms. Azure is a buxom blonde saleswoman whose looking for any reason to sell her little blue box, even if that means blackmailing John on their sexual affair. The little blue box is a television cable box that does more than just provide the casting of adult entertainment to stimulate the stale lives of the world’s loneliest people. The box also comes equipped with Channel 69; a channel where any situation with any person can become reality and all is needed is enough imagination and John has a very abundant and vivid imagination.
Trying to get a brief glimpse of outlined bodies in the throes of raunchy intercourse or embarking on a path of illegality by tampering the uncomplicated innards of a cable box were the good old days of when cable boxes were a young pre-teen’s gate key to saucy adult channels. Impulse Pictures’ “The Little Blue Box” has me reminiscing the late, late nights of starring at a snowy images with only brief grunts and fits of pleasure sound bites emitting through the television speakers. The 1979 erotic adult comedy from Don Walters, under one of his many pseudonyms Arlo Schiffin, directs a golden age of porn spoof about the limitless access at your finger tips with cable boxes, the iron clad product stemmed from the women lib, and the social life between human interaction and the idiot box.
A roster of pro-performers are credited for "The Little Blue Box" with Jennifer Welles dazzling as the headliner, but sadly her performance playing the dual roles of Jen and Ms. Azure would be her last in the porn industry as she retires at the turn of the decade. Having her career begin in the softcore, sexploitation genre didn't stiffen her alluring tomfoolery and sweaty penetration with co-star the late John Leslie, taking control of John as Ms. Azure, even when John uncontrollably can't keep his horny mitts to himself. To be honest, the cast wasn't as fetching as anticipated. Sure, you have Golden Age starlets Sharon Mitchell and Gloria Leonard in a non-talking dream sequence, but their scene, a four-on-one orgy with John Leslie, are shamefully edited. There's the fresh, young face of Jamie Gillis, a male performer I can't seem to review a XXX feature without him making an appearance, tag-teaming a disproportionate, and a horrid belly dancer, Ming Toy, with Jake Teague as a sleazy adult film producer - a contrasting scenario that was heatedly discussed between characters John and Jen Michaels earlier in the film. Even though Welles did a remarkable performance between two roles and laying down the sleaze with her massive dirty pillows, brunette bombshell Lesllie Bovee could have easily headlined with a firmer, shapelier, and tanner physique than Welles. Bovee's scene with John Leslie, a fantasy dreamt up out of John Michael's sexual frustrations, compares very differently from Welles and John Leslie, each with their own attitudes and vices.
Whether Arlo Schiffin became lazy or just didn't give a damn or just didn't have the time to complete his work, the little blue box that's Ms. Azure tries to eagerly promote displays ravishing rendezvous scenarios, which includes the three way short with Gillis, Toy, and Teague, but the four other shorts are intercuts of, and I'm guessing here, French porn stars that include the same wiry male performer drilling a different actress in each abridged scene. Clues that hint at their French ethnicity include actresses sporting hairy armpits and a fitting room labeled in French; plus, the awful editing and dubbing heightens suspicions as well. A benefit of the odd intercuts are the anal scenes that make the girls clench their teeth, tighten their grip, and shriek with eye-rolling pleasure. While the intercuts may have been out of place, Schiffin did manage an impressive overlaying composite shot that put Welles's Jen and Ms. Azure characters in the same scene opposite each other. The centerline on the floral backsplash a bit shaking, coming off it's axis at times, but still an impressive shot nonetheless for 70's porn.
Impulse Pictures remastered "The Little Blue Box" from the original 35mm vault material, presenting the film in an anamorphic widescreen 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Significantly, original negative damage rears its ugly, blemished head during a few spots; however, the print has been, also significantly, restored to the best possible transfer to date. Slight overexposure leaves colors just below natural, but still very substantial and prevalent, giving much life to last Jennifer Welles stag film. Framing looks good too and little-to-no edge enhancements detected.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 mono mix doesn't require much scrutiny as the track is about as good as it'll get with slight pops and hisses, but nothing major to thwart a viewing. I'm actually surprised on how good the audio has resulted on this remastered edition.
The extras are as light as a feather on this release with nothing more than a simple static menu.
"The Little Blue Box" is an interesting concept, a glimpse into the future of television cable boxes, but like Ms. Azure's presentation of the little blue box channels, Arlo Schiffin's film just can't stay on one channel, changing the station constantly like there's nothing to watch but the same thing over-and-over. Channel 69's finale reveal did raise some curiosity until squandered by a lack of enthusiastic camera work and a bleak orgy with high profile players. Don't count out this retro-remastered cult adult cinema out just yet because with Jennifer Welles and Leslie Bovee in one feature together, it gives a whole new and tempting meaning to the term boob tube.