Retro Naked Came the Stranger (1975)
Radio hosts and film fanatics Gillian (Darby Lloyd Rains) and William Blake (Levi Richards) enjoy a happy (albeit quirky) marriage, except for one catch– he’s having an affair with Phyllis (Mary Stuart), their toothy assistant. Gillian even eavesdrops on one of their afternoon love sessions (one of the film’s comic highlights), and afterwards at a bizarre costume party during which she meets several old acquaintances, the noble wife decides to do a little sexual sampling herself.
Each of Gillian’s affairs appropriately divides the film like a book chapter, the most memorable being her encounter with Score’s Gerald Grant which cleverly plays out like a silent film. Henry Paris regular Alan Marlow also turns up for a daring, real life sequence in which he’s pleasured by Rains on a double decker bus as they take a sunny tour of New York. The story moves quickly, and while the sex scenes are probably the mildest of the Paris canon, they still generate some palpable heat. Rains in particular gets to finally break loose in a leading role and proves herself to be a delightful comedienne, often looking quizically at the camera for maximum effect.
In 1969, a torrid book called Naked Came the Stranger hit the bestseller charts and joined the ranks of tawdry potboilers from the likes of Harold Robbins and Sidney Sheldon. However, the difference here is that the entire book turned out to be a gag; the author, “Penelope Ashe,” was a pseudonym concoted by a group of writers for Newsday who each took a turn writing one chapter. Flash forward six years, when veteran softcore director Radley Metzger was looking for a second project to follow up the original story, The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann, which proved to be his first completely hardcore venture under the name “Henry Paris.” Returning to the literary roots of his European erotica films, Metzger latched onto the novelized hoax and tweaked it into another of his urbane, visually stylish studies in the human libido. Fortunately it also turned out to be one of his funniest films, a bubbly and fast-paced trifle that plays like Ernst Lubitsch after a hit of rapture…
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