One of three famous, ground-breaking porn movies of the early ’70s (Deep Throat, also directed by Gerard Damiano, and Behind the Green Door are the others), and easily the best. Georgina Spelvin (née Michelle Graham), as the busy heroine Justine Jones, is one of the most avid porn actresses you’ll ever see; she’s very convincing as a woman carried away by her new-found sexual hunger. The fact that she isn’t the usual blonde, bored, Nautilized, Lolita-type bimbo (she’s an average-looking woman who looks to be pushing forty) only makes her escapades that much more exciting — she’s a true woman-next-door. (And she can act.)
The plot has the depressed virgin Justine slashing her wrists in her tub, then awakening in some office-style limbo where a middle-management type (John Clemens) tells her she has to go to Hell. Justine argues that she’s done nothing to deserve it — not even anything fun, like sex. They reach a compromise: She’ll be allowed to act out as many sexual fantasies as she can before her time runs out and she’s sent to Hell. She loses her virginity to “teacher” Harry Reems and is soon dropping her inhibitions right and left, in a variety of clinches. To me, the most striking bit is when the brave Spelvin fellates a snake (!).
A couple of the sex scenes are too drawn-out, but Damiano (who also edited) is a stylish director who probably set the mood for all upscale porn. The movie’s weakness is that it’s too serious, with grave piano music by Alden Shuman and bleak, Bergmanesque touches trying to legitimize what could have been a lively metaphysical porn comedy. Still, it ranks alongside Cafe Flesh as a porno that tries to be more and succeeds. Followed by many “sequels.” Look for Damiano (billed as “Albert Gork”) as the nutcase in Hell.