Debbie Does Dallas: Uncovered (2005)“Maybe now she’s living in Wisconsin, making cheese. I don’t know.”
– Eric Edwards (Rob Everett)
Review By: Mark Zimmer
Stars: A.J. Cohen, Eric Edwards, Herschel Savage, Robin Byrd, Bob Burge, R. Bolla,
Published: March 15, 2006
Other Stars: Bill Kelly, Pat Livingstone, Dan Hanks
Director: Francis Hanly
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nudity, sexuality, language, drug use)
Run Time: 00h:47m:17s
Release Date: March 14, 2006
The 1978 porn film Debbie Does Dallas was important in the mainstreaming of pornography, with a scandalous lawsuit giving it publicity. Probably the most-seen piece of smut after Deep Throat and The Devil in Miss Jones, it’s still a popular item today. This documentary, by filmmaker Francis Hanly, takes a brief look at the success of the film, its aftermath and the whereabouts of the stars today.
Although it’s a concept that more than sells itself, the results don’t quite live up to the possibilities. Although the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders’ lawsuit is touched on briefly, the substance of the suit and its results are passed over in silence. With one exception, none of the female stars are willing to discuss the film at all. A few of the male stars are willing (though none are very proud of their work), but watching them watch a DVD of a porn film that they acted in 25 years earlier is hardly compelling viewing. Altogether too much of the documentary is devoted to undercover FBI agents who were putting on a sting for the producer, Mickey Zaffarano, though it’s only tangentially related to Debbie.
Debbie herself, Bambi Woods, vanished from sight shortly after the film’s production, and various websites have reported her as having died of an overdose in 1986. Porn distributor Bob Burge theorizes that if she were, in fact, dead, she’d be easier to find. After tracking down her parents, Burge decided to respect her desires for privacy. The filmmakers apparently also tried to track her down, but they failed completely. Their attempts might have been interesting, but they’re rather skimmed over too. Several moving segments include the efforts of star R. Bolla to do legitimate acting, only to be betrayed by his agent, apparently upon her discovery that he had once done porn.
Although there’s plenty of nudity, the hardcore content is put well out of focus or cropped to keep things at a softcore level. That reticence is symptomatic of the film’s uneven attitude; although it’s more than happy to capitalize on the notoriety of the underlying smut, it quietly tut-tuts and cautions about the naughty content, the use of drugs (including the later overdose of one of the female stars), connections with the underworld, victimization of actresses, and other ills. It’s ultimately a somewhat hypocritical cross of leering enjoyment and prudish conservatism that doesn’t really fulfill the promise of the concept.
Rating for Style: C
Rating for Substance: C-
||1.85:1 – Widescreen
|Original Aspect Ratio
Image Transfer Review:
The widescreen presentation is, oddly, nonanamorphic. The film appears to have been shot on video, with the resultant lack of detail magnified by the lack of anamorphic enhancement. Color is reasonably good, though the palette is generally subdued. The Debbie clips are from a videotape sourced from an appropriately grungy print.
Image Transfer Grade: C-
Audio Transfer Review:
The 2.0 audio is quite clean, without any significant issues. The ’70s porn music in the background comes from the surrounds on a ProLogic setup, making for an immersive 42nd Street experience.
Audio Transfer Grade: B+
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English (closed captioning only)
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring Bob Dylan: Don’t Look Back, Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills, Andy Goldsworthy: Rivers and Tides, The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill
Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
- Bonus Documentary
Other than four unrelated and dispensable trailers for other Docurama releases, the sole extra is the documentary Diary of a Porn Virgin (48m:32s, 2005), directed by Simon Egan. This documentary follows three people as they dip their toes into the UK pornography pool. Frankie, a 38-year-old woman, leaves the corporate world to do porn, initially for private use and then for commercial pictures. Sahara, a young Asian woman, leaves the fashion industry for sex films and becomes highly popular due to her ethnicity, while Lee is a petrol station worker who gets into the business almost accidentally. This documentary, unlike the main feature, is rather more unflinching and straightforward, looking dispassionately at the good and the bad of the experiences these three share. It’s intriguing and works quite well, leaving one to wonder what happens next.
Extras Grade: B+
This is a somewhat disappointing look at the making of of a classic ’70s porn flick, and the aftermath of its release. The video source isn’t the best, though the sound is good. The companion piece is far more interesting.
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