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Nothing To Hide

Studio: VCX » Review by Don Houston » Review Date: 8/28/08

XCritic's Advice: Recommended

Nothing To Hide

VCX/Cal Vista

Genre: Classic Feature

Director: Anthony Spinelli

Cast: Elizabeth Randolph, John Leslie, Erica Boyer, Raven Turner, Misty Regan, Chelsea "Tigr" Manchester, Richard Pacheco, Holly McCall
Non-sex roles: Anthony Spinelli (as George Spelvin), Pat Manning, Robyn Whitting, Richard Dove, Eric Stein, Aaron Stuart, Tom Ramar, Roy Phipps, Arianne, Katherine Remy, Ronald Gregg, Nicole Adams


Length: 98:04 minutes

Date of Production: 1981

Extras: Unlike the OOP release by NuTech that had a great audio commentary by Jim Holliday (and Jill Kelly), the extras here were a bit truncated in terms of being related to the original flick. There was some artwork that showed some of the advertising the movie used when it was released in theaters (yes, porn used to be shown in theaters, albeit rundown dives for the most part), four trailers to shows like Easy, some shots of the various covers the movie has had, a slideshow, and some bonus scenes. The bonus scenes included one from Suzie Superstar (Shauna Grant and Ron Jeremy), Eruption (John Holmes getting a hummer), a compilation of pop shots in what was titled Legendary Hardcore, and various facial expressions showcased in a similarly titled Legendary Softcore.

Sweet Tigr!

Condoms: One

Audio/Video Quality: Nothing To Hide was presented in the original 1.33:1 ratio full frame color as shot on 35mm film back in 1980 by director Anthony Spinelli for this Cal Vista/VCX. The print used looked grainy and full of scratches but it still looked about the same as the NuTech version I saw a number of years ago (that has since gone out of print, desirable mainly for the audio commentary it had by porn historian Jim Holliday). There were compression artifacts and video noise too but the fleshtones were largely accurate and it brought back a flood of memories from when I originally saw the movie on tape back in the early 1980's. When this was shot, people making porn flicks were subjected to arrest and all sorts of legal trouble, but the gonzo craze had yet to be started so the sex was far more natural and spontaneous, my biggest gripe being the occasional watermark of the company logo added in for this remastered version in 2008. The remastering process used was not significantly enhancing either, I would have liked to see a feature with a before and after clip to show just how much (or how little) was done to achieve this version. This was presented in an MPEG-2 codec with a video bitrate all over the map, typically in the 3 Mbps range for those that care. The audio was offered up in a Dolby Digital 2.0 English, the original monaural kept but cleaned up slightly to give the funky music some extra punch (in the 192 kbps bitrate using the 48 kHz sampling rate). The vocals were clear and in balance with the loud music though, some over dubbing observed at times.

Body of Review: VCX had long been a leader in feature porn but did not keep up with the changing times so it fell off the radar for most people long ago around the silver age of porn IIRC. More recently, the company has explored starting up production again rather than just relying on their extensive back catalog of titles I grew up with in the 1970's and early 1980's, the advent of video pushing aside the "real filmmakers" in favor of the prototype pornographers that currently litter the landscape. VCX has also embarked on a drive to collect classics released back in their heyday by other companies, recently picking up the rights to a variety of classics from the long lost past, including the subject of today's review of Nothing To Hide. When this one came out over 25 years ago, it won just about every award available at the time, largely based on the strength of John Leslie's performance as a lothario and his friendship with his retarded pal. The series of movies the two made together followed a sexual Of Mice and Men theme to them, making some commentary about the jaded manner "Jack" approaches life and the naiveté shown by "Lenny". This was the one time that Pacheco upstaged Leslie in the acting department though Leslie scored sexually so well that I'm sure he didn't mind one bit. I still prefer the first one (Talk Dirty To Me) sexually but there was a warmer touch to this one that did not get too sentimental while covering all the bases sexually. Anthony Spinelli was one of the few that could make a movie work as entertainment on top of the heated sexuality, this among his top handful of releases back in his heyday.

The back cover said it like this: "Nothing To Hide stars legend John Leslie and his sidekick Richard Pacheco, Leslie the promiscuous ladies man who can never sleep in one bed too long, Pacheco the dim witted romantic waiting for the girl of his dreams. Directed by Anthony Spinelli, one of the most illustrious directors of his day Nothing To Hide carries a big budget, phenomenal acting and first class sex scenes with stars including Erica Boyer, Holly McCall and Misty Regan. Nothing to Hide is classic porn in its purest form. All natural women, fully developed plot, believable characters and spectacular sex scenes make Nothing To Hide a must see." I'm not going to bore you with the specific details here as the scenes varied tremendously in terms of length and sexual activity (I've seen contemporary single scenes longer than all the sex in this one put together) but suffice it to say that despite some technical issues (this was shot on 35mm film many years ago) with the film print used for the DVD master, the story holds up nicely compared to the largely disposable gonzo offerings of modern porn.

From Leslie's portrayal of the callous Jack hopping from bed to bed in an effort to nail any gal with a heartbeat to Pacheco's Lenny as a veritable sidekick that is always shut out of the action by the coldhearted and dismissive women Jack picks up, I found the exploits of the pair amusing even while loathing the mindset expressed by Jack, and to a slightly lesser degree, the women he encounters. Saving the warmth for the big scene where Lenny gets laid in an erotic fashion by sweet Tigr (also known as Chelsea Manchester), Spinelli proved he could capture the depth of a first timer even better than the rapid paced trysts he was so infamous for. The music might have been high on the cheese factor (how many pornos from the time period sounded even half way decent?) and the plot could have still been written on a napkin, but the way the bonding male characters were shown, it proved to be ahead of its time.

Sexually, Erica Boyer, still new to the industry when this was made, gave significant evidence of her future endeavors when she tore up the screen with Leslie. McCall was almost as good but the overall energy between the partners in each of the scenes was always high. I've grown quite accustomed to modern porn with all the tease, the enthusiastic romps of mechanically based Olympic performance sex, and the near standardization of what "must" take place in a scene for it to "work" but this was a nice blast from the past that all collectors should have a copy of to revisit on occasion lest they forget the roots of the industry and where porn could return if given proper incentive.

Summary: Nothing To Hide by director Anthony Spinelli really gave some freedom for John Leslie and Richard Pacheco to display their acting chops to the fullest. The ladies were not generally my favorites from the time period but they managed to show their best work here too, except maybe Boyer who went on to much bigger and better projects (sexually at least). It would be unfair to truly compare this one to any modern porn as it has the technical limitations of an aging film stock, a set of sensibilities lost two generations ago, and almost requires a different mindset to appreciate fully but I still believed it merited a rating of Recommended all the same, more if you prefer the classics. In short, Nothing To Hide is a title where porn aficionados have nothing to lose by picking up, I just wish the audio commentary found on the out of print version could have been included. Give it a look!

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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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