MILLSTONE TOWNSHIP., N.J.—There are a few adult companies specializing in “classic porn”—generally, movies made in the early ’80s or earlier—and others who have a few classics in their vast libraries, but none have taken the time and effort to remaster and rerelease those early blockbusters like Steve Morowitz's Video-X-Pix.
"I was talking with [a producer friend] the other day, and he saw the movie, and he couldn't believe what we put in this box," Morowitz told AVN. He's doing some spoofs, and he was telling me how much he's spending on his productions, and I was asking him, how much did this cost, and he's telling me 15, 18, 20 [thousand], roughly, before replication, and I'm going, ‘Wow! We spent that on Blonde Ambition!’”
Indeed, Blonde Ambition, not unlike the company's previous "Platinum Elite Collection" releases like Maraschino Cherry and Deep Inside Annie Sprinkle, is a classic porn fan's wet dream. Not only was it completely remastered from the original 35mm negative—check the difference between the earlier version (above left) and the remastered image (above right), but the Blonde Ambition box contains both hard and softcore versions of the early adult musical, with commentaries by director John Amero and co-star Jamie Gillis.
"From the moment the credits roll until the very last scene, for 80 minutes or however long the movie is, he [Amero] does not stop talking to our film historian," Morowitz said. "You get landmark revelations: 'He funded this,' and 'that guy did that'; the historical aspect of where it was all shot—here and in England—and how part of it was shot in CBGBs in New York and famous opera houses—it's so educational!"
"This was Jamie Gillis' last interview, for the commentary, three weeks before he died," Morowitz continued. "The fact that he was able to watch this movie and do the commentary with [historian] Benson Hurst is a testament to his interest and his strength."
On top of that, the movie has a 20-page profusely illustrated color historical overview—“liner notes,” if you will—of the movie with background on the New York porn scene at the time the movie was being made (1980); never-before-seen on-set stills and “ephemera” about the film; a 5x7 black-and-white portrait of star Suzy Mandel; and an actual 35mm film strip cut directly from a Blonde Ambition print!
It's probably worth trying to find a big TV screen to watch this on, because some of artifacts contained in the “ephemera” video extra are just fascinating. For instance, there are “reprints” of several reviews of the movie—yes, even mainstream newspapers and magazines did reviews of X-rated fare before it became politically incorrect to do so—as well as the movie's “certificate of X-rating” from the Motion Picture Association of America, and copies of newspaper ads showing when and where the movie was playing.
“There’s two sources for the ephemera,” Morowitz explained. “The first source is our stuff, which I have in my files. When we bought our building, we got the films, the filing cabinets with the folders that had the one-sheets, the sell sheets, the posters, the trailers, the history, and we preserved that all. We have enough to put on museum displays for some of the movies, and for Blonde Ambition particularly, those folders were very thick, and that was one of the reasons we really wanted to do this movie. And the source for this particular film was John Amero himself.”
The movie is something of an anomaly. Its star, Suzy Mandel, doesn’t do any hardcore, though she displays ample nudity, and almost none of the female cast names would be recognizable today—but it had almost all of the era’s major male talent, including Gillis, David Christopher, David Morris, Eric Edwards, George Payne, R. Bolla, Herschel Savage and Wade Nichols—and a few surprises.
“Larry Revene, who was a famous director, you see him playing drums at the beginning of Blonde Ambition,” Morowitz noted. “It’s packed full of history, this movie.”
It’s a rare treat that a producer is willing to put this much time, money and effort into a classic movie of this sort—but readers can check it out now in their favorite store’s classic section.