By Richard Winters
My Rating: 3 out of 10
4-Word Review: Father searches for daughter.
Angel (Christine Souder) is a young woman out on her own for the very first time. To make ends meet she gets a job at a topless bar, but this leads to working as a prostitute and getting hooked onto heroin by her brutal pimp boyfriend. When her father Sven (Art Burke) goes searching for her he finds himself swept in the seedy side of life and the people who populate it almost as much as her.
This otherwise low budget and forgotten film’s biggest claim to fame is that it is the first feature credited to Barry Levinson as the screenwriter who also worked as the assistant cameraman during the production. Levinson has never talked about it in any interview and it is easy to see why. The script is filled with a lot of rambling dialogue that goes nowhere. The story is basic and boring and seems preoccupied with taking advantage of the ‘shock value’ of its topic which these days has lessened. It’s more clichéd than anything although the scene where one of Angel’s johns asks her to put on some goggles so that he can, to her shock, pee all over her does deserve mention.
This film is very similar to Paul Schrader’s Hardcore that starred George C. Scott and came out four years later and deals with a desperate father’s search for his daughter who has gotten into the world of porn. I actually like this film a bit better to that one. For one thing this one focuses more on the daughter and her experiences while that one solely centered on the father, which wasn’t as interesting. The father here isn’t quite as one-dimensional either. Yes he has all the caricatures of a middle-aged Midwestern man from the period including being homophobic, but I got a kick out of the way he initially gets into the naked girl dancers and likes it as long as of course it isn’t his daughter that’s doing it.
The acting swings from tolerable to really bad, but I did like Carol Case as Sally who has the most screen time and looks like a cross between Susan Anton and singer Carly Simon. Paul Pompain has a certain menacing quality as the brutal pimp although watching him constantly beat up his prostitutes and even kill one didn’t seem to make any sense as these girls were his may source of income and as my friend stated who watched this movie with me “He’s hurting their resale value.”
The picture is grainy with a faded washed out look and muffled sound that makes it seem almost like someone’s cheap homemade movie and yet it is well enough paced that it remains watchable. The scene where the father and daughter finally meet I found to be surprisingly touching.
My Rating: 3 out of 10
Released: January 16, 1975
Runtime: 1Hour 14Minutes
Director: Michael Miller
Studio: New World Pictures
Available: None at this time.