Wanda Whips Wall Street (1982)

The overall best of DoP par excellence Larry Revene’s all too scant directorial output, Wanda Whips Wall Street should pacify once and for all those prickly protesters who want a complete storyline and mainstream level production values in addition to sex that is both graphically explicit as well as searingly erotic. Very much in the vein of his mentor Chuck Vincent’s body of work, praise of the highest order indeed, this is one adult movie that truly has everything going for it, from an inspired and genuinely witty screenplay by another Vincent regular (Rick Marx, who delivered a double sucker punch with Roommates and In Love, the latter still sadly unavailable in any digital format) to an immaculately professional big name cast at the top of their form.

Former high class prostitute Wanda Brandt (the radiant Veronica Hart in one of her most appealing performances which, again, is really sayin’ something) has found an even more lucrative way of acquiring wealth, setting up dummy companies in order to take over some of Wall Street’s most powerful players. She achieves her goal by sexually blackmailing major investment firms’ stock holders out of their holdings by brazenly seducing them prior to reminding them of their marital status. Watching his company being eaten away under his nose, the president hires intrepid investigator Lou Perrini (Jamie Gillis) to find out exactly what’s going on. He tracks down and subsequently woos Wanda, who’s about to be duped herself for once, while their respective henchpersons – Janie (Tish Ambrose) and Ed (Ron Jeremy) – try their best to cover their employer’s tracks and throw each other off the scent. Unfortunately – but for whom, one might ask ? – they fall head over heels in love instead…

This stands as an excellent example of how to incorporate hardcore sex into a well thought out narrative, each encounter furthering the plot while simultaneously enhancing already impressive characterization. Hart and Gillis always worked well together (as Gary Graver’s first-rate Amanda by Night attests), their seasoned chemistry matched by the out of left field combination of Ambrose and Jeremy. Ambrose ranks perhaps as one of adult’s all time great missed opportunities, all too rarely given her due by fans and critics alike. Apart from this and Thomas Paine’s superlative Corporate Assets (which, incidentally, shares some of Wanda‘s themes), she seldom got the chance to display her impressive range. A party thrown by disgruntled stockbroker Samantha Fox as a last ditch attempt for Wanda to buy up the remaining stock once she has learned Perrini’s hot on her trail supplies most of the movie’s sexual content, including an incredibly intense little throwaway number involving Ron Hudd and too little-seen Sandra Hillman ,future fetish photographer Roy Stuart’s girlfriend at the time, who wowed viewers in Cecil Howard’s Foxtrot and Shaun Costello’s masterpiece Pandora’s Mirror.

The movie looks every bit as good – if not better, in fact – as anything showing on multiplex screens around that time. A master in his field, Revene undoubtedly kept tight reigns on DoP “Sven Nuvo” (a/k/a Steven Kaman) who came on board courtesy of producer “John Christopher” (the late Chris Covino) with whom he had previously collaborated on Babe and Blue Jeans.  Though you would never guess, the particularly well-staged Wall Street stock exchange footage was in actually shot in Revene’s very own apartment building ! I haven’t got a clue whose brilliant idea it was to re-edit much of this film’s non-explicit footage into an R-rated sequel of sorts, the distinctly strange Stocks & Blondes, but you can read all you ever wanted to know (and much more besides) about this oddity in the estimable Casey Scott’s excellent review on www.dvddrive-in.com. Revene finally stepped out of the shadows of his longtime Svengali with this formidable film yet would rarely receive comparable praise again, except perhaps for his controversial Raw Talent.

Directed & edited by Larry Revene. Written by Rick Marx. Produced by Chris Covino (as John Christian) & Steven Kaman (as Sven Nuvo) for Platinum Pictures & Communications Information Group. Photographed by Kaman (as Nuvo). Starring Veronica Hart (Wanda Brandt), Jamie Gillis (Lou Perrini), Tish Ambrose (as J.T. Ambrose) (Janie Richmond), Samantha Fox (Lisa Rogers), Ron Jeremy (Ed), Lisa Be (Ed’s Yacht Squeeze), Sharon Mitchell (Third Wheel), Sandra Hillman (as Suzanne Tyson) (Judy), Chantel Duclos (Lou’s Yacht Squeeze), Ron Hudd (Judy’s Party Favor), Ashley Moore (Lester Fryman), Peter Johns (James Wentworth), Steve Milner (Biff), Pat Finnegan (as Patricia Dale) (Lillian Pomona), Kurt Mann (Hartman Callison), Boomer Tibbs (as Carter Tweasdale) (Alan Anderson), Adam De Haven (Mr. Parker), Rick Marx (Fernando Gunther), George Payne (Lisa’s Party Favor), Richard Lowenkron (Sanford Tyler), David Ambrose & Ken Yontz (Hot Tub Studs). Running time : 82 minutes.

By Dries Vermeulen

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