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The Stewardesses 3-D [Blu-ray]
(Alf Silliman Jr., 1969)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Louis K. Sher Productions
Video: Salvation / Jezebel
Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 36,410,744,760 bytes
Feature Size: 26,796,847,104 bytes
Video Bitrate: 23.23 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: December 13th, 2016
Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1563 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1563 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
•Experiments in Love (1977), a softcore short in restored and viewable in 3-D or 2-D (28:25)
• Original theatrical trailer 2-D only (2:41)
Description:A groovy time capsule from a more swinging era, the camp classic THE STEWARDESSES takes wing again in this restored 3-D edition. A group of friendly flight attendants spend their layovers engaging in casual sexual encounters and popular amusements (including hallucinogenic drugs and a psychedelic haunted hause). But the life of the stewardess is not without its pitfalls, and the women must eventually face the moral consequences of their high-flying lifestyles.
Perhaps the ultimate softcore exploitation film of the late '60s, this staggeringly popular 3-D sex comedy stars Christina Hart and made over $6 million, quite a sum in those days. Dealing with the sexual adventures of a group of pretty stewardesses during an extended layover, the film features LSD hallucination sequences, lesbians, Vietnam veterans, go-go dancers, rock music, and a surprising murder-suicide just to keep things interesting. The 3-D quality isn't all that great save for a sequence set in a carnival house of horrors, but there's a fun cast including exploitation veterans Nancy Ison (Cindy and Donna) and Donna Stanley (Take It out in Trade) and enough nostalgic tomfoolery to make it worthwhile. Directed by Alf Silliman Jr. under the pseudonym "Alan Silliphant", the film was originally rated X, then re-cut for an R, and finally released again years later as a porno film with hardcore inserts of completely different actors. Co-star Monica Gayle was in dozens of exploitation films like Sandra, the Making of a Woman and Switchblade Sisters, but also appeared as Kate Marshall on TV's General Hospital.
The Stewardesses gets the ingredients right, especially for modern nostalgia hounds: pasty skin, beehive-shaped titties, advertising agencies, Aviator-specked flight captains, Mai Tais served in brown plastic tumblers, and so on. And the 3D technology is used to nice effect whenever it shows some girl's feet thrusting over the shoulders of their sex partner. Maybe it's beside the point to complain that the cinematographer sometimes forgot to frame with both hands on the camera, or that the editor mistook endurance for stamina—even if the effect is that of an immaculate travel brochure printed backward and sliced down the middle of the page.
But the technical shoddiness has nothing on the film's woeful sexual politics, which sadly say more about the movie's contemporary audiences. It's not enough that they're presented as sex objects, which would be a forgivable necessary evil given the film's immediate context, but when the movie widens its scope to suggest things they might be doing aside from renting out their labial vacancies, womankind's options are revealed to be limited. (One girl memorably opts to hump a lamp.)
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Firstly, this Salvation / Jezebel Blu-ray package offers both the 3D and 2D (Standard) versions of the film, The Stewardesses. We will only review the 2D version here.
NOTE: The menu offers an option for both 3-D and 2-D playback, but only plays the 3-D if your system is capable - otherwise it defaults to 2-D.
The Salvation / Jezebel Blu-ray of The Stewardesses looks pretty crappy in 1080P. It's not so much the heavy grain or even the damage (which can be 'Grindhouse campy' - see last capture) - but there are artifacts and The Stewardesses has the worst framing I've ever seen on a film... ever! It's like the cinematographer was intentionally trying to chop heads out of the frame - continuously. Wow. This Blu-ray in 1.33:1 has some decent colors but is very inconsistent and had issues. For some - these weaknesses may both be expected and acceptable. I'm just commenting on their prevalence in HD.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Salvation / Jezebel use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1563 kbps (16-bit) in the original English language. There are no real production effects in the film - a few plane engines and lots of alley-cat-like moaning. Jaime Mendoza-Nava, with many genre films to his credit including The Town That Dreaded Sundown, Grave of the Vampire and Equinox, composed the score. It's probably the best thing about the film but, overall, not, also, without it's share of inconsistencies exported via the lossless. The dialogue was sometimes harder to distinguish - which would probably on-par with the production. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being region FREE.
Salvation / Jezebel include Experiments in Love a 1/2 hour 1977 softcore short - restored and viewable in 3-D or 2-D. It is equally as bad as the main feature. There is also an original theatrical trailer in 2-D only.
December 12th, 2016
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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