Wednesday, August 5, 2015

#1,815. Felicity (1978) - Spotlight on Australia

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, Felicity Robinson (Glory Annen) is ready to explore her budding sexuality. So when her father sends her to Hong Kong for the summer, she decides to surrender her virginity to Andrew (David Bradshaw), a friend of the couple she's staying with, Christine (Marilyn Rodgers) and Stephen (Gordon Charles).

After buying her a new set of clothes (mostly undergarments), Christine next introduces Felicity to the promiscuous Me Ling (Joni Flynn), who reveals to the young woman a world of pleasure unlike any she had ever imagined.

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 Felicity feels like a seedy sex flick. In nearly every scene, someone (usually Felicity) takes off their clothes, and even before the title character leaves the confines of her private school, we’re treated to a few sequences that, at best, are creepy (as Felicity showers in the locker room, the gardener, played by director Lamond, watches her through the window).

The lead’s first few sexual encounters in Hong Kong also push the boundaries of good taste. Andrew, who takes Felicity out for a drive in his sports car, orders her to remove her panties, then has sex with her on the hood. Yet as lurid as this sequence is, it pales in comparison to what happens to the Felicity when she boards a pleasure yacht. As she is watching Me Ling have sex with a stranger, a guy approaches Felicity from behind and, without saying a word, lifts her skirt and penetrates her.  But Felicity proves more than a soft core sex film. It is, at times, a touching coming-of-age story, relating the experiences of a girl fascinated by her newfound sexuality. With Felicity herself acting as narrator, we experience each new encounter through her eyes, and no matter how unusual or lurid they may seem, she welcomes them all with open arms.

Is Felicity 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 set 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 self-discovery than it is a straight-up sleaze fest.

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