The Travails of June (1976)

X   |    |  Adult, Crime, Drama

A reporter interviews June, a prostitute who has just been arrested, and she relates her tale of being kidnapped by a criminal gang, drugged and forced to have sex with powerful politicians in order to set them up for blackmail.


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Shaun Costello

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4 August 2015 | lor_
My favorite Costello cheapie
My personal favorite of Shaun Costello's films, since I saw it first-run back in 1979, remains the adventurous MORE THAN SISTERS. But among his dozens of 1-day wonders, I have to give the nod to THE ABDUCTION OF JUNE.

Here Shaun pulls a Rumpelstiltskin: not straw into gold but making something out of nothing. The action and story is told to us, either in conversation or (later on) phoned in by guest star John Leslie. The sex scenes are nearly all claustrophobic, shot on almost non-existent sets with zero production values.

But its saving grace is a spirited approach to storytelling, even though the story is not worth telling, and seasoned execution of explicit sex. A reporter is after a big story and interviews June in jail, following her being kidnapped and made into a spy, not La Femme Nikita, but a creative plot ploy nonetheless.

We are talked through a story of corruption, evil guys (Leslie and actor/director Costello himself) plus shady women, notably divine and dreamy Sharon Mitchell as Helga and Ursula Austin as Inga.

The twists and turns are dumb but the hour-long opus unfolds with zero flab and no longueurs, quite an achievement. Even though it's a given that this tale is told by an idiot, signifying nothing, it's played straight for a change, without the relentless in-joking and tongue-in-cheek antics that spoil most of Shaun's time-killer projects (and contrast with the comparative meticulousness of his bigger-budget offerings like PANDORA'S MIRROR).

Overall quite satisfying, one thing sticks out (pun intended) in the movie that deserves comment. Like much of Costello's work and that of many of his contemporaries, the film is cock-centric. By that I mean that it was generally considered back in the day that the erect dick is the most cinematic image in explicit porn, other considerations like cunnilingus, lesbian sex or even the flaccid members of the likes of say a John Holmes or Bill Margold, playing second fiddle. As a result, looming closeups of members being sucked, thrusting in and out, or ejaculating eat up an inordinate amount of running time.

This is evident to even the casual observer of porn, but in a movie like JUNE the constant in-your-face extreme close-ups of Costello's or his co-stars' cocks seems nearly fetishistic. (Note that soft-core sex cinema was and is obsessed with naked and large breasts, and not just because Hugh Hefner and Russ Meyer promoted them.)

The porn playing field has been leveled to some extent, especially with the considerable popularity in recent years of lesbian videos. But the current obsession with interracial features - big black dick/little white chick combos that Jake Steed only dreamed of 15 years back, indicates that the worship of Priapus on screen has emerged once again, big time.

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Adult | Crime | Drama

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