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Confessions Of A Young American Housewife (1974)

DVD Cover (Retro-Seduction Cinema)
Genres:
Drama, Erotic Drama, Marriage Drama, Sexploitation
Director:
Joseph W. Sarno Joseph W. Sarno
Starring:
Mary Mendum Mary Mendum
Jennifer Welles Jennifer Welles
Chris Jordan Chris Jordan
Eric Edwards Eric Edwards
David Hausman David Hausman

5.9 / 10 - Overall Rating

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An attractive but conservative mid-30's housewife stays at the house of her sexually open daughter and soon becomes involved in her daughter's swinger lifestyle. --IMDb
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Review by Chad
Added: April 10, 2008
It's time for another Sarno flick to be added to this site, and this time around, we're going to take a look at what could quite possibly be his most daring release... and yes, this includes his forays into the hardcore genre. What's so daring about this one? Well, we'll get to that in due time, but I'd first like to say that I was pleasantly surprised to see that Sarno handled this topic with class instead of using it for pure shock value. It would have been simple to turn this film into a sleazy exploitation piece given the taboo subject matter, but what we get is a drama / sexploitation piece that isn't just about showing some skin - it actually brings a story along with it, and it's a damned fine story at that.

We begin with an introduction to Carole (Rebecca Brooke) and Pete (Eric Edwards), as well as their neighbors Anna (Chris Jordan) and Eddie (David Hausman). They're both your typical seventies-era couple: the men bring home the bacon while the women gossip with one another, cook dinner, and bake pies. Indeed, they're the very definition of the suburban American lifestyle, with one exception: they routinely swap partners with one another. Yes, they're swingers, but this isn't the taboo subject matter that I was referring to up above (although this wasn't exactly family entertainment either).

Things take a turn towards the interesting when Carole's mom Jennifer (Jennifer Welles) decides to pay her daughter a visit and stay with her and her husband for a couple of weeks. Jenny, as she prefers to be called, isn't aware of Carole's husband-swapping ways, and she's also a bit of a prude who would certainly disapprove of this sort of thing... right? Well, once the boys get a good look at her and start "popping" to attention, it's only a matter of time before they break through her shell and wear down her defenses. The taboo aspect of the film comes into play once Carole starts having feelings for her as well, and as she's shocked to discover, those feelings aren't exactly exclusive to daughter dearest.

As mentioned, the way that the subject matter was handled is what made this film so enjoyable. It would have been easy to have given us the basic story, throw in a bunch of sex scenes, and then finish it off with a grand finale, but that's not the route that Sarno took here. Instead, he gave us a drama with an honest to goodness storyline, a storyline in which the sex scenes exist to further the plot rather than being the plot. Further enhancing my enjoyment of the film was the fact that the storyline was actually a good one that didn't stoop to cheap exploitation; the incest angle and the swinging side of things were both handled with class instead of merely being used as a method of titillation. However, in saying this, I'm not trying to imply that it's not an erotic film, because truth be told, any straight man who watches this will probably need to hold a pillow over their lap during at least a couple of scenes.

The acting was surprisingly good for what was - at its core - a softcore film. The two leading ladies (Rebecca Brooke and Jennifer Welles) handled their roles with ease, and although I have to say that Mrs. Brooke was the better of the two as her body language told the story just as easily as her spoken lines, I'll give Welles credit for having plenty of her own moments as well. Chris Jordan, on the other hand, was one of the more interesting casting decisions here. This lady was far from a great actress during her scenes outside of the bedroom, but when it came time for her to strip down to her birthday suit and get down to business, well... she was either an excellent actress during those scenes, or she had a couple of legitimate orgasms along the way. I'm leaning towards the latter.

Confessions of a Young American Housewife definitely comes as a high recommendation for fans of vintage erotica, as if the above praise didn't seal the deal already. Sarno is one of the masters in the genre, and while I can't say that I'm a huge fan of all his work, this is one of the films that really shows how he came to become a big name in that circle. 9/10.
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Tristan #1: Tristan - added 04/10/2008, 08:43 PM
Haven't seen this one.
Nirrad #2: Nirrad - added 04/11/2008, 12:22 AM
Lol, thanks for that.
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