FELICITY

FELICITY

Felicity (Glory Annen) begins the film as a student at Willow's End Ladies College, a strict convent school. She narrates in a bubbly fashion as we witness her fooling around in ballet class with best mate Jenny (Jody Hanson). Felicity tells us how she's always loved her own body and had always been fascinated by sex, despite having never known it.

Her awakening begins when Felicity showers after class and enjoys being watched by a voyeuristic gardener (director John D Lamond in a small cameo), the thrill of being spied on stirring something within her. From there, she takes an afternoon bicycle ride into the country with Jenny - again, she is excited when a teenaged boy and his younger brother happen upon the pair of them skinny-dipping.

Felicity even enjoys the attentions of lecherous old Mr Jacobs (Charles Gilroy), who she works for at his grocery store during the summer.

But when her wealthy father sends a ticket to spend her summer holiday with friends of his in Hong Kong, that Felicity finally sees her chance to blossom. Her first experience of actual sex comes when she witnesses a couple making love on the seat behind her on the aeroplane. Suddenly the pages of Felicity's well-worn "Emmanuelle" book seem very tame!

Arriving in Hong Kong, Felicity is introduced to married Stephen (Gordon Charles) and Christine (Marilyn Rodgers). They soon realise just how innocent the cheeky young convent girl is. During her first night under their roof, Felicity grows restless and takes a midnight stroll through the plush dwellings - and winds up witnessing her hosts rutting.

The following day, following a shopping spree and spot of afternoon tennis, Felicity confides with Christine that she saw her bonking, and that she is desperate to experience a man for herself. Christine promptly organises an evening party, to which she invites moustachioed lothario Andrew (David Bradshaw).

Andrew takes to Felicity like flies take to shit and invites her for a ride in his snazzy car, pulling over in a lay-by and ordering her to strip ("I want you bare assed on the leather"!). He then proceeds to pork her over his bonnet.

In the morning Felicity tells Christine that she didn't really enjoy the experience. Christine assures her that it gets better - she just needs to experiment with different men and different places.

To this end, Christine arranges for her local friend - the distinctly non-Asian-looking Me Ling (Joni Flynn) - to show Felicity around Hong Kong. Felicity's eyes are opened by a succession of dirty movies, witnessing Me Ling service a sailor on his boat, a lesbian encounter at a massage parlour and attending the local sex clubs.

But it's only when she's saved from a couple of would-be rapists by drunken motorcyclist Miles (Chris Milne) that she finds someone she can befriend before making love to.

FELICITY is very much a product of its time, a film that arrived just as the grindhouse allure of hardcore pornography had wilted and softcore nonsense was eeking it's way out of mainstream cinemas. With its soft-lens photography, National Geographic scenery and breathless girlie cooing of Annen, it perfectly fits the bill as a swansong to the flirty innocence of softcore erotica.

While patronising to modern audiences - it seems to cater for na´ve females, in a condescending "try it, you'll like it, it's okay to like sex" manner - it's done with a lightness in it's tone so as not to ever come across as offensive. And let's face it, the overall message - sex is better when it's with a friend - is unusually sweet for this ilk of fare.

Annen is an immensely likeable lead (she was also in Norman J Warren's PREY), playing the fresh-faced Felicity with verve and wit. Her naturally cheeky persona keeps her young and lively, bubbling with vibrancy throughout. Milne makes for a good Miles too, delivering some enjoyably terrible comic lines with an agreeable charm. The remainder of the cast are largely filler, but at least they're attractive and not averse to getting their kits off when required. The lovely Flynn is perhaps underused.

It's all certainly very old-fashioned and na´ve, but FELICITY has an energy and sweet nature about it that lifts it above the depressing norm of its genre. It's still padded out with too many redundant pans of Hong Kong though, and I assume it must be obligatory for this manner of film to be graced with awful pop ditties on their soundtrack.

Still, it looks like fun was had by all involved in making it, and that eventually rubs off on the viewer.

The film looks nice in an intentionally soft presentation, offering in anamorphic 1.78:1. Colours are lively and while grain and specks are so few that they are negligible.

The English mono audio is problem-free.

The animated main menu page includes a static scene-selection menu offering 24 chapters.

In terms of extras, the most substantial is definitely a warm commentary track from director Lamond and Annen. It brings out the very Australian humour of Lamond, and offers some fascinating insights into what at times sounds like a working holiday in Hong Kong. The relationship between Annen and her director is clearly a deep-rooted and affectionate one.

Elsewhere we get an anamorphic theatrical trailer that goes on forever (well, three-and-a-half minutes) and benefits from a ludicrously British voiceover. Very amusing, very 1979.

Finally there's the "Intimate Stills Gallery" - 19 stills from the film. Some are in colour, others are in black-and-white.

Sexy and fun, FELICITY is a cut above the other slices of so-called erotica I've sat through recently.

Worthy of note is that this UK Severin DVD release is NTSC encoded.

Review by Stuart Willis


 
Released by Severin
Region All - NTSC
Rated 18
Extras :
see main review
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