(director: Alexander Singer; screenwriter: Burton Wohl/from the novel “A Cold Wind in August” bu Burton Wohl; cinematographer: Floyd Crosby; editor: Jerry Young; music: Gerald Fried; cast: Lola Albright (Iris Hartford), Scott Marlowe (Vito Perugino), Joe DeSantis (Papa Perugino), Clark Gordon (Harry), Janet Brandt (Shirley), Skip Young (Al), Ann Atmar (Carol), Jana Taylor (Alice), Dee Gee Green (Mary), Herschel Bernardi (Juley Franz); Runtime: 80; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Phillip Hazelton; Aidart Pictures; 1961)

A sordid melodrama, that is a guilty pleasure treat.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A sordid melodrama, that is a guilty pleasure treat. Burton Wohl’s screenplay, from his novel, is handsomely directed in this low-budget indie coming-of-age film by Alexander Singer (“Day of the Fight”/”Bunco”/”Love Has Many Faces”). It’s a misbegotten love story of a naive 17-year-old, Vito Perugino (Scott Marlowe), the handsome son of a NYC janitor (Joe DeSantis), who blindly falls in love with a 28-year-old stripper, Iris Hartford (Lola Albright), he thinks is pure. Iris is the resident who seduces him, and he only becomes disillusioned when he eventually sees her act after she returns to work from her long vacation.

The film surprisingly resonated with the public and became a cult film box office hit. It’s filmed in black-and-white. It has the honor of being the first cult film condemned by the Catholic Church’s Legion of Decency.

Though there’s no nudity and its shocking sex scenes are tame by modern-day standards, the sex scenes are erotic and the frank dialogue makes this an adult film in more ways than one. But the main reason for seeing the film is the superb performance by Lola Albright. She goes from a woman just wanting to have a fling with a hunky youngster, to someone obsessed with making love and holding onto the improbable relationship.

Herschel Bernardi plays Lola’s long-time suitor.

The offbeat commercial film, flaws and all, still impressed me by its fine acting and how its erotic nature was so provocative. It was not a film that can easily be dismissed, as it brings passion to the table and encourages us not to unfairly judge relationships we cannot approve of or comprehend.

REVIEWED ON 7/24/2015 GRADE: B+  https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/