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Moonlighting Wives

Moonlighting Wives

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Moonlighting Wives  An ambitious suburban housewife, tired of forever being in debt, sets up an independent stenography business. Finding that her clients are more interested in the women than the dictation, she revamps it into a discreet and highly profitable prostitution ring made up of neighbourhood wives.

A solid and satisfying 60’s soft-core sexploitation melodrama from the ever-reliable Joe Sarno

Moonlighting Wives  Shrewd, unhappy and pragmatic housewife and part-time stenographer Joan Rand (excellently played by sultry brunette Tammy Latour) starts her own suburban prostitution ring that caters to a rich clientèle. Pretty soon Joan has a booming business on her hands. Meanwhile her drunken neglected husband has an affair with his enticing 18-year-old babysitter. Writer/director Joe Sarno crafts a wickedly smart and insightful portrait of the naughty things that go on underneath the respectable veneer of staid upper-class small town America; he also maintains a steady snappy pace throughout and coaxes solid acting from a sturdy cast. Fine supporting performances by John Aristedes as smug, arrogant golf pro Al Jordan, Joe Santos (Lt. Dennis Becker on “The Rockford Files”) as a weary vice detective, and the adorably slinky Jan Nash as the luscious Nancy Preston, who becomes the most prized and desired girl in Joan’s stable. The ravishing Fatima does a smoking hot belly dance at a wild poolside stag party. The crisp color cinematography by Jerry Kalogeratos and Anthony Lover gives the picture an attractive polished look. Stan Free’s great boppin’ jazzy lounge score and the cool swingin’ theme song both really hit the groovy spot. While the film’s content is decidedly mild, there’s still a nice racy vibe which permeates the engrossingly sordid story and thus makes this movie a good deal of entertainingly tawdry fun.

Suburbia exposed

This full-colour picture is a real epic compared to Sarno’s normally budget-constrained work. Although slightly overlong, it allows a more elaborate mise-en-scene than usual, with another complex plot filled with power-playing ploys and unexpected revelations between the jaded characters. As in many of his early entries, Sarno’s subtext scathingly critiques the bourgeois mores of early 60s suburbia, and more specifically satirizes the button-down, wheeler-dealer, martini-lunching business world of the “gray flannel suit” era. It’s like the subterranean side of the Doris Day/Rock Hudson oeuvre. Excellent acting all around, and the colour (faded as it is in the video print) really emphasizes the seemingly staid Jan Nash’s steely, betraying eyes. With only a few glimpses of nudity, it’s hard to imagine how these films were sold to the grindhouses, but they certainly are valuable time-capsules for those of us inured to ‘Father Knows Best’ and ‘Leave It to Beaver’.

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