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Video Rewind: Bad Girls

Updated on November 6, 2014
Jill Clayburgh and Melanie Mayron work the New York streets in Hustling
Jill Clayburgh and Melanie Mayron work the New York streets in Hustling

I've always liked the "controversial" television movies from the '70's. Looking back now they're nothing but pure campy fun and if you're fortunate enough to find a DVD titled Great Bad Girl Movies then you're in for the campiest night of your life.

The DVD has three full length movies of the week which aired in 1975, 1977 and 1982. It's a hard find but once you find it you'll race to your DVD to watch it.

Beginning with 1975's Hustling this movie is about a reporter (Lee Remick) who's writing an expose on prostitution. She hooks up with Wanda (Jill Clayburgh) a tough New York City transplant turned bad girl. It isn't until she's being interviewed by Remick that she realizes she's not gaining any of the money she's been "earning."

While Remick pays Wanda for her time, we're also introduced to Wanda's friends, Dee Dee (Melanie Mayron) and Giselle (Beverly Hope Atkinson). Giselle has some of the best lines in the film and at the same time you can't help but feel sorry for Dee Dee, who has a baby and is always behind in her quota when it comes to turning tricks. Their pimp Sweet doesn't like it.

Even though Remick leads a "straight" life, she questions herself if she (and all women) aren't prostitutes whether it's legal or not to her boyfriend/lover Orin (Monte Markham). She says to him on a night out that first he'll take her to dinner and then they'll end up in bed. A sort of pay for play turnabout.

Soon she turns the story into who gets rich off of the working girls and delves into a much deeper story. It's a turn around in the plot which makes you wonder who does profit from it.

The second movie on the DVD is Little Ladies of the Night which was billed as a TV special.

Linda Purl stars as Hailey Atkins, a runaway who's in competition with her mother's (Carolyn Jones) affection with her father (Paul Burke) at least in her mother's eyes. Hailey is picked up in the great city of Los Angeles by undercover cop Vic Tayback for slipping into his car to sleep.

After spending the night in the pokey with Kathleen Quinlan (Karen) she ends up going home but only for a night when her mother starts in on her again. After her mother drops her off at school, Hailey decides to skip town and heads back to L.A. where she meets bus stop pimp Comfort (Clifton Davis).

He picks her up, seduces her and before she knows it after some sweet talk from him and his main lady Maureen (Lana Wood) she's expected to start turning out some tricks.

Enter David Soul, an ex-pimp who's working with the police on getting the girls off the street. He spots Hailey and sets about to help her.

On the big night she's about to be turned out, she bumps into Karen and gets the quick lowdown and as in any good bad girl movie, she doesn't listen and ends up with a trick while Maureen sits in a corner knitting.

Realizing now what she's up against, she goes to the police and seeks out Soul's help only to be placed in a "foster type environment school" where there's an evil head mistress played by Katherine Helmond.

Hailey runs away and after a heart to heart with Karen, goes back to Comfort where she starts turning tricks on the half hour.

Our third movie is Portrait of a Showgirl starring Lesley Ann Warren, Rita Moreno and Tony Curtis.

I'm not sure if this is supposed to be an expose' of a showgirls life, but Lesley Ann blows into Las Vegas to become a dancer (and star) in a new show after leaving her married boyfriend behind in New York.

Her arrival is timed perfecting as naïve Dianne Kay (Marci) hits town to live life as a dancer and make it in Vegas. After four days of living in the town that gambles she's taught a lot about life. She gets to witness the toughness of being a dancer, gets robbed and loses her job.

Moreno on the other hand has been a Vegas dancer for years and takes Marci under her wing, but it's Jillian who the others have to watch out for. Jillian knows how to manipulate and nothing will stand in her way to get what she wants.

From the moment the two meet there's definitely dancer rivalry and the two seem to avoid each other when the two meet on the first day of rehearsal. Being from New York, Jillian kisses up to the choreographer giving him many suggestions as to how to improve the show. The chorus girls don't like this.

While Marci's character is limited, her confidence level increases after a confrontation with Jillian and Rosie has demons of her own to fight with risk taking husband Curtis.

Sure the movies are cheesy but remember these were considered "controversial" when they first debuted on television.

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    • Eric Tuchelske 1 profile image
      Author

      Eric Tuchelske 3 years ago from Detroit

      "Hustling" is a true campy television classic. One of my friends and I first found it on VHS in '85 and then I bought a copy for our amusement. I think we only had that video and another that we watched everyday.

      "Little Ladies of the Night" is alright but the worst of the lot is "Portrait." I always have a hard time watching that one.

    • FatFreddysCat profile image

      Keith Abt 3 years ago from The Garden State

      I used to have this DVD!! Quite frankly, when I came across it in the store I was expecting something a bit more, shall we say, sleazy (haha). I was a little bummed when the movies turned out to be fairly tame made-for-TV fare from the 70s.

      The only movie I made it all the way thru was "Hustling," the others were so bad I couldn't finish them.

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