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May 1, 2015

Movie Review: Pretty Peaches (1978)

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

Directed by Alex DeRenzy

Die-hard daddy’s girl, light and bubbly Peaches (Desiree Cousteau) is none-too-pleased with her father’s (John Leslie) coming nuptials. Fleeing the tacky ceremony held at a rundown wedding chapel-cum-casino, Peaches lets off some steam by wildly driving her jeep off road in the surrounding Nevada wilderness. Bumping her head and falling unconscious, she awakes – after being raped, more or less by stag flick standby Joey Silvera. Peaches, her attackers, her papa and his new bride (Flower) wind back and forth through the film’s running time until a climactic – literally, swinger’s party. Peaches regains her memory and the story ends happily, kind of, sort of.

“Why do women fake orgasms?” infamous skin flick director Alex DeRenzy asks in a taped interview shortly before his death in 2001, included in this Vinegar Syndrome release as an extra. “Because they think that we care!” he declares. This reviewer isn’t giving too much away by saying this isn’t the only “hot” bit of chat the still spry 66-year-old DeRenzy reveals. He also goes into great detail about another one of his most infamous features, Femmes DeSade (1976). You’ll think you’ve been granted an audience with Satan himself when DeRenzy explains that whats and wherefores of that sick little title!

Pretty Peaches’ most notorious bit of business involves a medical procedure forced upon her by a mad doctor in a fancy hotel. Most reviewers marvel on the fact that everything turns out rather clean and antiseptic, given the circumstances. For all of its jollity and humor, there’s no getting around the fact that Pretty Peaches revels in rape, sexual assault and incest! Desiree Cousteau in the title role is bright and pixie-like, and has a natural knack for comedy. Alas, she didn’t make many more films after this one. We learn in an interview with erotic historian Dr. Ted McIlvenna, also included in this Vinegar Syndrome as an extra, that DeRenzy deeply regretted not working with Cousteau again … then again, there was very little she could have done afterwards!

Restored in 2k from 35mm archival elements, Pretty Peaches has never looked this pretty before. Miles ahead from other pornographic films of this era, Pretty Peaches is a classic of its kind. Modern audiences should enjoy the title, although very little of the subject matter would fly in today’s politically correct environment.  

Limited to 1,500 copies, this Vinegar Syndrome release, in addition to the two aforementioned interviews, tosses in the theatrical trailers for three other DeRenzy features: Baby Face II (1986), Femmes DeSade and Pretty Peaches II (1987). Golden Age Porn connoisseurs will definitely need this for their collection …

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