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'You'll be a star! We're going straight to the top! Money and fame! I've got enough ambition for both of us! You'll be a star even if I have to pull every dirty trick in the book!'
It's not often one watches a skinflick for the dialogue but that's where the fun lies with Career Bed, the story of a scary stage mother and her reluctant daughter that plays like a gleefully depraved, sexed-up version of Gypsy. No, the dialogue isn't polished or particularly witty but, rather, so relentlessly nasty ('If you say you love her, I'll vomit!') and filled with so many hilariously malignant bon mots ('You are a sewer!') that Career Bed will make you feel as if you've just taken a shower in acid. In fact, the dialogue is so razor sharp, it's surprising the actors' mouths don't bleed.
Newly arrived in Manhattan, Emily Potter, described as 'a gay widow in a sophisticated city' and 'a cut-rate Svengali,' seeks to escape 'a dull deprived life' by making her innocent and submissive daughter Susan a star -- not an actress, mind you, but a star. (Of course, Susan's innocence is a bit of a stretch for those who recognize actress 'Liza Duran' as future porn starlet JENNIFER WELLES.) Mama's battle plan is simple -- she'll sexually sell Susan to the right people: 'Put on your sexy mini-dress. You have to keep the boys interested!'
After Mama gets rid of Susan's old boyfriend by seducing him herself -- 'Don't give up your virginity for some silly boy! It's too important an asset!' -- she sets Susan up with lesbian talent agent GEORGINA SPELVIN (billed here as 'Merle Miller') who has Susan for dinner. Mama then offers herself as 'down payment' to creepy photographer 'King' Ramer -- who clutches a Linus-like security blanket and says things like 'I can try for the ruin of another innocent!' -- if Ramer will introduce Susan to film producer Ross Miller, a bald pervert who thanks Ramer by making him bark like a dog. But Mama's in for a surprise when Susan not only turns out to be a fast learner, but turns out to be even more corrupt than her mother: 'You're the Devil's own messenger....'
Rude, raunchy, and decadently tongue-in-cheek, Career Bed is exactly the sort of warm, wholesome, family drama you'd expect from director JOEL REED, best known for his outrageous Blood Sucking Freaks (aka The Incredible Torture Show). You can spot Reed playing the part of the college professor in the screentest footage with Miss Welles. Though he only made a handful of films (including G.I. Executioner, Blood Bath, Night of the Zombies, and the earlier and equally demented Sex by Advertisement), we wish he had toiled in sexploitation a bit longer as Career Bed turns out to be one of the more memorable -- and certainly one of the most entertaining -- sex films of the Sixties. There are also some great glimpses of a long-gone New York which, in this context, looks even seedier than usual. Ah, the good ol' days....
From a 35mm 'This-is-all-too-sick!' print. -- Handsome Harry Archer
Honey HunterOther cast:
Georgina Spelvin, James DavidDirected by:
Joel M Reed