26th Jul2017

‘A Touch of Genie’ Blu-ray Review (Vinegar Syndrome)

by Mondo Squallido

Stars: Chris Jordan, Douglas Stone, Tina Russell, Harry Reems, Marc Stevens, Ultramax, Herding Harrison, Levi Richards, Eric Edwards | Written and Directed by Joseph W. Sarno


Melvin (Douglas Stone) has decided to drop out of his education as an accountant and run himself an antiques store. Frustrated with where his life is headed and becoming ever increasingly sick of his overbearing and judgemental mother (Ultramax) his only escape are his dreams of becoming an author and heading down to his favourite movie theatre whenever he can to catch the latest skin flicks – in silly disguise of course! Here he develops an infatuation with the beautiful Tina Russel and just wishes that he could get the opportunity to satisfy her sexually. Just as this dreamer is giving up, he finds himself in possession of a mysterious lamp and after giving it a good rub, a beautiful Genie (Chris Jordan) appears granting him five wishes. With only one thing on his mind, he finds himself wishing his way in to the bodies (no, not that way!) of his favourite stars; Harry Reems, Marc Stevens, Levi Richards and Eric Edwards. Will he finally get his ultimate wish granted or will he fail to perform even with the odds in his favour?

Joe Sarno is a legend amongst cult film fans and performers alike. It’s easy to see why. Aside from being a joy to work with, he produced some memorable pieces of sinema. Thankfully, A Touch of Genie was one of them. I won’t lie, I was initially a bit worried I wouldn’t like this one. That stemmed from watching a trailer for Genie a few years back and being unimpressed. I find comedies like this from the latter part of the 60’s through to the earlier part of the 70’s to be a tad too cheeseball and corny. If that means I have to hand in my trash film fan club card, so be it.

Anyway. A Touch of Genie IS goofy. It is very cornball, but thankfully, the humour is levelled out with some genuinely witty and intelligent jokes. Yes, climax scenes are paired with comedic sound affects, but even the simple jokes like the explanation of Melvin getting five wishes instead of only three make a welcome juxtaposition. If you like good old fashioned Jewish personality, you’re going to love this. Oh! The meta aspects of the film are executed brilliantly too. There’s some genuine great acting talent on display no matter how big or small the role is. It’s amazing how a film like this can be clearly fun, but taken seriously by the cast and crew at the same time. You make this film now and it’s pretty much going to be young, dumb and full of cum. Speaking of cum, I didn’t expect this to be a hardcore feature – my ignorance going in to this (yes, I can own up to it!) film was that it was a softcore type of affair. Thankfully, the hardcore elements work nicely and are just as fun as the “legitimate” elements of the film.

The story is simple and well written. The jokes work. It’s well acted. Technically, it’s simple, but accomplished with some nice little effects thrown in and for those who enjoy the historical side of 70’s exploitation, there’s some great location photography and you will find yourself pausing to read what was showing at the theatres at the time of production. All in all, this was a very rewarding surprise that I highly recommend.

In terms of the release from Vinegar Syndrome, they have done a stellar job with the presentation of A Touch of Genie. I sound like a broken record when talking about Vinegar Syndrome, but they really are the best in the business when it comes to the preservation and restoration of cult cinema. Housed in lovely reversible artwork, the release itself is a tad light on extras. You get the trailer, a great interview with the legendary Eric Edwards and a very insightful interview with Sarno biographer – Michael Bowen. What you get is great, but it would have been cool to get a few more treats. That beings said, there’s really nothing to complain about here!

All in all, a wonderful release of a film you can watch multiple times!

A Touch of Genie is out now from Vinegar Syndrome.


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