Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Ed Wood Wednesdays: The Wood Loop Odyssey, Part 22 by Greg Dziawer

The leading man of "Spring Lust" certainly seems to enjoy his work.
Living here in the northeastern United States, I know that winter will soon lay its icy hand upon us. As I get older, I am less and less a fan of the cold and snow. This week, then, I'm looking forward to the warmer seasons ahead in search of solace. 

"Spring Lust" is the fifth entry in the ten-film Pussycat series of silent 8mm porn loops, all of which carry a 1973 copyright. This was among the very first series of short adult films to include subtitles. There were many hundreds of subtitled loops in the 1970s, virtually all of them produced by Noel Bloom, whose father Bernie Bloom was Ed Wood's boss at Pendulum Publishers. 

Churning out dozens of X-rated magazines and books in the 1960s and '70s, Pendulum would morph over time into various imprints: Calga, Edusex, Gallery, and finally Swedish Erotica. There was a fair amount of overlap between Bernie's publishing business and Noel's filmmaking business. Swedish Erotica, for instance, began as one of Noel's early loop series, following closely on the heels of the Pussycat series. Ed Wood worked prolifically for both Bernie and Noel, writing dozens of short stories and articles for all the Pendulum imprints while concurrently penning subtitles for the loops.

I've previously transcribed the subtitles and given thorough overviews of the first three Pussycat loops. While I have yet to view the fourth entry in the series, I did recently sit down to watch Pussycat #5, "Spring Lust." The version I watched lacked subtitles. Nevertheless, the film contained much of interest for the Wood obsessive.

The title card for "Spring Lust."

The title appears over lyrical, romantic shots of a man and a woman running toward each other in a field lined by trees. When they come together, the girl jumps into the guy's arms and he lifts her into the air as they begin to spin in circles.

As is quite common in the early loops, the carefully-shot exterior sequence quickly gives way to an interior set. The transition here is wonderful. There is a dissolve from the couple spinning in the field to a shot of the same pair spinning indoors. The camera pulls back as they spin, revealing many familiar set decorations as well as the pair now fully naked. The girl proceeds to go down on her male co-star, and a mere 23 seconds into the loop, the sex ensues. In earlier loop series, like Danish International Films and Blue Films, the narrative buildup occupies far more of the run time. In some cases, the foreplay occupies half the film, no doubt taxing the patience of the typical audience member.

For the next eight minutes of "Spring Lust," our lovers engage in vigorous sex against the familiar interior backdrop at Hal Guthu's studio on Santa Monica Blvd. How do we know where this movie was made? Just about every item on the set shows up in other adult films of the era, including the Ed Wood-directed feature Necromania (1971) and literally dozens upon dozens of loops. In fact, the Pussycat series merely appears to move the objects around the set from one loop to the next. 

The ubiquitous items include:
  • A wall drape that looks like a ribbed sheet
  • A yellow upholstered stool
  • A pair of Guardian Lion statues (one of them here seeming to watch the couple initially)
  • A white skull (sternly eying the couple as they take to the bed)
  • A dictionary
  • Various paintings
  • Fuzzy blankets
  • Lamps
  • A black storage chest
  • A black rotary phone

Our hero is surrounded by familiar props but seems much more interested in the ceiling.

Was Ed Wood himself present on the set of "Spring Lust"? It seems likely to me. The camera work here -- highly mobile, with plenty of pans and numerous setups -- is very similar to that of the early Swedish Erotica loops, generally accepted to have been directed by Ed. That said, we'll never know for sure if he was there.

What we can say with greater certainty is that the box cover summary for "Spring Lust" possesses his distinct touch -- a full exhale of his beloved ellipses, as well as his preferred spelling (circa 1973) of "come" as opposed to "cum." We can also say for sure that Ed would have been intimately familiar with many of the props and set decorations in this loop, having used them in his own films.

This plot summary has that distinct ... Ed Wood ... style.

In future articles, I'll continue covering the Pussycat loop series and its connections to and possible involvement by Edward D. Wood, Jr.