A perfect example of ‘Roughie’ cinema, ‘A Smell of Honey, A Swallow of Brine’ is…definitely an experience to sit through I think it’s fair to say! The main plot revolves around a young woman who gets tremendous pleasure out of leading guys on, getting them right up to the point of having sex, before (for the most part) purposfully freaking out and accusing them of raping her. In fact the film opens with just that event happening and the guy involved gets sentenced to 2 years in prison for rape and assault.
A clear influence on some of John Waters early works. This movies a little slow and hard going in places, but when it’s campy meaness shines through, it’s an absolute riot to behold. for every 4-6 minute sequence of Stacey Walker getting undressed, rolling around in the bath or in bed completely nude, or getting hot and heavy with some unsuspecting man (or woman) theres at least 10 seconds of dialogue that easily puts this thing DAMN close to 10/10 terratory for me. An absolute highlight being when Staceys character Sharon Boldly (and while biting her lip) exclaims “I MAY BE A BITCH! BUT I’LL NEVER BE A BUTCH!”
GOD I loved some of the parts of this film…
The scripts a little slow and repetative, for what is effectively a nudie film with heavy roughie elements it’s absolutely one of the better offerings out there and I had a real ball with it, but it’s still inescapable that a large amount of this movie is just actresses getting nude and then getting dressed again (set to a funk jazz beat)
it has a passble 3 act structure in place as we slowly see Sharon descend from picking up ‘Squares’ for cheap thrills to getting in WAY over her head with dangerous men who really WONT take ‘No’ for an answer.
Honestly; the plots not all that. But what IS an utter delight is the character’s, the character development and the dialogue of this thing. With some one liners that absolutely blew me away for just HOW over the top, melodramatic and razor sharp they were and just how entertaining the characters in this production were, especially when the film actually starts to build on there established base lines.
Its just an utter delight, and clocking in at a succinct 68 minutes. This film gets in, gives you pretty much everything you could want in a movie like this, and gets out without causing to much muss or fuss.
I personally found the broad direction a little flat and dry, nothing out of the unusual for films of this era. Which is a bit of a shame, but the cast direction MORE than makes up for a bit of a pedestrian presentation.
The cine is clearly inspired by the french new wave craze of the day, with smash cuts, jump cuts and cross fades galore combined with INCREDIBLY moody lighting that only emphises the grimey grainy film stock creating a wonderfully bleak looking atmosphere and tone visually that really helps sell the ‘rough and ready’ nature of the script and its subject.
Of course, the film would be a shadow of itself had it not been for the superb casting of Stacey Walker as Sharon, who doesnt so much chew the scenery in this thing, more swallows it whole ravenously. Shes PERFECT for this character and VERY often looks completely out of control, which is EXACTLY the tone that was needed for a movie like this.
Sharon Carr as her Lesbian friend Paula Also plays a wonderful contrast with her for the time she’s on screen, leading the audience to believe the films going to go one way before COMPLETELY wrongfooting them. She handles herself very well in her scenes and it was a shame that her time in the film was ultimately as short as it was.
The rest of the supporting cast (basically all the guys Sharon hooks up with) are all purposfully generic here ranging from your bog standard nerdy ‘square’ through to your overly macho and abuse wife beater. NON of the guys come away from this thing looking even remotely decent as human beings and it’s SO refreshing to sit and watch a movie that has ABSOLUTE contempt for the majority of it’s intended audience.
throw in a hot and fast Jazz soundtrack that does get a little blusey in places and, while a little patchy if your not completley in on ‘nudie’ films (basically expect long waits in between the action) I had a ball with this thing, and i’d happily watch it again!