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August 25, 2017

Movie Review: Blue Money (1971)

Directed by Alain-Patrick Chappuis

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

Things are going great guns for transplanted French-Canadian Jim (played by writer-director Alain Patrick). His work-is-play lifestyle as the director of hardcore porno films provides a comfortable lifestyle for himself, his easygoing hippie wife (Barbara Mills) and baby daughter. When he isn’t training his camera on copulating couples, he roars around in his sports car and tools about on his yacht in a California coastal town. Things are great, really great. So great, that things get pretty uneventful. Jim enjoys a fling with a pretty model, but his wife is okay with it. Scumbag distributors play money games with him and his friends, but they usually pony up. His terribly chic friends lay around, smoke some grass and offer latitudes up about the “New Morality.” Jim walks here, walks there, shoots some porn, and then takes his shirt off to show off his suntan. He and his friends sit around and talk some more. By this point, the punters lured into the theater with promises of an expose on the pornographic film business are looking at their watches and wondering if they still have time to take advantage of the lunch special across the street. The sex on display is disappointingly soft-core and far too brief. Talk, talk, talk, Jim takes off his shirt again. Is something going to happen?

Well, yes, finally. Vice cops are keeping close tabs on him. Throughout the movie, we see our hero walk around various locales as a stern “Dragnet” voice follows the inaction. “He’s going in the house. He’s carrying lighting equipment. He closes the door!” FINALLY one of Patrick’s shoots is raided by the cops (one of whom is played by longtime trash film stalwart Gary The Forest Kent). They let everybody go, and Patrick, his wife and little girl set sail on their yacht, away from all the unpleasantness.  

There’s a good reason as to why Blue Money is a forgotten film today, because it’s eminently forgettable. The sparkling transfer courtesy of Vinegar syndrome is a wonder to behold – rich, vibrant colors that could have been shot yesterday – is in the service of a story that is minimal and at times extremely preachy. As the title implies, while Jim and his cohorts seem to be making strides for freedom of expression, the bottom line is that skin flicks make money, and once things heat up, our heroes take the money and run. While you reviewer likes the fact that in spite of certain conservative elements ruling the roost, America is free to look, read and watch whatever it pleases – but there’s no altruism involved, just grasping hands out for a buck.

Vinegar Syndrome must have known that certain people would have been burned by this purchase, and toss in a rollicking goodtime nudie cutie, Loves of Aphrodite, as the chief extra on the disc. From the same director, Aphrodite is a no-budget Biblical epic – the opening scene where an actor stumbles through a weed-strewn field, some tacky Roman columns filched from a garden shop, to the accompaniment of canned music – many grindhouse fans will jump up to exclaim “Andy Milligan!” Adding to the Grindhouse feel is the damage to the print itself. Aphrodite looks like it was tossed in a garbage bag full of nails and given a good shaking! Such skin flick veterans such as Luanne Roberts and Monica Williams keep the energy level high, and the inclusion of this fun and frothy fuck-fest will certainly wash away the bitter taste left after Blue Money. A new, 12-minute interview with veteran producer Bob Chinn – a shining example of a “standup” guy involved in porno is also included in this release.

Overall, Blue Money makes promises it can’t begin to deliver, but hey – that was the “Nature of the beast” back then.

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