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SHOUT! FACTORY

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Al Silliman Jr.
Cast:
Christina Hart, Michael Garrett, Paula Erikson, William Basil, Angelique de Moline, Kathy Ferrick, Janet Wass, Donna Stanley, Jerry Litvinoff
Writing Credits:
Al Silliman Jr.

Tagline:
The Unpublishable Novel Is Now America's Most Controversial Film!

Synopsis:
Its 1969 and the skies have never been friendlier. Experience a day in the life of a group of swinging stewardesses where anything goes. After The Stewardesses film opened in San Francisco in the summer of 1969, it ignited screens across the country, building a buzz that the Hollywood majors would die for. During the film s run into the early 1970s, new scenes would be filmed and added to bring more story and action to the feature. This 2-DVD set presents the full, uncut film in the original 3D color and black-and-white restored editions as well as a color 2D version. So put your tray table down, make sure your seat is in the reclined, relaxed position and enjoy the trip.

Box Office:
Budget
$100 thousand.

MPAA:
Rated X/R

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Fullscreen 1.33:1
Audio:
English Monaural
Subtitles:
None
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 93 min.
Price: $24.99
Release Date: 1/27/2009

Bonus:
• Both 2D and 3D Versions of the Film
• Original 3D Title Sequence
• Deleted Scenes
• 3D Lens Tests
• “A Short History of 3D” Featurette 11:32
• “The Stewardesses: How It Was Shot and Shown” Featurette 3:36
• “How The Stewardesses Took Off” Featurette 21:34
• Trailer
SCTV Sketch
• Booklet


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Harman/Kardon DPR 2005 7.1 Channel Receiver; Toshiba A-30 HD-DVD/1080p Upconverting DVD Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


The Stewardesses 3D: 40th Anniversay Edition (1969)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 28, 2009)

For a decidedly unusual entry in the world of 3D movies, we turn to 1969’s The Stewardesses. This “X”-rated romp focuses on a collection of SGA flight attendants. We follow them as they live their swinging lives, meet men, and have plenty of sex.

And that’s about it in terms of plot. Seriously. The closest thing to a real storyline comes from the interactions of stewardess Samantha (Christina Hart) and an ad exec named Colin Winthrop (Michael Garrett). She wants to get into showbiz and sees him as an entry into that field. However, she also falls for him, and this leads to complications.

It also leads to an idiotic conclusion to the film. After 80 minutes of plot-free nonsense, the movie suddenly concentrates on the Colin/Samantha relationship and takes a tremendously dark turn – a change of pace so out of tune with the rest of the flick that I have no clue why the filmmakers thought it was a good idea. Perhaps they felt it added depth to the tale, but they were wrong. Instead, it comes out of nowhere and just makes the preceding material seem even more absurd.

Though “boring” is the best word to describe The Stewardesses. According to the DVD’s case, Stewardesses caused a sensation 40 years ago. Were people really so starved for sex-related films that this atrocity kept them engrossed? I guess, but it’s hard to imagine this snoozer actually entertained anyone.

On the positive side, the flick features a lot of attractive women, and we see a lot of fine full-frontal nudity. The sex scenes are nothing remotely graphic, though; though rated “X”, Stewardesses is so soft-core it’s more of an “R”. You see nothing explicit in terms of the sex; the nudity is the only racy aspect of the film.

And that might be enough to pique interest in The Stewardesses - it’ll have to be, because the flick has nothing else going for it. As I mentioned, the story is non-existent, so the scenes between sex shots are insanely dull. We find bizarrely long segments that show nothing more than a guy making drinks for a few minutes. These cause the film to drag and mean that it seems even more pointless.

The Stewardesses offers one of the most incompetently made flicks I’ve ever seen as well. We constantly see bizarre framing choices. In the DVD’s extras, we learn that a lot of the “story” was improvised, and the shots contribute to that impression. The movie often looks like a pan and scan effort: people get crammed and cropped on the sides, and the camera frequently floats as it searches for an appropriate resting place. I’ve never seen so many perplexing shots in one film.

