The 'golden girl of porn' (before being called a 'golden girl' inferred you looked like Bea Arthur or Estelle Getty), Ellen Steinberg, better known to smut fans the world over as Ms. Annie Sprinkle, remains one of the most beloved female performers from the golden age of pornography. Now retired from performing on film (well, sort of - she still pops up here and there and she's still alive and well and can be visited online at http:www.anniesprinkle.org - and she still looks great!), she certainly left one Hell of a legacy. A vivacious performer and a natural beauty, this Pennsylvania native who fell into the seventies New York porno scene took sex seriously. So seriously, in fact, that she's dedicated her post-film life to teaching sex education and she currently travels around the country speaking to the merits of tantric sex and plenty of other interesting subjects and she also works as a performance artist. More than just another pretty face, Annie's a bright gal (she holds a Ph.D.!) with a good head on her shoulders who knew exactly what she was doing when she willingly got into the business. Think of her as the anti-Lovelace, a woman who embraced her chosen career with gusto and who really made the most of it.
To get back on track, or at least more closely in tune with the movie at hand, Annie was a pretty big deal in the seventies and early eighties NYC porn community. In 1981, she teamed up with one of the kings of softcore filmmaking, Joseph W. Sarno (who was cashing in on a stint making hardcore pictures) and co-directed Deep Inside Annie Sprinkle which enjoyed a wildly successful theatrical release through Distrib-Pix. That film did huge box office numbers, and rightly so, it's as fun as it is sexy (and if you've seen it you know that it really is sexy). And now it lives again on DVD. Let's take a look...
The movie starts off with Ms. Sprinkle talking to the audience about her life and her work, before showing off a few choice Polaroid's. Sitting beside a candelabra in an evening gown that barely contains her ample rack, she sips a glass of white wine and eventually moves closer to the camera before walking out of the room - at which point we notice two oiled up men arm wrestling on her carpeted floor. She moves in on the guys, David Messa and Roger Ram, and sucks them both off.
From there, she moves into a room where Chrissie Beauchamp is waiting for her. The two ladies get it on, stripping out of their lingerie and using the mirrors on the walls to their advantage as they eat each other out. The scene culminates in a great bit where Annie uses her breast to rub Chrissie's pussy until she comes. Ron Jeremy comes into the room and Annie works him over with her tits before she lies on her back so that Chrissie can eat her out while Ron fucks her jugs until he gives her a pearl necklace.
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In the next scene, Annie sports a hot little latex outfit. She moves in on Marc Valentine, who is laying face down on her bed. She eats his ass before getting down on all fours so that he can fuck her up the back door with his fingers and then with a dildo. He pulls the toy out and replaces it with his dong and bones her doggy style, pulling out to shoot on the small of her back. She moves on from Marc to Mal O'Rae, who lies on his back so she can grind into him and rub herself. They move into a sixty-nine and then she rides him cowgirl style and squirts all over him. This segues nicely into a scene with Barbara Miller, Heather Young, Judy Bilodeau, Lisa B., Sheila Jones, and Annie Sprinkle, all of whom get nicely dolled up in some lingerie and spend a good bit of time getting down with one another in a fancy, ornately decorated room.
Once that fantastic and incredibly hot lesbian orgy is over with (and mark my words, it's a good one!), Annie goes solo for a few minutes and fingers herself to a climax atop her bed before busting out one of those massive old school vibrators and going to town with it. After this, Annie heads to midtown Manhattan where she wanders into the Orleans Theater where a marathon showing of her films is taking place. She sits down in the theater where a couple of male patrons - Jack Teague, Mike Feline and Michael Gaunt - are delighted to see her make an appearance, particularly when she gang bangs all three of them at the same time until everyone has been taken care of.
Next, Annie takes us from a grindhouse to a photo studio where Buddy Hatton is working with Bunny Hatton. Annie, wearing some spiffy blue hot pants, grabs the camera as she talks to us about what she's got in mind for the couple. She snaps some shots of Bunny's bush and then dives right in to get herself a taste. They play with a string of beads before Buddy moves into the frame and gets himself a double blowjob. He fucks Annie from behind while she takes care of Bunny before the girls move into a sixty-nine with Annie on the bottom so that Bunny can get some dick.
The last scene lets Annie wax nostalgic while the skyline of New York City shines behind her before she heads inside where she finds Ron Hudd waiting for her. He eats her out and then she blows him before he fucks her missionary style. He pulls out and comes on her and then we get one last 'Annie vignette' where she talks to us in front of the Brooklyn Bridge to finish off the feature.
A fairly traditional hardcore film that doubles as a cult of personality piece, Deep Inside Annie Sprinkle is a whole lot of goody, dirty fun. Annie's personality is all over this one, from the opening and closing narration to the talky bits and set ups that separate the 'fantasies' that make up the hardcore quotient in the film. The picture is very nicely shot and it makes great use of the New York City locations. A few interesting and introspective moments show us that Annie took this project pretty seriously and the results are all up there on the screen for us to enjoy. Even if the story isn't particularly deep, the picture is so well made and so well performed and Annie's personality is so infectious that you can't help but really dig this one, truly the perfect blend of spank-worthy sex scenes and interesting/amusing personality work that would set the scene for a lot of pictures to come.
On a side note, it should be noted that the infamous golden shower scene that was in the original version of this movie has been trimmed out of this DVD release. Hopefully the upcoming (as of March 2009 when this review was written) 'Platinum Elite' two-disc release from Video-X-Pix will restore the missing footage and beef up the extra features and transfer as well.
This fullframe transfer looks surprisingly sharp and colorful and the picture quality, for an old XXX film from 1982, looks surprisingly good. There are some specks here and there as well as a moderate amount of grain but this looks to be a film sourced transfer and not a VHS or tape source. The unfortunate decision to add a 'Video X Pix' bug in the bottom right hand corner of the image during a few key scenes is also a strike against the disc, as it is a little annoying when it continues to pop up, but other than that, the black levels stay strong, the skin tones look natural, and while there are a few scenes that look a bit on the soft side, overall this is a nice picture.
The Dolby Digital Mono soundtrack is a little muffled and not of the best quality, but again, it's taken from an older source so the limitations of the era's technology are going to be there when that's the case. Dialogue is pretty easy to understand, however, and the background music comes through reasonably clear. There aren't a lot of sound effects used in the film, mostly just some random moaning and groaning during the action scenes and these are handled just fine, as are the talkier bits of the movie.
The disc doesn't come with a whole lot in the way of extra features, just a trailer for Babylon Blue. Also included is chapter selection and some awkward looking animated menus.
Video-X-Pix's presentation of Deep Inside Annie Sprinkle won't wow you but the movie had damn sure better. Anyone who tells you classic porn isn't sexy hasn't sat down with this one yet, as it really is a scorcher, a classic smut movie in the truest sense of the word. Despite the minor cuts and the mediocre DVD, this one comes recommended based on the strength of the movie alone. Let's hope the promised two-discer improves on the shortcomings...