18 January 2017 | lor_
High-quality Nick Steele fantasy romance
Coming near the end of Adam & Eve's remarkable run in the abstracted Couples Romance genre, "Photogenic" is a forgotten film that is very well-directed by Nicholas Steele. Its kind of Adult Cinema seems gone with the wind, as interest in eroticism seems to have been replaced by sex-sex-generic sex in the current internet decade.
Randy Spears gives a laid-back thoughtful performance for a change as a man haunted by the death of his wife Elizabeth, inconsolable by his brother played by Ricky (a handsome stud, but who has trouble with his line readings). Ricky is visiting with his fiancée Julianne (Tawny Roberts), and Spears shows them his vintage photo booth he keeps in the living room, which turns out to have fantastic time-travel properties.
Fans of A & E's haunting romances will recognize the format and perhaps like me be carried away into a world "beyond the fields we know" to quote the great writer of yore Lord Dunsany, but for the uninitiated what transpires will seem precious. Perhaps that's why these great titles from the turn of this century are relatively unknown nowadays, even though their well-crafted content holds up far better than the award-winning junk of the era. Key element is Christopher Saint's hypnotic musical scores and visual contributions (wardrobe & art direction).
Finale of course has Spears escaping into his past, literally, to rejoin Elizabeth on an idyllic picnic, each dressed up as if back in the Edwardian era, poetic license on director Steele's part. Along the way there is a subplot (abandoned after teasing the viewer like a red herring) of Julianne licking her chops over the monetary prospect of exploiting Spears' magical time machine booth.
Showiest scene features Lee Stone with two femmes (Dominca Leoni and Kennedy) in an impromptu fantasy that Steele photographs in symmetrical compositions on a vast staircase in the mansion. The girls are made up with cute fake ears and tails as Catwomen for this threesome, and Nick's frequent collaborator back when at A & E (Steele usually in producer's chair) Nick Orleans paid homage, perhaps unconsciously, to this staging with his oddball Bondage Kittens video and fantasy in his 2015 BDSM junker "Master Bedroom", also for Adam & Eve. Contrasting that meandering fetish film with the self-assured, easy brilliance of both Nicks' features circa 2000 is striking.