Lilith Likes to Watch - The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann

Title: The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann
Year: 1974
Starring: Barbara Bourbon, Jamie Gillis, Georgina Spelvin
Director: Radley Metzger
Synopsis: A housewife is tracked by a private investigator hired by her wealthy husband. - Via IMDB
Lilith's Notes: An interesting plot, one of the first films inducted into the XRCO.

"We prefer the classic term...peeping toms."

The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann is the tale of a psychotherapist who quite enjoys sex. Her husband, suspecting her of cheating, hires of private detective to follow her and film her escapades.

Watching a Radley Metzger film in a post-Money March world is an interesting experience. Knowing what we know now, it sort of puts his output in a new light. In spite of that, sometimes his films, for a moment, speak for themselves.

The film has Metzger's usual signature wit. Some lines made me snicker. You can see and hear the beginning of what would become Misty Beethoven, Barbara Broadcast and Maraschino Cherry, but at the same time it actually has a plot, rather than just a series of scenes. Everyone's performances are good. No one really stands out to me, or I've seen them do better work in other films. Barbara Bourbon is good as Pamela Mann, but nothing amazing or outstanding. I had trouble telling a lot of the men apart.

As always, the film looks good. There are some very lovely shots, or creative use of camera angles, including one exceptional bird's eye view near the end of the film that is very nice. Metzger has a real eye for film. Early in the movie, Pamela Mann engages in oral with a guy in a scene that risks being pretentiously artsy. It's a blowjob shown in slow motion. I was having flash backs of one of my least favourite pornos, Behind the Green Door. But the reason it worked in this film is the context. It wasn't trying to be artsy, instead, it was a husband, poreing over video evidence of his wife's infidelity. It was a clever excuse for an artsy trick.

There's this subplot, or running joke, about a secretary who sits there while her boss cums on her face. Then she sneers, "You're disgusting". It gets more and more absurd, with her bringing out a lobster bib in preparation. The thing is, there's no light in her eyes. At more that one point, I was sure she was going to start to cry. It was creepy and not fun at all.

In another subplot with a hooker named Linda, played by Georgina Spelvin, and she and Pamela share by far the best scene in the film. It's sensual and erotic and is a stand out moment.

There's also a provocative rape sequence that's well shot and composed.

Finally, the film has a very memorable ending that I greatly appreciated. The Private Afternoons of Pamela Mann is an interesting look at Metzger's earlier work and to be honest, I think I might prefer it to his later stuff.

Is this amazing? No, it's fine. I'd recommend it for Metzger fans, or those who enjoy classic porno-chic but it needn't be at the top of  your want to watch list.


NEXT TIME:  Chosen for the beautiful poster art, we watch The Story of Joanna.