Maraschino Cherry (1978)

I doubt many people will argue when I say The Opening of Misty Beethoven rises so far above the remainder of 1970s (and beyond) XXX fare that any movie that even glances in its direction will automatically attract some attention, by force of association alone. Certainly that is the case with Maraschino Cherry, a glorious reunion for director Radley Metzger and co-stars Gloria Leonard and Constance Money, and once again built around the conceit of teaching the tricks of the sexy trade to a young ingenue. In this case, the country girl younger sister of the Madame of a high class New York brothel.
     Leonard is Maraschino, Jenny Baxter is sister Penny, sent up from the sticks by her parents to discover whether big sis really is the successful model she claims to be – or if, as the parents reckon, she’s just a very successful whore. And they’re hoping for the latter, because the homestead is deep in the late 70s recession, but there’s one commodity that always sells, even when times are hard. Because cocks are always hard as well.
     That is the set up, and a handful of linking scenes make sure your eye stays on the ball. But the heart of the movie is a series of vignettes revolving around a day in the life of Maraschino and her staff – strange fetishes, peculiar urges, odd demands…. There is a slave in the basement, CJ Laing, and her scenes are absolutely fabulous – in fact one, involving out-stretched arms, two glasses of whiskey and a dildo up the ass, is drop dead delirious. Constance Money is as delectable as ever, although her screen time (comprising out-takes from Misty Beethoven) is short; Wade Nichols and Eric Edwards, on the other hand, are anything but short, and then there’s Susan McBain, who keeps up the best running gag in the entire movie, with her portrayal of a clock. Yes, a clock.
     And it’s that which raises this movie so high in my estimation; looking at the full “Henry Paris” catalog of director Metzger, I was never a fan of Barbara Broadcast, no matter how much I enjoy the restaurant scene, while The Afternoons of Pamela Mann was so-so at best. Maraschino Cherry, while leagues below either Misty Beethoven or Naked Came A Stranger, is nevertheless one of those movies that constantly surprises, and the newly remastered print that is on the shelves now is a delight, even without the second disc of bonus material that accompanies it.
     And that’s all I have time for because… well, two glasses of whiskey, two out-stretched arms… I’m going to be busy for the next few hours….

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