Dec 6, 2017

The Stewardesses (1969)


"Produced on a budget of just over $100,000, the film grossed $25 million in 1970, becoming the most profitable 3D film ever released. In budget-relative terms, it remains among the most profitable theatrical films ever produced."  Sounds intriguing.  Let's have a look...



The film follows a handful of stewardesses of SGA airlines as they enjoy the swingin' scenes of the new sexually liberated generation.  Like Au Pair Girls, or the many Schulm├Ądchen-Report films, it's almost an anthology, following separately the situations of a group of girls somehow connected. 

This movie has a lot of characters to keep track of, and their stories take turns.  Like an episode of The Love Boat, we don't see their whole story at once, but rather sporadically mixed.  If you're at all interested in the story and not just showing up to the drive-in for the sex, then it can be pretty damn confusing.  Fortunately, I'm here to separate each girl's story out.  We'll start with Samantha...

SAMANTHA

Samantha  (Christina Hart) hooks up with a Don Draper type fellow - an advertising executive named Colin Winthrop (Ronald South).

Colin takes Samantha to a nice restaurant, and she's officially smitten.  Imagine, getting hitched to a rich ad man!

Back at his place, things take a dark turn.  Colin confesses that he engaged in homosexual activity when he worked in the mailroom at his company.

Why he feels the need to spring this on a first date, one can only wonder.

But it's all good.  Samantha has no problem with his past.  Colin is overjoyed and lifts her off her feet.... and the camera focuses squarely on the upskirt.

I'll save what happens next for the end of this review.  On to the next stewardess...


ANNIE

Annie (Donna Stanley) arrives home to find her parents gone on vacation.  She has the whole place to herself.  Annie thinks:  "Maybe I could take a trip too.  I'll take some acid."

Donna Stanley provides some extended FFN as she showers, dries off, and lets the LSD kick in...


Yep.  This happens.  Annie starts tripping hard, and has sex with her lamp.  The lamp, by the way, is a statue of a Roman bust... so I don't know if that makes this better or worse.  It is what it is.

TINA

Tina (Paula Erikson) calls up one of the pilots to see if she can come over.

Naturally, they end up shagging.  While they're making whoopie, we get glimpses of the pilot's many other conquests, as he, I guess, imagines the many girls that came before Tina.  Man, the pilots back in the day must have been the ultimate playboys.

CINDY

Cindy (Beth Shields) also calls on this pilot.  But he's busy with Tina.

Since she's left home alone, she decides to masturbate.  A pretty graphic scene you can tell was made with 3D in mind.

JO and CATHY

Jo (Anita de Moulin) and Cathy (Kathy Ferrick) and decide they want to go to a club tonight to unwind.

Several of these stewardesses share an apartment (Jo, Cathy, Samantha, Wendy and Ursella).  We get to watch as the gals get ready.  Of note is Ursella (Monica Gayle) who meditates nude...

.
..and then leans back.  Whoa!

Monica Gayle, you may remember as the one-eyed street gang member, Patch, in Jack Hill's fantastic Switchblade Sisters (1975). Monica also had guest spots on the TV shows Fantasy Island (1977), S.W.A.T. (1975) and The Cowboys (1974). Moreover, Monica had a recurring part on General Hospital.

So, Cathy and Jo have some drinks, enjoy some mod music and dancing, then it's time to head back to the apartment.

Jo: "Cathy... do you like me?"
Cathy: "Of course I like you, Jo.  You're my best friend."
Jo: "But do you really like me?"
Uh, oh.  I see where this is headed.


WENDY

Wendy (Janet Waas) goes on a date with a Vietnam soldier home on leave.  The couple goes to an amusement park, and we get to some really cool location footage.

Wendy and the vet go on a spook-house ride, which delivers some pretty cool 3D shots.

Sex commences.  Actress Janet Wass appeared briefly in the memorably sleazy Infrasexum. She was in one additional film in 1970, and that was it for her acting career.


SAMANTHA (continued)

And now we come back to Samantha, the first stewardess, for the movie's final scene.

Samantha and Colin have sex, and all seems to be going well... but something seems to be wrong with ol' Sam.

Samantha takes a statue and smashes in Colin's face! Then she takes a flying leap off the balcony.  THE END

WTF?  There's really not much explanation why this happens - I re-watched the ending, and it still doesn't make sense why Samantha would go psycho.  This movie was edited so many times during its run, I wonder if this was in the original, or if it was added to give the film a more dramatic "wow" ending.

The sequel (AKA Supersonic Supergirls) was a total unwatchable flop that ate up the vast profits made from the original
At any rate, it's a fun film.  However, I don't think its historic profits were the result of its content, but rather its keen marketing.  It's 1969 - what red blooded american male wouldn't want to go to the drive-in and see a movie called The Stewardesses?  And it's in 3-D!

The music is awful, the acting is awful, the sex/nudity is nothing to write home about, and the direction is pretty uninspiring.  That being said, if I had seen this when it came out in 3D, it probably would've been an amazing experience.

This film is a piece of history.  Any self respecting connoisseur of 1960s-1970s B-movies needs to have this movie under their belt.

★★★★☆