French-Teen (1977)

I was taken aback to see a 1977 porn film (it even bears a 1980 copyright) that is as mindless and primitive as a 1970 or 1971 one-day wonder. Like those earlier stinkers, it has no screen credits listed -definitely a wise choice.

IMDb gives the onus of direction to J. Angel Martine, that shadowy figure that some jump to the conclusion is Roberta Findlay on hearsay evidence. My own blindfold test would choose frequent Findlay collaborator John Christopher as it not only has David Christopher in a key role but is as sloppily made as most JC efforts.

Title was completely arbitrary and evidently chosen for commercial reasons, as well as the pornographer’s typical thrill at bamboozling the public (listen to some of those Something Weird commentary tracks by the likes of David Friedman or Harry Novak and you’ll see what I mean). What passes for storyline is a very poorly improvised tale of Sharon Mitchell (hiding behind a goof-ball hairdo) and gal pal renting a house and throwing a sex party. They hump the garage mechanics who make it possible for their car to limp there, and various other folks show up for an orgy even duller than the dozens staged on the Left Coast around this time by Carlos Tobalina. Martine, Findlay or J. Christopher definitely do not hold up the honor of the East Coast in this transcontinental porn rivalry regarding depiction of group sex.

No one is French and no hint of a French setting occurs. The two protagonists are mighty old looking to be 16-year-olds, which is OK because when this was shot the characters were allowed to be underage as long as the actresses were 18; nowadays even the fictitious characters have to be of age (huh?), just like even fictional incest became verboten somewhere along the way.

The DVD I watched (courtesy of VCX) has the soundtrack out of sync, barely detracting from the round-it-off-at-zero erotic content. Even some attractive performers like Susaye London look bad, and usually reliable Bobby Astyr gives one of his all-time worst performances as a husband cheating and being cheated on. When he and his wife end up humping near each other at the big orgy, the film is so poorly done that they don’t even notice, while at the finale Bobby is looking around and scratching his head like a porno fish out of water.

There are many lost films of great interest in the porno canon, since preservation consisted of “throw the cans in the dumpster” back in the ’70s and ’80s when it seemed for a time most vintage porn had no residual value. I wish this had been one of the lost in place of some genuinely intriguing feature one continues to hunt for in vain.