Ron Dorfman's A TASTE OF BETTE attempts to shock the viewer with BDSM and crappy sex footage, and fails. Its survival after four decades is of dubious interest.
Though only in an acting capacity this time out, Shaun Costello tends to dominate the film, pun intended, as he semi-improvises in a monologue a complicated storyline for what is in essence mere wall-to-wall depravity. Kidnapping two young girls off the streets of Manhattan as part of a dynastic succession in a sex cult's leadership makes no sense and just kills time.
In the lead role, Pola Black merely made me feel sorry for her - I wanted to take her to the nearest diner and order her a square meal. She projects a pallor which is not conducive to arousal, though she goes through the sexual motions including the Costello trademark of two dicks in the mouth at once.
The only point of interest for me was the serendipitous similarity of the setting, a loft with bondage and sex going on while a TV set plays silly instructional porn/BDSM starring Eric Edwards and Sharon Mitchell. It reminded me in look and tone (minus the explicit sex) of Abel Ferrara's East 18th Street editing loft in the '80s and even the drab, nearly identical setting for Willem Dafoe's apartment in his recent disaster 4:44 LAST DAY ON EARTH. Pure coincidence, but valuable in supporting my theory about the continuum of cinema, with NYC indie director Abel Ferrara (whose first feature film was X-rated) not all that far along the spectrum from '70s BDSM porn.
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