Friday, 22 September 2017

Sleeping Beauties (5 Stars)

I'm happy to say that this is the best film I've seen by Dean McKendrick so far. This is the 19th film he's made for Retromedia since 2013, and it's his second erotic fairytale. I really need to do a marathon of his films. Maybe next year.

The film is about a noblewoman somewhere in Europe called Beauty who is engaged to marry Prince William. Beauty is a good name for the actress Sarah Hunter. A spell is cast on her by her jealous best friend Margaret. She pricks her finger on an enchanted rose thorn and falls asleep, supposedly for all eternity. However, 400 years later the castle where she lived is being renovated to be used as a hotel and her body is discovered. Harry, the building constructor, kisses her, and she comes back to life. Harry takes her back to America and lets her stay in his house. By a strange coincidence Harry's wife Peggy looks identical to Margaret. This could have been developed, such as Margaret returning from the grave to further torment Beauty, but the supernatural possibilities are ignored. From this point on the story is only about the rivalry between Harry and his colleague Richard.

I consider this the most sexually arousing film made by Dean McKendrick. The first two sex scenes are the best, the first between Harry and Beauty, the second a bath tub scene between Peggy and Beauty, but the overall standard of the sex scenes is outstanding. As in all of Dean McKendrick's recent films there's a shower scene, but this time the view is partially obscured by being filmed from outside. There have been some complaints from other reviewers who don't like shower scenes, but I find them a highlight of Dean's films.

William Bryant, who plays Harry, amazes me. In his first film for Retromedia, "Cinderella's Hot Night", his acting was dull and lifeless, but in "Sleeping Beauties" he's excellent. Maybe he needed time to warm up, maybe he spent more time practising his lines this time round. Whatever the reason is, he's like a new person.

Andy Long, one of the Retromedia regulars, returns. He always puts on a solid acting performance, and this time he shows he can play a bad guy. To top it off, the awesome Ted Newsom returns as Harry's boss, Mr. Logan. He plays the role straight, but it's difficult not to smile when I see him. He has one of those faces.

Incidentally, where in Europe does Beauty come from? Margaret talks with her about a war against Saxony, suggesting it's in central Europe. Then we see this scene in the town where Harry is working.

The red telephone box immediately identifies the location as England. It's actually the seaside village of Mousehole, at the intersection of Fore Street and North Cliff. I wonder whether this is stock footage or the location of Dean McKendrick's last holiday. If he hasn't been there yet I can strongly recommend it as a place for a relaxing vacation.

But then we see this town scene, immediately recognisable as Prague. That's also a beautiful place for a vacation, though somewhat busier than Mousehole.

Then we see Prince William's castle. This is the only scene I didn't recognise, so I had to search for the castle online. It's a castle just outside Segovia in Spain.

There's one small detail I'd like to correct in the film. Harry is shown reading a 200-year-old book, and he says that he has problems understanding the old English. It shouldn't be a problem for him. The English language has hardly changed for the last 450 years, apart from adding new words. There are only a few words no longer in use, such as "anon", but most people are acquainted with these from watching Shakespeare's plays.

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