The Pleasures of a Woman

Certificate: 18
Running time: 60 mins
Director: Nick Millard (aka Nick Phillips)
Starring: Uschi Digard, Lynn Harris, Neola Graef
Genre: Drama
Format: DVD
Country: USA

When a wealthy man dies the only thing standing between his niece Lynn (Lynn Harris) and her sizeable inheritance is his manipulative wife Martine (Uschi Digard) and her sizeable assets.  The two women begin to square off in a back and forth game of prowess and sexual tension.

Uschi Digard has come back into fashion in recent years.  Not only is she the face (and body) of Russ Meyers and his cinematic ethos but has been there or thereabouts in some of the most ironic yet subversive offerings that exploitation cinema had to offer (Ilsa She Wolf of the SS, Ilsa Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks and The Black Gestapo).  Films that not only shaped the future of the genre but also managed to shape the perception of the period by those who came to it in later generations.  Uschi's influence have even earned her a lucrative DVD boxset of her work which is surely the ultimate compliment in a commercial age.  The Pleasures of a Woman is sadly not one of these films.

There are many problems with this film but in order to highlight the problems it's important to look elsewhere. This is 1972 and elsewhere directors like Jack Hill are working in the Philippines reinventing the exploitation wheel, Eddie Romero has just released The Beast of the Yellow Night (a film so wonderfully innovative that you wonder how more aren't made this way) and then you have The Pleasures of a Woman.  The voice over is dreadful, the dialogue flat and clunky to the point where you wonder whether there was anything actually written down when Lynn Harris went to recording.  Then you have Lynn Harris' voice which in itself is enough for you to voluntarily switch to Babestation.  Desiree Cousteau is made to look like Meryl Streep by Harris' narration.  The jazz score is added for the reason that most people have issues with people who say they like jazz.  The notion of jazz for jazz's sake is one based in pretension and not only highlights how little there was on paper for this film but how lazy and talentless the film makers are.  It will make you want to punch the genre of jazz squarely in it's face.  Anyone claiming that this is an exploitation film needs to think twice before speaking.  True exploitation cinema have certain key facets that set it apart (like any genre does), the biggest one (and most endearing) in exploitation is it's attempt to make the film greater than the budget or talent will allow.  The Pleasures of a Woman doesn't have doesn't have anything, it isn't trying to be anything other than slightly titillating.  One review I've read of the film called it "A Great Example of Post-Hippie Erotica" but it isn't even that, the only way you could find it erotic is if you had a fetish for heavy petting.  If it's Post-Hippie Erotica you're looking for then at least go for something that's actually made like it's trying to be an actual film like Taboo.

It seems that if you're interested in Digard's work in exploitation there's a window between 1975 and 1977 where she's involved in actual, quantifiable and enjoyable films.  Everything else appears to be lazy and dull examples of softcore pornography they attempt to tart up with some Miles Davis rip off and pass off as exploitation which does nothing but give the genre a bad name.  Terrible film but in the vein of the school educational system you have to give it a mark for actually existing even when you wish it didn't.


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