Styled as a takeoff on the then-popular TV series “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman”, Bob Chinn’s HARD SOAP, HARD SOAP is a well-written and extremely well acted porn comedy from the Golden Age. It features Chinn’s amanuensis John C. Holmes, but is much more professional an effort than their much-ridiculed “Johnny Wadd” films.
In casting a little too close to the bone Holmes plays Dr. Holmes, a shrink who has his own problem, he can’t achieve an erection, much to the consternation of his beautiful wife Laurien Dominique. The fact that the real Holmes never could get an erection, but managed to coast through hundreds of porn films by virtue of the length of his semi-flaccid organ, is cheated by the predictable finale that pretends his problem is solved. I’m surprised the ill-fated star laid his problem on the table so baldly, so to speak.
Dominique is wonderful -looking great and acting even better, in this movie recommended to anyone who’s not yet a fan of hers. Matching her scene for scene is her BFF played by neighbor Candida Royalle, a wise-cracking lady who tries to help out and keeps causing trouble. Chinn lays on the satire by occasionally playing sappy organ music dating back to radio soap operas.
Paul Thomas also has a terrific acting assignment as an uppity janitor who rapes Laurien anally one night, with the resulting upsetting of her psyche -she’s ashamed that she enjoyed it! Film climaxes comically with a well-directed ensemble scene of guest star Joan Devlon (my own personal favorite) as Laurien’s sister, who’s wearing dark glasses because she’s psychosomatically blind, having been frightened out of her wits in a parking lot at the sight of a 14-inch schlong belonging to a flasher. Quick as you can say “John Holmes” Dr. Holmes is enlisted to cure her with his like-sized member and it does the trick, for both of them. Happy ending for Laurien, and the fans have plenty to be thankful for.
Besides such an all-star cast, including Ken Scudder as a solid lover for Candida, film is unusual in featuring a transsexual player (I’m guessing it’s Sabrina from the cast list in IMDb) in the climactic Joan Devlon group scene. She/he is in the “chicks with dicks” genre made popular years later, but I certainly can’t recall such casting in mainstream porn circa 1977 -the earliest I remember is Sulka making a minor splash in the early 1980s.
Chinn also includes a funny, burlesque style non-sex routine involving one Rev. Hope (Dale Meador) of the Universal Church of Life. This balding coot is called in to comfort and advise Laurien after her Paul Thomas-encounter, and his delayed punchline routine with Laurien and Candida is genuinely funny.