Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Ed Wood Wednesdays: The Wood Loop Odyssey, Part 24 by Greg Dziawer

The pioneering film Tongue has a surprising connection to Ed Wood.

"We were then satisfied that, with proper lubrication and better adjustments, a little more power could be expected." 
Orville Wright
Logo for the Foxy series of loops.
I've spent a good deal of time these last few years untangling Ed Wood's involvement in 8mm porn loops in the 1970s, and one of my surest conclusions is that Eddie wrote the subtitles for numerous silent loops during this time.

Upon closer inspection, it became obvious that the subtitled loops—regardless of which series released them—had strong internal consistencies. In fact, the subtitles are just one of the major correspondences in these movies. Beyond that, I've ID'ed numerous set decorations as well as cinematic tropes ranging from editing to camera setups and movement.

Released between 1971 and 1978, these particular loops on which Eddie worked were produced by Noel Bloom. During these same years, Noel's father Bernie employed Ed as an adult magazine staff writer. As I've shown before, however, Noel was not only producing his own loops but was occasionally releasing foreign ones, usually Danish, with English subtitles.

Occasionally, Noel Bloom also distributed loops that were excerpts from adult feature films. To wit: Foxy, loop #3, "Lube Job." It, too, was given the customary subtitling treatment, as follows:


The onscreen title appears almost immediately. The loop commences with an elaborate, 360-degree shot that lasts a minute and a half and pans the entire room and beyond. Not long into the shot, we see the source of the film's title: a small, semicircular sign that reads LUBE JOB in red neon letters. This same sign will reappear later in the film but in reverse, indicating that the footage somehow got flipped in post-production.

We are in a well-appointed mansion, where a party is clearly on the precipice of turning into an orgy. The revelers are partially or wholly unclad and are beginning to pair off.
Woman in Red Dress: HI THERE. 
Brigitte: UMMM!!!!
Although unnamed, the performer saying this line—a common utterance for women performing fellatio in these loops—is vintage adult film notable Brigitte Maier. Yes, the sex has ensued.
Woman #1: OH, IT IS SO HARD! 
That type of repetition in the subtitles is common in these loops.
Man #1: AHHH!!!
That line depicts the sound of the man climaxing.
More characteristic repetition.
Man #2: AHHH!!! 
Man #2: AHHH!!! 
Some repetitive repetition, for good measure.
Man #1 with Brigitte: SUCK IT BABY, SUCK IT! 
Man #2 with Brigitte: NOW ME!
Is he excited, or demanding?
Brigitte: UMMM!!
Either way, she is immediately accommodating.
Brigitte: UMMM!!! 
Man #2 with Brigitte: AHHH!!!! 
Unknown Woman: AHHHH!!!!
Note the additional "H" here, compared to the previous moan. By this point, I have pretty much lost count of who's who within the barrage of cuts and closeups highlighting the action for the final two-thirds of the runtime.

A poster for Tongue.
Late last year, I penned a tribute to my friend Niva Ruschell, the driving force behind the production of the classic porn blaxploitation film Tongue (1976). Although she was betrayed by her partners and cut out of Tongue before it made it to post-production, she remained rightfully proud of the film until the end as something quite unique. Little did she know, until I informed her of it just a few years ago, that she had unwittingly collaborated with Ed Wood. She was a fan of Ed's, though had never met him. 

As you may have guessed by now, "Lube Job" is excerpted from Tongue. Foxy was one of the later Bloom-produced subtitled 8mm series, before most efforts were rolled up under the megalithic Swedish Erotica brand. In fact, by the time Ed Wood died in late 1978, Swedish Erotica was at its height of loop production. Tellingly, perhaps, the subtitling of the loops ceased after Ed's passing.

The box cover summary for "Lube Job" is also worth the read. While Eddie is almost certainly the culprit behind the subtitles, it's plausible that he also wrote the box cover summaries and perhaps even came up with the actual loop titles. 
An enormously opulent mansion is the setting for one of the wildest parties ever filmed. Many couples, black and white and exotic Oriental engage in a sordid pleasure orgy, oblivious to anything but the wanton pursuit of lust and sexual satisfaction. Super close-ups reveal an intimacy rarely seen, as probing fingers and turgid organs explore the sensual spectrum! Don't miss this one!
A little trivia Niva mentioned to me regarding the summary: the "enormously opulent mansion" was owned by the film's backers, a pair of drug dealers from Detroit, and was located in the Trousdale Estates in Beverly Hills. If you want to move there now, the average sale price for a home is $11 million.

For the record, we have a mere 16 lines and only 32 subtitled words in total throughout "Lube Job." While I've seen films with fewer subtitles, the two-words-per-line average is the lowest of the hundreds of loops I've screened. As time wore on, the subtitles tended to this minimalist approach, merely stating or accentuating the obvious, with little to no attempt at providing full sentences or unseen narrative details. In the case of "Lube Job," there's no narrative to speak of beyond the orgy.

On a related note, the post-production of Tongue was performed at the Cinema 35 Project Center on Hollywood and Western, run by Jack Descent, who had previously shot and co-produced the "lost" film Operation Redlight (1969), which Ed Wood starred in and scripted. The angora sweater Eddie wore in Redlight even hung in the front office at Cinema 35 for a time in the early '70s. 

The orgy footage used in "Lube Job" is lifted from a much longer sequence in Tongue. According to Niva, this part of the film was inspired by Fellini's Satyricon (1969). On the Tongue soundtrack album, side two opens with a lengthy track called "Party Time," mixed by Jack Descent. The audio is lifted straight from the actual film soundtrack and comprises the entire sequence excerpted in "Lube Job."

That's just one loop and its story. There are hundreds and hundreds more that must be told!

BONUS: Check out this 2019 interview by Peter Flash (with an assist by me) at Adult DVD Talk with Niva Ruschell, detailing the incredible story behind the making of Tongue.