Director: Gerard Damiano
Cast: Georgina Spelvin, Claire Lumiere, Erica Haven, John Clemens, Harry Reems, Gerard Damiano (As Albert Gork)
Suicide spinster Justine Jones discovers that Hell truly is other people in the re-released edition of “The Devil in Miss Jones.”
This deluxe edition contains two versions of the film plus a lengthy interview with star Georgina Spelvin. Having never seen the movie (nor have I seen “Deep Throat,” “Behind the Green Door,” or “Debbie Does Dallas“), I also knew nothing about it, and was impressed by Spelvin’s acting as well as the story.
But not the sex. I watched the hardcore version (because life is short) and can’t imagine how the softcore version could be softer.
Plain Jane Justine Jones, a spinster, is a suicide. She takes one last look from her apartment window onto the New York City of 1973, retires to a bathtub, and slashes her wrists.
She finds herself in the office of Mr. Abaca, who fumblingly tells her that, since her “accident,” she is no longer a candidate for heaven, where her otherwise pristine and virginal life would have sent her – had she not committed suicide.
“I’ve done nothing to warrant this,” she says. “If I could do it again, I would live a life filled, engulfed, consumed with lust.”
Mr. Abaca, in the middle of a slow day, gives her her wish.
Justine meets The Teacher (Harry Reems) who must strip her of her inhibitions prior to her return to the mortal world. After inserting an eensy plug into her anus (it was a simpler time), she gives him a blowjob and then, demonstrating a passive aggressiveness that would make me send her to Hell if I ran things, asks that he fuck her but then gets squeamish about how big he is.
“Will you – be gentle?” she asks.
“No,” The Teacher says.
So Miss Jones learns the ways of the flesh with the Teacher, who sends her a few other partners to round out her education.
The idea that Jones must earn Hell through a series of acts that today’s average porn actress performs once an afternoon is daunting, and by contemporary standards we look at what she’s doing as pretty wholesome, sex positive, and liberated.
I expected that Jones, shown how her frigidity kept her from living a worthwhile life, would be sent back to New York to be a sex blogger or something. But she really is only granted a small reprieve from her destination, and when she finally gets there she meets what might very well be the male version of her mortal self, played by Gerard Damiano.
The final scene stays with you as a wholly believable version of Hell and, along with the very common human experience of being punished for a crime one never got to really enjoy, “DMJ” earns its place as a classic, and is one of those films to roll out when detractors say the medium couldn’t be artistic.