Babyface (1977)

August 29, 2013 by adamsunderground

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This classic can be described in a single word: variety. It’s graced with a diverse ensemble cast filled with potential and a packed story with almost no wasted or aimless efforts in its fast 105 minutes. Displaying wide-ranging skill deftly touching on several genres, Babyface succeeds in presenting elements of action, comedy, suspense, horror, fetish, and indie quirkiness. Even a softcore teaser is squeezed into the opening sequence, which indicates well-seasoned filmmakers who know how to draw an audience in.

The film’s title and opening sequence tease the viewer, as do several other instances in the screenplay. And this offbeat movie even ends in an unusual and unpredictable fashion, a likely bid to leaven the serious plot climax in the audiences’ minds.

Some minor problems crop up in this fast-paced feature, as finer story details risk being overlooked by the audience. Also, twice the wrong name is used in reference to someone not on screen, which shows how the large cast can cause confusion among the actors themselves. With such a densely packed film, a few sex scenes do suffer from some hurried and disjointed editing. However, each sequence smoothly lays across another on the screen, quickly papering over through distraction any flaws of its predecessor.

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Most of the actresses’ sexual performances contain instances of nuanced reactions, portraying natural-appearing concentration in enjoyment of the sensations. No over-acting gestures or noises drone or overshadow throughout any girl’s entire performance. In fact, there’s a marked improvement between the first intimate act’s beginning and ending reactions by the actress involved, which indicates an observant and adaptive crew.

A problem plaguing many gang-bang shots, the obscuration of the actress, does not arise here–the first movie reviewed to solve it. The crew wisely elevates the actress in a makeshift swing to waist-level of a standing man, eschewing double penetration for missionary sex and keeping her fully in frame throughout the majority of the act. Most other movies have the actress down closer to the floor, which forces the camera to be neck deep in a sea of cocks. Since mainstream adult movies are awash in fellatio shots–the fewer unnecessary cock views elsewhere, the better.

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Returning to its quirky independent-film aspect during the film’s closing minutes, Marion Eaton carries it entirely on her slim and surprisingly lovely shoulders after a stiff start reciting her lines. Although wacky and silly in her initial appearances, she also brings a striking depth of sadness and anguish that evokes comparison to Isabella Rossellini’s compellingly tormented performance later in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet (1986). Some people may find her wide-eyed expressions and unadorned features off putting; however, in just a coiled pose, her delicate figure quivers with a raw energy that’s undeniably alluring and untamed.

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Despite the faddish style of the period’s aesthetics, the production value stays consistently of high quality throughout the picture, utilizing the project’s resources masterfully.

A fun classic which should be required viewing for anyone interested in erotic cinema’s Golden Age, Babyface remains splendidly entertaining in any era.

Specialty Grade

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Cinematography A

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Visual Effects B
applications-multimedia Film Editing B

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Audio A

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Audio Effects B

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Musical Score C

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Sound Editing B

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Production Design A

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Screenplay A

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Acting A
Total Grade: A

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Image by 00anders, via Flickr

Click page 2 below for “The Morning after” Babyface

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