|The respectable narrator of a not-so-respectable documentary.|I've been seeing the title
in Ed Wood filmographies for years, but until very recently, I had not actually sat all the way through director Joe Robertson's 1971 sex documentary Love Making U.S.A.
Why? Well, I guess I never found the movie particularly appetizing, since I knew it simply contained recycled footage from Love Feast
(1969), an earlier collaboration between Robertson and Wood. But it was always there—an itch begging to be scratched. When I saw that Something Weird Video offered a download of the film
for only $5.99, I took the plunge.
My background knowledge of Lovemaking U.S.A.
was minimal. Philip R. Frey's The Hunt for Ed Wood referred
to it as "a 'documentary' about the porn industry. There are scenes from early porn films, as well as footage of contemporary productions." David C. Hayes' Muddled Mind: The Complete Works of Edward D. Wood, Jr.
(2001) had a vivid but somewhat misleading description: "This is a very, very sad period in Wood's life. The film is a XXX hardcore porn that stars John Holmes, Joe Robertson in drag and Ed. Luckily for everyone involved, Ed isn't naked... he just conducts 'sexy' on the street interviews." Neither Frey nor Hayes had claimed to see the film, but both were seeking a print for review.
|The plain title card for Love Making U.S.A. |
Then there is Something Weird Video's own description of the film, written by porn blogger Prince Pervo
. Since he definitely has
seen the movie, Pervo's capsule review is more accurate: "Love Making U.S.A.
isn't just another porn film," he writes. The critic explains the grab bag nature of the movie. It contains, among other things: a "prehistoric stag film" called A Free Ride (1915)
; some behind-the-scenes footage from Tomatoes (1970)
(another Robinson film) with Anna Travers; a few minutes of John Holmes making love to the strains of Ravel's Bolero
; and a documentary segment shot in Griffith Park at an event called Gay-In III. Pervo notes that director-producer Joe Robertson himself appears in this segment as "a tough gay-basher who turns out to be wearing nylons and high heels." As for the Ed Wood content in Love Making U.S.A.
, Pervo writes: "Then — surprise! — we watch the infamous Edward D. Wood, Jr. take pictures of smut-star Casey Lorrain [sic
Viewers will remember actress Casey Larrain from her roles in two Joe Robertson sexploitation flicks, the aforementioned Love Feast (aka The Photographer or Pretty Models All in a Row) and Nympho Cycler (aka Misty) (1971), both of which costarred Ed Wood. Casey is also one of the prostitutes at Madam Penny's Thrill Establishment in Ed Wood's Take It Out in Trade (1970). When she spoke to the authors of The Cinematic Misadventures of Ed Wood (2015), Casey stated that she had only worked with Ed once for "a week and a half to two weeks" and that the footage had been spread out over several films. "I only worked with him the once," she said, "but he apparently cut that footage up and used it in all kinds of different projects."
Reader Rob Huffman shares this anecdote about his meeting with Casey Larrain:
"When I spoke with Ms. Larrain, she thought Take It Out In Trade, Nympho Cycler, and Love Feast were are all one movie. Bear in mind she was thinking back 50+ years ago. She has specific memories of a screening of dailies for Nympho Cycler, though. She said Wood was there and he was indeed the director of the film. She did two hardcore scenes with [John] Holmes before calling it quits. Her whole approach to the films was that she was a hippie who was unashamed of her nudity. She knew she was attractive, and was already modeling. It was just a gig."
I cannot confirm that Love Feast, Nympho Cycler, and Take It Out in Trade were all shot at the same time, but the footage in Love Making U.S.A. is definitely recycled from Love Feast. Those of you who have seen that 1969 sex comedy will remember that Ed Wood portrays Mr. Murphy, a drunken sot who summons young women to his home by pretending to be a fashion photographer. Casey Larrain plays Linda, the very first model to show up at Murphy's doorstep, only to be steered into his bedroom.