“The look in my parents’ eyes when they found out….”said Marilyn Chambers.
Director: Godfrey Daniels
Starring: Marilyn Chambers, John Holmes, Jesie St. James, Serena, John Leslie, Mike Ranger, Richard Pacheco, Joan Turner
Heiress and starlet Sandra Chase (Marilyn Chambers) has everything but, as she tells anyone who will listen in “Insatiable,” she doesn’t have – oh wait. She has everything.
1980’s “Insatiable” was a landmark in that it solidified a lack of conflict as an essential porn plotline. Between lounging in stateside mansions, jaunts in her Ferrari, or strolling through London with her aunt (doubtless the family of “Joan Turner” is still puzzling about that one), Chase lets us know that she’s fine with her random string of encounters in jacuzzis, on pool tables, by the side of the road, and (of course) in dream sequences.
We learn that after her parents’ and sibling’s death in a tram accident in Switzerland (I’m not kidding), young Sandra decided to live her life the way she wanted. That’s fine, but it seems like she was already doing exactly what she wanted when her dad was alive; in a flashback to the loss of her virginity, she is bent over the pool table by her father’s rough and lusty gardener (David Morris).
Not that director Godfrey Daniels (now working as Stu Segall, producer of the Fred Dryer-tastic “Hunter” franchise) coasted; “Insatiable” is a competently shot and well-acted gem from a time that, as Chambers says in a pair of 2005 documentaries included on the generous disc, was “really wonderful.”
Chambers is the main attraction of this movie. Athletic and sweet (we see her do a double-take on a box of Ivory Snow), Chambers radiates wholesomeness but just happens to be insatiable. This takes the form, in every instance but one (she picks up a hitchhiker) of things being done to her. Perhaps it is never enough, as the title implies, but she seems outwardly content.
We are also treated to an excellent, utterly unrelated to the movie, and inscrutable theme song, part of which goes:
“Sometimes love ain’t nothing but a misunderstandin’ between two fools
You gave me all your love love but what did I do? I broke all the rules
As far as I can see
Love’s Insatiable to me
Fool me once, shame on you
Fool me twice, shame on me!”
The 30th anniversary edition, released by a well-connected Chatsworth distributor called Dynasty, features two commentaries by Chambers and Gloria Leonard as well as a pair of featurettes documenting Chambers’ appearance at Hollywood’s Pussycat Theatre in 1980 as well as a 2005 interview.
Chambers, who died early in 2009, was found by her daughter, McKenna, in a trailer in Canyon Country north of Los Angeles. Chambers refers to McKenna several times in the featurettes, saying she was the best thing to happen to her.
Born in Westport, Connecticut, Chambers found early success as a model (“Eileen Ford said I was too fat”) in New York before moving to San Francisco. In addition to her Ivory Snow gig (“I was the mother on the box,” Chambers says, “and – contrary to popular belief, that is not Brooke Shields as the baby”) she played Robert Klein’s girlfriend in the Barbra Streisand movie “The Owl and the Pussycat.”
It was on a publicity tour for “Pussycat” that she arrived in and fell in love with San Francisco. Chambers hints that modeling work may have been drying up at that point, else she would not have answered an ad from porn kings the Mitchell Brothers in the San Francisco Chronicle.
“The form said, ‘Are you comfortable with a balling role?” Chambers said, “and I wanted to believe it said ‘a bowling role.'”
That film was “Behind the Green Door” and it made Chambers famous.
“Had I thought about it I wouldn’t have done it,” Chambers said. “And the look in my parents’ eyes when they found out….”
Watching the documentaries with an understanding that Chambers was not happy with her life (“A lot of people are making a lot of money off my name,” she says ruefully), and the knowledge that her plans for a series of sex instruction tapes would not come to fruition (though she did make a few), it makes the viewer sad for the still-youthful Chambers.
Despite this, “Insatiable” as a document and the extras as a then and now snapshot (Chambers in cutoff jeans and no panties standing on Santa Monica Boulevard in 1980, before AIDS hit the porn world, driving off in a chauffered Bentley) are as compelling and poignant as they are sexy.
I would have liked to see Chambers’ instructional videos. As a preview, she said that threesomes with friends were a bad idea. “That’s fine and dandy,” she said, “but call a hooker.”
She also said that it was a woman’s job to perfect fellatio.
“It’s up to you to learn how to give a blowjob,” she said. “Because he won’t tell you.”
We wish the sadder-but-wiser Chambers were still around.
portions of this review appeared on Fleshbot
- Buy “Insatiable” here