From California, to the Rio Grande, He Shot His Wad All Over The Land!
The first of what would be many Johnny Wadd films made by Bob Chinn and John Holmes, this is the picture that kicked off a huge career for the best known male adult film performer of all time. While Holmes had been popular in adult cinema prior to the release of this 1971 private detective story, this one made him a marquee name and a bankable commodity that would wind up exploited time and time again throughout his career.
Holmes plays the titular character, a private dick (pun intended) who works out of his dim office near the beach. He's asked by a woman named Wendy Bellamy (Andy Bellamy) to investigate the disappearance of her friend, Jeannie Hamilton. He accepts the case for a cool thousand dollars and a fuck on the couch. After Wendy's been taken care, Jeannie's sister, played by Sandy Dempsey, shows up and offers Wadd twice what Wendy was paying him in order to walk off the case and leave it alone. As the movie goes on, the cast of characters surrounding the missing girl come in and out of his office as Wadd's narration deduces that Jeannie's disappearance is somehow related to her family. Most of characters have sex with Wadd or with one another. Wadd eventually wanders around and asks a few random supporting players a question or two and eventually winds up getting into a fist fight with another guy before solving the case and having more sex but not before running into Jeannie's mother who fucks herself with a glass bottle because Wadd can't get it up for her.
Here's a quick list at the sex scenes - you don't really need a detailed play by play as this movie plays out like a feature rather than a simple fuck film:
Scene One: John Holmes And Andy Bellamy - Oral and foreplay leads into missionary, cowgirl, reverse cowgirl, and then a spunk load across her chest.
Scene Two: John Holmes And A Brunette - She fingers herself for him, blows him, and then gets fucked cowgirl, reverse cowgirl, and doggy style before he jerks off onto the top of her ass.
Scene Three: John Holmes Sandy Dempsey - She sucks him and strokes him and then fucks herself with a bottle before he takes over and uses the bottle on her after he can't get hard.
Scene Four: A Brunette And A Dude - After a big fight, Wadd strips this lady down, plays with her tits and sticks his cock in her mouth. He fucks her missionary style and then cowgirl style before pulling out and splurting on her shapely rump.
-- sponsored by --
Scene Five: John Holmes Andy Bellamy - In the last scene, she gives him head and he returns the oral favors and then he fingers her.
Shot fast and cheap, the first film in the now legendary series of Johnny Wadd films is not on par with the better sequels that Chinn and Holmes would soon follow with like Flesh Of The Lotus, The Blonde In Black Lace, and Tropic Of Passion but it is historically important for giving porndom it's first real recurring character and for starting it all for Holmes. Reportedly written on the back of an envelope and shot for under a thousand dollars (it's rumored that the film was shot for $750.00!) over a single day, this is never the less a fun movie even if it's obviously an incredibly low budget film that allows most of its action to play out in one room (which, according to John Holmes: A Life Measured In Inches by Jennifer Sugar and Jill C. Nelson was the Venice Beach apartment of cameraman Alex Elliott). The plot is pretty generic and far from deep but it allows Holmes to 'act' a little bit and while he wasn't an amazing thespian he's fun in the role and he does have a decent screen presence that goes beyond his massive dong.
Unfortunately, though completely understandably, VCA has altered the music on this release. Originally Chinn used a lot of Ennio Morricone music, though he did so without permission. That music has been replaced with some rather inappropriate and far too modern sounding instrumental tunes. You can't blame them for this as if they'd used the Morricone material they could very well have been sued, but it's still irritating when a movie is altered from its original form.
VCX has 'painstakingly restored' and 'color corrected' Johnny Wadd and had it approved by the man himself, Bob Chinn. The film was shot on 16mm so it's fairly grainy in spots but aside from that, this 1.33.1 progressive scan transfer does look pretty good. Colors come through with a surprisingly amount of enthusiasm and while detail will never be great on this picture, it really doesn't look too bad for a $750 16mm production made well over three decades ago. It won't and can't compare to modern productions, nor should it have to, but VCX has done a nice job here.
The only audio track on this release is a newly created Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound track. Considering that this film was definitely intended to play in Mono, it's odd hearing the mix spread out the way that it is here. Aside from the rescoring of the picture in some spots, things sound alright. You'll really only notice the surround activity when the newly added score kicks in, the dialogue more or less sounds like an old mono mix (thankfully) and so it has a bit of echo and softness to it. That said, everything is perfectly acceptable and easy enough to follow.
Writer/director Bob Chinn starts the extras off with a great commentary track that talks about what it was like working in the industry in the era in which the film was made. He talks about where the idea for the tag line came from, how the titles were shot while stuck on a garage door, and about the film's 'original' score. He points out locations and props used and explains where they came from and why they were used, and he talks about casting the film. An unnamed moderator keeps Chinn on topic and prods him when he clams up (which thankfully isn't too often) and he talks about how Holmes was paid $75 total for his work on this film, which included four complete scenes. It's a pretty solid track and it's great to hear Chinn look back on the film and talk about his experiences even if sometimes his memory is a little vague.
From there, check out the Bob Chinn Interview (19:58) where he talks about the job of the cameraman, his first film, how he got his start in the industry, and more. He goes over his career chronologically and talks about how he was a film student at UCLA and actually started his film career building sets. He talks about how it was important for XXX movies of the era to have a story, what it was like working with Wadd, the integral differences between working in the hardcore and softcore markets and about how video cameras have changed everything.
Also included are trailers for other classics such as Fantasy World, Hot Legs, Pizza Girls, and the excellent Prisoner Of Paradise (brief Bonus Scenes are also included for each of these four pictures) as well as a John Holmes Still Gallery, a web-link,
While not a perfect release, it's great to see VCX put a commentary on a film as historically important as this one. Holmes would make better pictures with Chinn and this isn't the best of the series but it's still a really fun XXX take on the hardboiled detective genre that makes good use of its cast and which contains a few reasonably steamy scenes. Highly recommended for fans of the golden age of smut for Chinn's commentary and recommended for everyone else.