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Senior Shackster
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This will be one of my stranger reviews but as always I'll put everything into a
historical context.

To begin with...

What does "The Stewardesses" have in common with "The Jazz Singer", "Becky Sharp" and
"Bwana Devil".

The answer is...they are all historical firsts that film buffs should see but bad movies. "The Jazz Singer" was not the first sound film nor even the first Vitaphone movie but it was the first successful one which inspired the change to sound for the entire industry. It wasn't even the format that survived and was replaced by the more reliable optical sound. The movie had very energetic song performances by Jolson but the combination of silent and sound doesn't work at all today and is very disorienting to watch.

"Becky Sharp" was the first three strip Technicolor feature and it looks very vibrant and colorful but is a boring and stagey stiff. "Bwana Devil" was the first 3-D feature using the polarized system and was a smash hit for those who wanted a 'lion in your lap' but was a cheesy B movie outside of that.

Which brings us to "The Stewardesses" which was the first X rated 3-D movie. It used the
same 1.33 ratio as in the fifties but the two images were on the same piece of film rather than on separate reels interlocked. It was also polarized and worked fine as a system but was a bit grainy since the two images were rather small (basically two 16mm images side by side).

Now I should mention that I know the man who made this, Chris Condon, who later developed
a better 3-D system that had widescreen stereo images on top of one another in the same frame. I used it for "Run for Cover" and the StereoVision lenses were very good with variable convergence (you could adjust the distance between the superimposed images so they weren't too far apart which caused eyestrain) and had infinite depth of field which mean both foreground and background were sharp which is ideal for 3-D movies.

I also know Jeff Joseph who produced this 3-D disc and even introduces it in the suppliments
explaining the different formats. He purchased the negative from Condon and owns the movie.

Since there isn't a viable polarized 3-D DVD format he had it converted to the anagyph system which superimposed the two images on top of each other. One left eye image was tinted blue and the right eye image red. This was done to both the color image and also a black and white version. Of course the color anaglyph tends to distort the other colors in the photography when including the extra tint. The black and white version doesn't and the complimentary tints cancel each other out generating the 3-D illusion. For a while that is. The problem with all anaglyph imagery is that your eyes start to absorb the tint after about 20 minutes which negates the dimensional appearance.

So does it work? Yes, in small doses and providing you set up your monitor or DLP to give the exact red and blue tints contained on the enclosed two pairs of glasses in the case. So make sure to see it in sections and not all at once and go into your menu to adjust the color tints.

Is the film any good? No, it sucks. Lots of softcore nudity but no penetration
shots that later hardcore 3-D movies featured. The women are attractive for this type of picture but they cannot act and that goes with the territory. The plot, or what there is of it, is about a group of Stewardesses sleeping around plus an added subplot to give it 'redeeming social value' as required by the Supreme Court to offset any accusations
of obsenity. This was made two years before "Deep Throat" sent shock waves through the adult industry with it's prosecutions and outright ban in some states including New York. I had to drive to New Jersey to see it and it wasn't worth the ride. If Damiano was clever he would've incorporated some political rhetoric between the sex scenes to circumvent obsenity charges.

Anyway, this is one of those movies that should be seen by film buffs (like the equally
trashy "Deep Throat") just to say you've seen it.

The suppliments on the second disc are good and more entertaining than the
feature. There is a documentary about 3-D that shows some rare clips of studio movies and other experiments. Also a panel discussion with the surviving filmmakers and one of the actresses who seems quite bitter about the experience. What's interesting is that they talk more about the marketing strategy than about the film itself. They even including a Second
City sketch spoofing the movie.

So there's my review and you can use your judgment to determine whether you want to be
a 3-D completist and sit through it for historical reference. Some of the 3-D shots are rather
amusing and it's the kind of flick you should see with some friends and a six pack to have a few laughs. I doubt whether female viewers will want to watch it though.
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