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  Superchick Modern Girl
Year: 1973
Director: Ed Forsyth
Stars: Joyce Jillson, Louis Quinn, Thomas Reardon, Tony Young, Timothy Wayne Brown, John Carradine, Junero Jennings, Steve Drexell, James Carroll Jordan, Jack Wells, Gus Peters, Norman Bartold, Phil Hoover, Uschi Digard, Candy Samples
Genre: Comedy, Thriller, Trash, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Tara B. True (Joyce Jillson) is an air stewardess who dresses down for her job jetting across the globe and attending to passengers, but once her shift is over, she slips into the bathroom and re-emerges as Superchick, every inch the modern woman of the nineteen-seventies, with a man in every (air)port to attend to her needs. Tonight she partakes of the company of an older millionaire she dines with in his large bathtub, fine food, warm water and pleasant conversation, though the gentleman has a germophobia which means she cannot get too close or he grows anxious, but she still benefits from the relationship. However, one of her conquests is Johnny (Tony Young), and he is in trouble with the Mob...

Not that this early plot development had much bearing on what happened during the rest of the movie, as this flitted around the world, or those parts of the world that the producers could afford (mostly California, it seems), reluctant to settle on one line of enquiry for long. This supposedly reflected its heroine's free and easy approach to life, but in effect it rendered the whole shebang very difficult to settle down with, so while it was part of the strain of pop culture making up fantasies about stewardesses in this decade, from Airport 1975 to The Blazing Stewardesses and so forth, any resemblance to anyone's actual experience was even further removed from the narrative, notably here where the protagonist's superhero qualities began and ended with her wardrobe's quick change act.

What made this worth a look was purely out of curiosity, as star Jillson may have started out in the acting profession, stage and screen, but she became best known as an astrologer whose columns were syndicated across the United States and her books were big sellers too. She also claimed to be the advisor in that capacity to the Reagans when they were in the White House, though whether that was accurate or whether it was part of her overactive imagination appears to be disputed; she was indeed an official astrologer to a few American business institutions. Whichever, it was good publicity and she remained successful in that line for some years till her death in middle age suffering from complications of diabetes.

If you had no idea about the astrology, you'd know her as Superchick, just as similarly if you were ignorant of her acting career you'd know her from her books and articles, it seemed they were separate entities, though this movie was far more obscure than what her writing brought her fame-wise. In it, Tara would boast of her lifestyle as she narrated and occasionally spoke to us watching, the epitome of the seventies lady in control of all aspects of her existence, from her income to her sexuality, the latter of which being the reason this played in drive-ins and grindhouses for audiences wanting a furtive thrill, though they would be disappointed that the caption at the end credits said Jillson used a body double in some scenes.

That thus pointed out, it was clear she was performing some of the nudity herself, though nothing she wasn't too uncomfortable with, and indeed the caption could just as well refer to her stunt double who acted out her karate self-defence sequences (spot the obvious blonde wig). There was a definite "well, that'll do, who cares?" air about the enterprise, with a thrown together appearance as if director Ed Forsyth had captured whatever took the producers' fancy on any given day (Crown International was the indie studio in this case, a very familiar name to exploitation fans), and edited the results together without much interest. Superchick goes for a swim in the ocean and loses half her bikini? Yeah, why not. Superchick persuades a Marine who has been celibate for two years to join the Mile High Club? OK, fair enough. Superchick treats bikers and flashers with the same capable domination? Chuck it in. Superchick puts sadomasochism fan John Carradine in his place? Er, wait, what? As often with these affairs, the lead character was a strong woman whose ability to negotiate her days included satisfying men to gain her own satisfaction - but only on her terms. A positive step, but this remained a shoddy setting for it. Music by Allan Alper.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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