Apollo and I both get off reading erotica from the Victorian Era – as you can see in my approving review of The Pearl. So when Libida gave me a chance to review the 1976 film Autobiography of a Flea, based on the Victorian novel of the same name, how could I resist the chance?
The flea of the title narrates the story of Belle (Jean Jennings), a young woman who begins the film as a virginal innocent, and ends it quite thoroughly debauched indeed. But Belle is not the only one to lose her innocence – her equally young friend Julia is also corrupted, while Bella’s pious (yet hot) aunt is ravished in her bedchamber.
When Belle is discovered enthusiastically losing her virginity after church one Sunday, Father Ambrose (Paul Thomas) requests she visit him the next day to find out what he has decided to do about the matter. When she goes, terrified, she (and her flea) discover instead that he is ‘the living personification of lust’, and will require her implicit obedience. Cue: sex. Of course, two of the other priests are watching at the key-hole …
It’s not the kind of film, we discovered, that you skip to a random chapter and wank to. Instead, it’s a slow-moving plot – albeit one with a lot of sex! Between Belle and Father Ambrose, her lascivious uncle Pierre Verbouw (Dale Meador), Father Clement’s (John Holmes) cat-burglar antics, and Julia’s father, Monsieur Delmont (John Leslie), there is plenty of sex going on – there are nine distinct scenes in the film, with a large variety of pairings. Add in lusty farmers and mistaken identities, and there’s quite enough to fill 93 minutes.
It’s definitely dated, though. Not just the Victorian era, but the era in which it was filmed! There is, occasionally, some serious colour-variances on the film, as well as sound. For the most part it’s not enough to worry about, but one scene was eye-watering for a few minutes when everything turned as red as the sheets. The explicitness is also dated. While there is anal sex (twice), for the most part it’s only hinted at, without close-ups of the action. For standard PIV, there are often extreme close-ups, focusing lovingly on the cock sliding in and out again. The most obvious difference between the time of filming and now, is the lack of ‘money-shots’ (something I noted, and appreciated!). The first emission shown on screen isn’t until the sixth scene – and there’d been quite a lot of coming by that point already. There’s no girl-on-girl action, either, which is a shame.
The flea’s narration will either be loved or hated, but I found that it wasn’t too annoying, and added to the story. Additionally, all the music in the film is classical – harpsichords, church organs, or violins – which I felt fitted the atmosphere. Bow-chicka-bow-bow would have been quite out of character for the mood.
The film swings between porn and farce – Father Clement (John Holmes) brings most of the humour in, including a Benny-Hillesque scene (set to harspichord music). However, there are pretty yet dumb boys, mistaken identities, caught-in-the-acts, and plenty of laughs inbetween the serious business of getting between girl’s pantaloons.
By the time the film finished, I had my hand down Apollo’s trousers and he had his down mine. So we turned the TV off, headed for the bedroom, and had very hot sex. That makes it a success in my book.
Verdict: I’m very pleased to be keeping this – I’ll undoubtedly watch it again.
Autobiography of a Flea Details
Name: Autobiography of a Flea
Director: Sharon McNight
Producers: The Mitchell Brothers Film Group
Length: 93 mins
Actors: Jean Jennings, Paul Thomas, Joanna Hilden, John Leslie, Annette Haven, Dale Meador, John Holmes (sans moustache), Mitch Mandell, Warren Pierce (the flea)
Price: $29.95 US from Libida
7/10 Erogenous Zones
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