Ron Jeremy and I, some of you may be delighted to learn, go back a long way. Although maybe that's not the right way to put it, because that implies that Ron Jeremy and I have an ongoing relationship, which is not the case. I met Mr. Jeremy, who was then being introduced to people by his non-stage name, that is, Ron Hyatt, pretty much 31 years ago to the very day that I'm writing this, coincidentally enough. I had taken a two-week job as a production assistant on an "adult film" then entitled The Family Jewels, which would be released as A Girl's Best Friend. These were in the waning years of porno chic, when a good deal of production was still done out here in New York, and a large percentage of the "talent" "pool" subsisted of actual actors or at the very least trained performers who weren't quite making it in what Variety may still call "legit." Video had not yet rolled over celluloid, and Jewels, which was directed by the late Henri Pachard (Ron Sullivan) was in fact being shot on Panaflex cameras and the whole crew was a bunch of jaded moonlighting pros who had some time off from their regular gigs doing segment work for That's Incredible or some such series. When I got the job (the circumstances of which getting will be available for your reading pleasure in my memoir My Life In Pornography, provided I ever complete and/or sell the damn thing) I was informed that my P.A. work would not have me around during any sex scenes, which were supposedly shot on a "closed set;" some time later, during what I recall as being one of the hottest post-Labor-Day weeks I'd ever experienced, as I crouched behind a large potted plant, my hand poised above the switch of an electric fan that I was to turn on between takes as Mr. Jeremy and a performer nicknamed "The Singing Cocksucker" attempted a form of sexual congress, that promise seemed a distant memory. Anyway.
Back in 1980 Mr. Jeremy was even more peculiarly delusional than he is depicted in the strangely poignant 2001 documentary Porn Star: The Legend of Ron Jeremy—albeit, perhaps, with better reason. A buff and boisterous 27 years of age, he was crowing to whoever would listen that he had just acquired his SAG card, and also completed some extra work in the new Woody Allen picture, which, as was even then the case with Woody Allen pictures, was as yet untitled. (My calculations put it as Stardust Memories, and I don't believe Ron made the final cut.) Because porno chic really still was a thing, and because of what was being perceived as the "new" or "newish" permissiveness in mainstream film, Ron believed that the porn thing would soon no longer be a stigma and that he'd be able to make a relatively painless and strain-free entry into the Hollywood firmament. I remember him waxing particularly eloquent on this topic with then-Playboy-writer David Rensin, who was visiting the set for an article and who sat around quietly dictating his notes into a mini-cassette recorder. Ron, I remember, had just done a threesome scene with two blondes that had sufficiently discombobulated him that he emerged from the bedroom set with his Fruit of the Loom briefs on inside-out. Warming to his topic, Jeremy ultimately decried the hypocrisy of the ratings system. "Did you see Dressed to Kill?" he asked Rensin. Of course he had; we'd all seen DePalma's Dressed to Kill, which had been released earlier that summer and was something of a succès de scandale. (Hey, look, I did the accent grave!!) I think I had seen it two or three times, 'cause me and my boys were big DePalma fans. Ron wasn't quite so sanguine about the picture. "I can't believe they gave that picture an R! It's total bullshit! I mean, come on. That shower scene in the beginning? I saw that finger go up there, you can't fool me. And they call US perverts."
Ron was referring of course, to the film's notorious opening shower-rape-fantasy scene, in which Angie Dickinson and, alternately, her nude double Penthouse Pet Victoria Lynn (and boy did Penthouse make hay out of THAT connection, if I recall correctly) are violently taken by an unknown hunky assailant. It was Mr. Jeremy's contention that the sex play in that scene indeed crossed the line into "hardcore," e.g., "penetration" and was getting away with something. Mr. Jeremy's subsequent public pronouncements, inasmuch as I've followed them, have not infrequently taken a similar why's-everybody-always-picking-on-me-when-somebody-else-is-doing-worse-stuff tone.
I bring this up because I think about Ron Jeremy all the time, and I can't stop doing so. No. I bring this up because I've been looking at the brand-spanking-new Blu-ray disc of Dressed to Kill—the unrated version, yet!—and so of course with all the enhanced detail and stuff I thought, "I wonder if Ron Jeremy was right?" As it happens, no, I think not. But since I don't have the capacity to get Blu-ray captures off of my computer, and since, you know, I don't run a PORN WEBSITE, I'm not gonna run the frames to prove it. So take my word for it. I think Mr. Jeremy may have been a little confused; there's a shot near the end of the fantasy scene in which the attacker lifts Dickinson and/or Lynn by hoisting her up from the, um, groin area; the attacker's naked thigh is visible in the shot, and the whole thing goes by sufficiently quickly that the impression of penetration—not so much in a sexual sense, but the same sense of that bit with the meathook in the first slaughter sequence of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre—is relatively strong. And that, as they say, is the Magic of Filmmaking Illusion! Whoop-dee-doo! I'll be rating the Blu-ray in the upcoming Blu-ray Consumer Guide, which, God willing, will be up before September's out, but I'll say here that I'm pretty happy with its look, which is VERY in keeping with what I recall of its theatrical appearance (and as I mentioned, I saw it more than once!), and I'm actually enjoying the film quite a bit, its idiocies of dialogue and plotting and its hysterical incidental racism notwithstanding. "Yeah, but what a kid!"