Nothing else leads one to believe professionals made the movie either. We find amateurish performances, jerky cutting, laughable music and many other problems. It’s like a master class in how not to make a good movie.

Much of the problem comes from the film’s haphazard production history. While a version of it debuted in 1969, the producers kept shooting and changing it even while it ran in some theaters! Apparently the original cut was little more than reels of sex/nudity with little plot; the producers added the Colin/Samantha tale to help get around anti-pornography laws.

While this helps the viewer make sense of the film’s muddled story, it doesn’t mean I can forgive those flaws. I don’t care how a movie is made; I simply care about how good the final product is. In the case of The Stewardesses, all that tinkering did nothing to turn it into an effective, interesting piece of work.

The Stewardesses almost merits a look due to the kitsch factor; some may want to watch it from the campy “so bad it’s good” point of view. However, the movie’s so damned boring that it’s just bad. The camp element might keep you interested for the first 20 minutes or so, but after that you realize just how turgid and pointless the film really is.


The DVD Grades: Picture D+/ Audio D/ Bonus C+

The Stewardesses appears in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; due to those dimensions, the image has not been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. For grading purposes, I only rated the 2D version of the flick; I’ll give some thoughts about the 3D versions later.

The 2D edition occasionally looked good, but it usually was pretty messy. Sharpness was generally decent but not much better than that. Some shots showed nice delineation, while others were softer and less focused. No real issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement seemed absent.

Source flaws were a more notable issue, though, as a mix of specks, marks, debris, tears, lines and other concerns. Grain also tended to be somewhat heavy. Some parts of the movie came across without too many defects, but quite a few emerged.

Colors varied. Cleaner shots displayed pretty good vivacity, but those weren’t the rule. The grain impacted on the hues, as they made the tones rather bland at times. This meant the colors were a mixed bag and usually no better than average.

Blacks tended to seem dull and inky, while shadows had similar problems. Low-light shots generally seemed flat and somewhat opaque. Overall, I thought the image was good enough for a “D+“; it wasn’t a memorable transfer.

The degraded presentation that comes with those blasted 3D glasses makes it more difficult than usual to rate the picture quality of the 3D Stewardesses - so I didn’t. It just didn’t make sense for me to try to objectively rate a visual presentation that came with so many inherent flaws. The red/blue 3D glasses meant those hues dominated; anything not red or blue in the film ran into problems. The technology used for this kind of 3D work simply made natural colors impossible.

The glasses also tended to negatively affect sharpness. Some parts of the 3D presentation showed good delineation, but the nature of the material meant the shots occasionally provided double images and were somewhat blurry. It’s simply a flawed technology, so I didn’t want to saddle it with a grade.

That said, Stewardesses provided one of the more effective 3D presentations I’ve seen at home – especially when viewed in its monochromatic version. In an interesting twist, the DVD provides both color and black and white editions of the film. The package doesn’t explicitly address this issue, but I get the impression the B&W version was created solely for the DVD, as the producers believe it provides superior 3D imagery.

And they’re right. Once we eliminate the complications of color reproduction, the B&W 3D Stewardesses looks surprisingly good. Oh, it’s not a stellar presentation, and it still suffers from some of the problems that affect the 2D rendition. Nonetheless, the 3D effects work quite well, and the general fidelity of the image seems pretty nice. The glasses even gave me less of a headache than usual!

As for the color 3D version, it’s also better than many others I’ve seen, but it comes with the usual complications. Some parts look nice, some don’t. If you want to watch the film in 3D, I’d definitely recommend the black and white rendition; you lose nothing useful from the color version, and it works much better.

Don’t expect much from the generally poor monaural soundtrack of The Stewardesses. I got the impression that little post-production work accompanied the flick, so the majority of the audio came from the set. This meant a lot of stiff, brittle speech. The lines were usually intelligible, though they seemed so metallic that they could be rather unnatural.

Effects fell into the same realm. Again, the vast majority of these elements clearly were recorded on the set, so they presented tinny reproduction. Granted, they didn’t have a lot to do, as this wasn’t a flick that used effects for much.

