The most immediate thing of note about Henri Pachard’s Matinee Idol is what it says above the title on the box art: “David F. Friedman Presents” – and present he does. Friedman has a storied history with exploitation and adult film and his presence is as much a selling point as any of the lead actors (John Leslie, Jesie St. James, Kay Parker) and his huckster charms are on full display in his scenes as a film producer (basically himself). Despite producing, writing and appearing on screen, this isn’t fully Friedman’s show though and Pachard is more than up to the challenge.
Pachard, an industry veteran who also worked with Friedman on The Budding of Brie prior to this, crafts a surprisingly charming and goofy comedy set inside the world of show business that’s also rife with hardcore content (think along the lines of Blonde Ambition and you get the idea) and adorned with a polish that wouldn’t feel out of place in a studio comedy of the era. The cast is all on board for the comedy too, with the aforementioned Leslie, St. James and Parker joined by the likes of Herschel Savage and Colleen Brennan. The sex is ubiquitous and fun, with a really well shot, steamy pool sequence a highlight. It’s tamer than you may expect from Pachard, but it feels in line with what Friedman fans would expect. It’s silly fun that should be an easy watch for those not accustomed to adult cinema and vetted fans will find plenty to enjoy.
Vinegar Syndrome bring Matinee Idol to Blu-ray for the first time as a 2K scan from the original camera negative and it’s beautiful. The aforementioned pool sequence is as good a video test of what water should look like in HD as I can think of. This is a vibrant production, with rich colors and the source is in remarkable shape. This is as close to reference quality as you can get for adult cinema on disc right now. Audio is DTS HD-MA mono is solid with no noticeable defects and clarity throughout.
The main supplement is a whopping 87 minute interview with David Friedman which is indispensable for his fans or anyone really interested in hardcore and/or exploitation cinema history. At times, it feels like an extension of his interview segments in Frank Henenlotter’s That’s Sexploitation! with a lot of talk about the turning point between softcore and hardcore films and how he was involved in both. It’s a great, informative piece that should be of interest to anyone buying this disc. A theatrical trailer is also included.
Matinee Idol is a fun, overlooked adult comedy with a great cast that is hardcore enough to please fans while also remaining time enough to not turn off newcomers. Vinegar Syndrome’s transfer is exemplary and the supplements are worth the price of purchase alone. Highly Recommended.