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Laura’s Toys (1975)

Legendary arthouse sexploitation auteur Joseph Sarno was the brilliant creative force behind dozens of the greatest erotica films ever produced (Inga, Swedish Wildcats). His psychologically intense and sexually incendiary depictions of rampant female lust set grindhouse cinema screens on fire in the 1960s and 70s. Sarno films are heavily female-centric, and his women are strong, desirous and just plain naughty, and they always get what they want!

Handsome archaeologist Walter and his able assistant Anna are spending their summer investigating the remains of an ancient village on a remote Swedish island. Walter’s beautiful wife, Laura, is bored silly and though she and Walter spend every night feeding their hungry sexual appetites, feels that Anna’s obvious attraction for her husband is having an affect on their relationship. To make matters more interesting, Laura’s long-time friend and lesbian lover Hanni is in town vacationing with another of their Sapphic playmates. While Walter and Anna explore their attraction to one another, Laura craves all she can get, including pursuing Anna herself and giving in to her desires to bed down with Hanni and her rotation of bed partners.

Rather than his usual script involving incestuous siblings, sexually repressed women, and/or the sexual hypocrisy of high society and suburbanites, Sarno’s storyline for LAURA’S TOYS is an interesting tale of a married couple pulled in opposite directions by their overwhelming sexual needs. As discussed in one of many great dialogue scenes by Mary Mendum, Laura was essentially a nymphomaniac from her schoolgirl days, while Walter kept busy sleeping with a number of women around the time he met Laura; the two complimented each other so well that they married.

When they find that they desire a more active and varied sex life, their relationship is tested as both Walter’s assistant and Laura’s childhood lover become intertwined with all parties involved. With such a unique storyline, it’s unfortunate that the film isn’t executed better. In a long 105 minute running time, there are a number of very intense sex scenes, with the most memorable and erotic being the outdoor first encounter between Anna and Walter; Sarno’s camera focuses on Anna’s tightening face as she experiences not one, but two overwhelming orgasms.

Outside of the trademark Sarno sex scenes, the most intriguing moments of LAURA’S TOYS are those between Anna and Laura. Laura initially has a mixed reaction to Anna’s interest in her husband, at one moment competitive, and another intrigued by this wall flower, a potential sexual volcano waiting to erupt. Her wonderfully written dialogues with Anna, providing back story to her sexual emotions and relationship with Walter, as well as allowing the two characters to open up to one another and eventually find a mutual attraction to one another, are excellent.