Music was a more prominent presence, and it presented the strongest aspect of the track. “Strongest” doesn’t necessarily mean “good”, however. The score showed acceptable clarity but remained fairly rinky-dink and feeble; other than occasional bouts of muddy bass, little dynamic range accompanied the music. I admit that I didn’t think I’d get anything better than this spotty soundtrack, but it still didn’t deserve a grade higher than a “D”.

We get a decent mix of extras here. As I already noted, the package includes both 2D and 3D versions of The Stewardesses. I won’t say more about them here – there’s no need – but I wanted to cite the extra versions as supplements anyway.

On DVD One, we find the film’s Original 3D Title Sequence. It runs one minute, 10 seconds and shows the movie’s 1969 title cards. It offers nothing else different; it simply lets us see the old credits.

Six Deleted Scenes fill a total of nine minutes, 15 seconds. Because these are silent – as are the other DVD One bonus materials – it’s impossible to discern any speech, but dialogue is irrelevant in this movie anyway, so it’s not a problem. I don’t expect substantial plot material appears here, especially since there is no plot to The Stewardesses. We do find some more pretty good nudity as well as weird test shots of a character’s suicide plunge.

DVD One also provides six minutes. 43 seconds of 3D Lens Tests. Some of these crop up in the menus: they show cute women who fling or poke items at the camera. They’re as silly as can be.

With that, we head to DVD Two. A featurette called A Short History of 3D goes for 11 minutes, 32 seconds and offers exactly what its title promises: a quick overview of 3D photographic techniques and uses over the years. It also shows clips from seminal 3D films and a trailer for The Maze in 3D at its end. This isn’t a comprehensive examination of 3D movies, but it’s a nice summary.

Next comes the three-minute and 36-second The Stewardesses: How It Was Shot and Shown. It provides remarks from SabuCat Productions’ Jeff Joseph as he describes the particular 3D methods used for The Stewardesses. This acts as a good supplement to “A Short History”, especially since it offers specifics about the main attraction here.

For the final featurette, we go toHow The Stewardesses Took Off. During the 21-minute and 34-second show, we hear from writer/director Allan Silliphant, actor/makeup artist Bill Condos, producer/cinematographer Chris Condon, crew member Dan Symmes, Emerson College Dept. of Visual and Media Arts professor Eric Shaefer, art director Victoria Condon-Silliphant, and actor Christina Hart. We learn about the film’s origins and shoot, cast and performances, the film’s “story” and some memorable scenes, the use of 3D, reshoots, the ad campaign and the theatrical release, and the movie’s success and legacy.

Expect a decent look at The Stewardesses, but not one with great depth. Actually, you have to infer far too much here. For instance, I figured out that much of the flick was shot in 1969 but additional segments were done later. Real details remain elusive, so “Took Off” feels more anecdotal than anything else. We still find some interesting tidbits, but it’s too bad the disc doesn’t include a more comprehensive documentary or a commentary.

If you want actual entertainment, you’ll find it via the set’s SCTV Sketch. This six-minute and four-second segment from 1981 shows Dr. Tongue’s 3D House of Stewardesses. I have no idea if the geniuses at SCTV were influenced by The Stewardesses when they came up with this sketch; I’d guess “yes”, though the two stories have nothing in common other than stews and 3D. In any case, it’s hilarious.

A four-page booklet also appears. Symmes provides some brief text about the film’s release and success. It’s decent but not substantial.

A few ads open DVD One. We get clips for Greg the Bunny, Jeffrey Ross: No Offense, and getback.com. DVD Two also includes the trailer for The Stewardesses.

I never thought a movie with tons of hot naked women could be boring, but The Stewardesses proved me wrong. A virtually plot-free exercise in silliness, the film turns into a plodding endurance test. The DVD provides dated, flawed picture and audio along with a few decent extras. I think it’s cool that this movie is on DVD for historical reasons, but it’s not remotely entertaining.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.4285 Stars Number of Votes: 7
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0 3:
02:
21:
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main