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Candida Royalle's A Taste of Ambrosia

Studio: Adam & Eve » Review by Don Houston » Review Date: 3/31/04

XCritic's Advice: Recommended

Candida Royalle's A Taste Of Ambrosia: Tales From Women Who Know

Femme Productions/Adam & Eve

Genre: Vignette

Director: Candida Royalle, Veronica Hart

Cast: Alexis Firestone, Rugby Rhodes, Michele Capozzi, Jeanna Fine, Randy Paul

Length: 32.5 minutes for The Pick-up and 34 minutes for Nine Lives Hath My Love

Date of Production: 1987

Extra's: 13 minute photogallery scrapbook with director's commentary, trailers, a biography of Candida, advertisement for Candida's "Natural Contours" vibrator line

Condoms: Yes

Audio/Video Quality: The picture for both short films was presented in the usual 1.33:1 ratio full frame color. Of the two, The Pick-up looked somewhat better but both of them looked better than a lot of recent releases, a surprising fact considering the films were made 17 years ago. There was some grain and a bit of video noise in Nine Lives Hath My Love but the fleshtones were accurate and I saw no compression artifacts. The audio was presented in MPEG stereo with a fairly limited dynamic range but also a lot clearer than I'd expect given its age and format. The vocals were clear in the second film (the first not having any) and the music was well done in both.

-- sponsored by --

Body of Review: Candida Royalle's Femme Productions celebrates its twentieth anniversary this year, a fact that seemed to surprise Ms. Royalle when I congratulated her on it earlier this year. The company was set up to provide an alternative to the mass-marketed adult material that was, and remains, the primary style available in this country. As the so called mainstream porn market continues to promote rougher and more outlandish forms of sex (commonly referred to as "circus act sex"), Femme Productions slowly releases material that isn't quite porn but is certainly more hardcore than anything you've seen on pay cable. In a distribution deal with Adam & Eve, Ms. Royalle has released such hits as Stud Hunters and One Size Fits All to a receptive audience. Her latest release on DVD is a set of two short films that were made in 1987 but have kept their timeliness by virtue of their message, Candida Royalle's A Taste Of Ambrosia. Both stories are clearly from a woman's point of view, one from Candida herself and the other from her contemporary Veronica Hart (who is currently a director at VCA Pictures). This was part of Candida's Star Directors Series that allowed women a creative outlet back when none were available to them in the bigger companies. Read the following for a more detailed look at the two films included here:

The Pick-up: This short film details a couple trying to keep a spark in their relationship, using no dialogue, just their actions, allowing the viewer to bypass the normally cheesy acting and also to use their imagination as to what specifically is said between the couple. The movie started off with a woman, played by Alexis Firestone, and a man, played by Rugby Rhodes in his first adult movie, each preparing for a night on the town, or so it appears. She bathes in the tub, does her hair, paints her nails, shaves her legs, and puts on some nice lingerie under her dress as part of the usual courtship rituals associated with going out. He does likewise, shaving his face, showering and putting on a suit and tie, in an effort to look nice.

The two meet in the streets of New York, seemingly strangers but there was always the undercurrent of a relationship between them. Was she a hooker and he a John or were they old friends meeting somewhere convenient? You're never told, since that's part of the idea: to suck you into the reality of the situation. Eventually, the two meet and go back to the apartment, having a sexually fulfilling night for each of them. There were no facials, contortionist positions, or rough sex, just the kind of sex that pleases most couples in a mutually gratifying relationship. Let's face it, as a guy, unless you're willing to please a gal, you can expect many lonely nights sitting by yourself. As an early effort on the part of Ms. Hart, who wore many hats in the production of this short, it shows her viewpoint quite well. There was a build up, none of the cheesy dialogue where people who just meet jump into bed with one another, and each party at least gave the appearance of getting off. To sum it up, this is what a lot of people new to porn will probably feel comfortable watching with a significant other.

Nine Lives Hath My Love: This short film also looks at a young couple, played by a young Jeanna Fine and Randy Paul, who are having relationship problems. The show started off with the couple in bed making love. He's all there but she appears distracted, going so far as to play with one of her cats while he's taking her from behind. Needless to say, this is troublesome to the ego of her partner who suggests she teach the cats how to get her off if they mean more to her than he does. She has a career and outside interests that also take up some of her time, making him even more edgy. She attempts to reconcile by sharing her interests with him, painting his picture, rather than her cats as she usually does. Things work out in the end and everybody's happy, after a bout of good old-fashioned sex.

Much like The Pick-up, this film sidesteps the conventions of modern porn by not showing what amounts to a gynecological exam and abusive antics, taking a warmer approach to sexuality that a lot of women seem to prefer. This is not to suggest that all women want this style or that no men could enjoy it (I enjoyed it and considering my exposure to just about every form of legal porn in the last twenty plus years, that says something), just that it could address a segment of the market that has traditionally gone underserved.

Summary: So, now I have to decide what to rate this one, a nearly impossible task given that I'm not in the target audience. I think it looked good and the cast was nice enough with some value added by the commentary for the scrapbook so I'm going to rate this as Recommended to couples and women who aren't into more "traditional" forms of porn. If you're already a fan of Ms. Royalle, you'll definitely want to rate it higher and get yourself a copy. Fans may also want to note that my interview with Ms. Royalle from earlier this year, will be coming soon and she'll have a book out later this year so I hope you look forward to both.

Note: You can see recent candid shots of several more recent performers by visiting: My Photo's and read about their antics at 2004 AEE Show.


You can email me with questions at Houstondon @ hotmail.com if you have any constructive criticism of the review too. :) Also you can follow me on twitter @HoustonDon

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