Wednesday, August 5, 2015

#1,815. Felicity (1978)

Directed By: John D. Lamond

Starring: Glory Annen, Chris Milne, Joni Flynn

Tag line: "She ain't Mama's little girl no more!"

Trivia: George Miller was originally slated to direct, but pulled out due to creative differences

A student at a Catholic boarding school in Australia, Felicity Robinson (Glory Annen) is anxious to explore her budding sexuality. So, when her father sends her to Hong Kong for the summer, she decides to take full advantage of the situation, surrendering her virginity within the first few days to Andrew (David Bradshaw), a friend of Christine’s (Marilyn Rodgers) and Stephen’s (Gordon Charles), the couple with whom she’s staying. After buying her a new set of clothes (mostly undergarments), Christine next introduces Felicity to the promiscuous Me Ling (Joni Flynn), who shows the young girl a world of pleasure unlike any she’d ever known before. But it isn’t until Felicity falls head over heels for Miles (Chris Milne), a professional photographer, that she realizes sex with someone you love is the best kind there is.

On the surface, director John D. Lamond’s 1978 film Felicity seems like nothing more than a seedy sex flick. In nearly every scene, someone (usually Felicity) takes their clothes off, and before the main character leaves the confines of her private school, we’re treated to sequences that, at best, are a little creepy (as Felicity showers in the locker room, the gardener, played by director Lamond, watches her through the window). Even the lead’s first few sexual encounters in Hong Kong push the boundaries of good taste. Andrew, who takes Felicity out for a drive in his sports car, orders her to remove her panties, and then has sex with her on the hood. Yet as lurid as this sequence is, it pales in comparison to what happens to the title character when she climbs on-board a pleasure yacht (while she’s watching Me Ling have sex with a strange man, a guy approaches Felicity from behind and, without saying a word, lifts her skirt and penetrates her). But Felicity isn’t just a soft core sex film; it’s a coming of age story, relating the tale of a girl who’s fascinated by her own sexuality. With Felicity herself acting as narrator, we experience each new encounter through her eyes, and no matter how unusual they may seem, she welcomes every single one with open arms.

Is the movie exploitative? Absolutely! During the scene where Christine takes Felicity shopping for underwear, the camera hovers right around Felicity’s midsection, watching as she tries on each new pair of panties. But thanks to the bubbly performance of Glory Annen, as well as the tasteful manner in which Lamond shoots the various sex scenes, Felicity is more a thoughtful, sweet film about a young girl’s journey of discovery than it is a straight-up sleaze fest.

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