Group Marriage (1973)

Group Marriage (1973)

Released: 1973
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Genre
Director: Stephanie Rothman
Starring: Solomon Sturges, Aimee Eccles, Victoria Vetri, ,
Run time: 85 min
IMDb: 5.8/10
Country: USA
Views: 56490

Synopsis

Storyline:
Chris is not getting along with boyfriend Sandor and has an affair with parole officer Dennis. Dennis invites the couple to dinner with his ex-girlfriend Jan. At a picnic on the beach, Jan meets lifeguard Phil, who later sleeps with Chris and moves in with the other five. Phil brings in a person, lawyer Elaine. The “group marriage” of the six of them attracts media attention, which brings trouble and prejudice.
User Reviews: A parole officer is picked up by a bickering couple after his car breaks down. In strange turn of events he ends up sleeping with the girl, but feels bad after the guy catches them, so to make up for it, he introduces him to his own girlfriend (former Playmate of the Year Victoria Vetri), who has "a great personality". The strange foursome move in together and add a hunky lifeguard and a sexy female attorney (Claudia Jennings, ANOTHER Playmate of the Year) to the arrangement. Eventually they decide to formalize their "group marriage", but they encounter a lot of problems along the way–conflicts at work, nosy attention from the press and the legal authorities, bigotry and right-wing vigilantism, and even "infidelity" (Vetri’s character does not want to remain "faithful" to the group).

Although this movie is definitely a product of the early 1970’s, it is also a good satirical spoof of the whole institution of marriage. It was no doubt inspired by bigger-budgeted "Bob, Carol, Ted, and Alice", but it is both more racy AND more honest than that more mainstream film. It’s surprisingly progressive even by today’s standards–there is a gay male couple next door who also ultimately marry (even if some might find them to be offensive stereotypes). The director Stephanie Rothman has been strangely ignored by the feminist types who lavish praise on practically every other female director. True, she mostly worked in Roger Corman type exploitation films, including sex comedies like this one and "Working Girls", horror movies like the great sexy vampire flick "The Velvet Vampire", and superior women-in-prison fare like "Terminal Island" and "Sweet Sugar". Still, she is a lot more of credible feminist, not to mention a far, FAR more skilled director than the late Doris Wishman (who gets a truly inexplicable amount of feminist attention today).

It’s, of course, not surprising that Victoria Vetri and Claudia Jennings are very appealing both in and out of their 70’s duds, but they are also probably THE two best actresses to have ever emerged from Playboy. Vetri had appeared in Hammer flicks in England as well as real movies like "Rosemary’s Baby", while Jennings would become the undisputed queen of the 70’s drive-in before her tragic death in 1979. By coincidence, I saw this movie back-to-back with the godawful Canadian film "Autumn Born", which featured another ill-fated Playmate of the Year, Dorothy Stratten. Clearly, it makes a big difference whether the sexy women in your movie can actually ACT as well as undress (not to mention, whether the movie itself is worth a damn). This movie really does Playboy Playmates proud, whereas "Autumn Born" and about a thousand other movies really don’t.

All and all, this is a pretty decent 70’s flick. See it if you get a chance.

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