Delicious (1982)

The prolific yet somehow still elusive Bill Milling's fantastic follow-up - in his classy "Philip Drexler" incarnation - to his widely admired A Scent of Heather is a delightfully naughty adult adaptation of Disney's Mary Poppins.  And, yes, to all you purists out there, I am aware that P.L. Travers wrote the source novel but pretty much everyone else associates the character with pretty Julie Andrews rather than the sour spinster the author described.  While it may borrow several of his previous film's resources, such as star Veronica Hart and the same mansion location, style and tone could hardly be more different. In all its unforced playfulness, not to mention a generous helping of Hart hardcore her fans won't want to miss out on, it remains one of the most purely enjoyable early '80s carnal comedies.

Wealthy Master Harold (engagingly portrayed by Aaron Stuart, an attractive actor in the early stages of middle age far removed from the stereotypical "porn stud" image) and Lady Caroline (future Femme founder Candida Royalle in her hands down finest performance) seem to have a spot of bother trying to keep a maid, mostly because Harold can't keep his hands off and his spouse has the annoying habit of walking in on them in flagrante. Matters are no different with their latest servant, superstar Desirée Cousteau, who's immediately sent packing. To give the Master his due, it's not really all his fault. Cold fish Caroline abstains from carnality during the day and refuses her husband any frivolous favors other than letting him fondle her bountiful breasts ! Mere moments after she has contacted the agency for Desirée's successor, the mischievous Divina (Hart) magically appears and is hired on the spot. Butler Maurice (Robert Kerman a/k/a "R. Bolla" on fine form) informs her that all hired help has to put out for him sexually to assure smooth sailing. When casually rebuffed, he plots revenge along with the randy gardener (Ron Jeremy, amazingly slender at this early stage of his three decade career) and Caroline's scheming brother James, beautifully played by the monumentally undervalued Michael Gaunt, an openly bisexual actor (he co-starred in the John Amero & Michael Findlay - a/k/a "Francis Ellie" on such joint ventures - gay porn classic Kiss Today Goodbye) who would live perhaps his finest hour in Roger Watkins' challenging if rewarding American Babylon.

The remainder of the family certainly can't find any fault with Divina. She soothes Harold's pent-up passions while his wife's right there in the room, though the maid magically assures she's unable to actually witness what's going on. The couple's horny offspring, Henry (an early appearance by the ever excellent Jerry Butler), tires of trying to make out with his feisty fiancée Harriet (Nicole Scent) while her parents (George Payne and Jane Kelton) are out, so Divina arranges a threesome with herself as an added bonus. Even Caroline succumbs to the domestic's charms, leading into an all time lesbo liaison with both ladies reduced to miniature size for a bout of sizzling lovemaking on a Brillo pad surrounded by huge pencils and boxes of crayons ! Even occasional Golden Age browsers should recognize most of the cast here, presumably with the exception of Scent and Kelton, a pair of blonde Milling discoveries who both turned up in his highly entertaining Blonde Goddess. Thin, small-breasted and husky-voiced Nicole had played a frisky maid (wearing the same outfit as Hart does here perhaps ?) in Drexler's Heather. The decidedly fuller-figured Jane briefly popped up as one of his original All American Girls from his "Bill Eagle" twilight period. The sex may not seem overly adventurous to present day porn audiencex, though there's a peculiar proliferation of "cowgirl" (i.e. woman on top, straddling her flat on his back mate), but that is more than made up for by its heartfelt nature. Veronica, then still a natural brunette (she would go blonde and redhead at various stages in her career), takes the lion's share of the lusty duties at hand and was clearly destined for imminent superstardom both in the thespian and sexual sweepstakes. Her grand finale with Kerman, Gaunt and Jeremy deserves special mention as it's the single scene to fleetingly feature rear end insertion, albeit post-coitally and just before a fade.

The director does a wonderful job keeping up the pace by playing the material as a French bed-hopping farce with all performers perfectly capable of hitting the right notes. First-rate production matches their valiant efforts every step of the way. Milling was not exactly renowned for his stinginess after all, rarely reticent to board a plane with a bunch of pretty people, whisking them off to whatever exotic location he fancied for stuff that usually wound up in later, more loosely plotted endeavors like Hot Stuff or In the Pink. Best investment he made here may be acquiring the services of vastly underrated camera man Mike Stryker, whose trademark brightly-colored, close-up studded style (the breathtaking credits sequence he shot for Ed De Priest's Skintight should serve as his permanent calling card) truly complements the whimsical fantasy theme, making Delicious a rare, successful adult exploration of cinematic territory generally, and perhaps not always altogether unjustly - deemed beyond the industry's grasp.

Directed by Bill Milling (as Philip Drexler Jr.).  Written by Anthony Vincent.  Produced by Milling for Praexis Productions.  Photographed by Michael Stryker.  Music by Phil Leeder.  Edited by Lola Labanza.  Starring Veronica Hart (Divina), Candida Royalle (Lady Caroline), Aaron Stuart (Master Harold), Robert Bolla (Maurice), Desirée Cousteau (Cathy), Michael Gaunt (James), Nicole Scent (Harriet), Jerry Butler (Henry), Ron Jeremy (Gardener), Jane Kelton (Harriet's Mother) and George Payne (Harriet's Father).  Running time : 80 minutes. 

 

Comments

This review is...Delicious

A great XXX film indeed. I have a huge soft spot for Veronica Hart, and find her to be one of the top stars of yesterday and today. I am a computer programmer and I was born in 1970, and I took interest in classic erotica when I was about 14, so I had to catch up a bit, but still got to see a large handful of XXX in several of my favorite mini-cinemas.
I prefer the women of the golden age of porn to the girls of today for so many reasons. Don't get me wrong, I love some of the contemporaries and what they have done for the adult industry and free speech, Like Lisa Ann, Jenna, Tera. But on the whole, the girls of yesteryear were even more unique than the girls of today. Those were the days of no silicone, no waxing, free sex and lots of it!
Anyway, this is a detailed and very well written review, thanks dirty movie guys. Oh and I love her in Roommates, as well.