A sensually amusing love comedy based on the novel "Philly" by Dan Greenburg. A young teenage boy finds his wildest fantasies fulfilled when he is left alone for the summer with the lusty family maid. Top of the charts sou... more »ndtrack featuring the music of Rod Stewart Eric Clapton and Air Supply.System Requirements:Running Time: 86 MinFormat: DVD MOVIE Genre: COMEDY Rating: R UPC: 012236187882 Manufacturer No: 18788« less
"I first saw Private Lessons (1981) some twenty odd years ago on cable (Skinamax, I think) during my impressionable youth and I don't remember it being as, for lack of a better term, creepy back then as it was while watching again last night. Don't get me wrong, it was nostalgic, quasi erotic, and even funny at times, but watching through the eyes of an adult certainly put it in a different perspective than when I was a young teen. Written by Dan Greenburg (Private School) and directed by Alan Myerson, whose main credits include directing gigs on television shows like The Love Boat, "Dynasty", and "Knight Rider", to name a few, the film stars Eric Brown (They're Playing with Fire, Waxwork) and Skinamax regular Sylvia Kristel (Emmanuelle, The Nude Bomb, Lady Chatterley's Lover). Also appearing Howard Hesseman ("WKRP in Cincinnati", This Is Spinal Tap), Patrick Piccininni, in his only film role to date, and Ed Begley Jr. (Young Doctors in Love, Transylvania 6-5000) in a small but memorable role.
After a pointless sequence of a couple in a car (we hear their voices, but only see a woman's legs sticking out of the car window), we meet Philly (Brown) and his portly friend Sherman (Piccininni), a couple of fifteen year olds spying on Sherman's sister's graduation party. After Sherman's sister falls in the pool and returns to her room to change, the boys proceed to peep through her window, something which Sherman enjoys just a little too much for my tastes considering the girl they're peeping on is supposed to be his sister (and thus begins the creepiness)...anyway, they get busted, blah, blah, blah...the next day we learn Philly's well to do father is going away on business and leaving his son with the household staff (seems Philly's mother has been taking a dirt nap for a few years now), including the creepy chauffer Lester (Hessman), sporting one of the worst hairpieces I've ever seen, and the new housekeeper Nicole Mallow (Kristel), whom Philly spends an awful lot of time trying to peep on...eventually he gets busted by Miss Mallow but, instead of admonishing him, she invites him in for the full Monty...oh mama...before anything else happens, Philly freaks out and runs off to tell Sherman (smooth move, Ex-Lax). Anyway, over the next few days Miss Mallow continues her flirtations with Philly, eventually leading to the pair going steady. After their first full-blown date, including plenty of groping and making out in the back of the limousine while Lester the chauffer leers on (more creepiness), Rod Stewart kicks in with "Tonight's the Night", which I took as a precursor to the statutory rape...err, I mean love making sequence, which it was. The next morning things take an odd twist as it turns out Miss Mallow's seduction of Philly was all apart of some overly elaborate blackmail scheme initiated by Lester...
I've mentioned how this film had a creepy vibe and here's from whence it derives...Eric Brown, the actor playing Philly, was about eighteen (I think) at the time this movie was made, but he sure didn't look it...he truly did look the age of his character, who was only supposed to be fifteen. When I was a kid the aspect of someone my age getting some action from an older woman seemed pretty cool, but now in my mid thirties it just felt somewhat odd and repellant. I did appreciate the numerous scenes of Sylvia Kristel in various states of undress, but seeing that gawky kid in the same shots pawing at her body sure killed any eroticism initially derived. As for Miss Kristel's nekkid scenes, there was a body double used, but mainly for the rump shots...the frontal shots were, for the most part I believe, Miss Kristel. What was really odd was there were two, brief scenes featuring a sort of full frontal shot, but we don't get to see down south as a fuzzy, opaque circle appears, deftly covering that area (it sort of reminded me of a miniature version of the Rover, the white security bubble as seen in the television series The Prisoner). Ah well...the story itself is extremely goofy, but I did find a certain amount of entertainment throughout. The twerpy character of Sherman, his often crass, no nonsense way of putting things, was pretty funny (the kid did need to do a few sit ups). Here are a few things to know about Sherman...
1. He's a leg man. 2. Even though he thinks his older sister's a creep, he digs watching her undress. 3. He sucks at tennis. 4. He's missing that little voice inside most all of us that censors parts of our speech purely on the basis of good taste. 5. He believes touching a woman's "knockers" with your elbows isn't considered getting to 2nd base. 6. Fondling a woman's "knockers" is just like grasping tennis balls..."You Just grab em like this and squeeeeze!" Uh, okay...
As far as Brown, well, his performance wasn't that great, but he probably didn't give two wits given his up close and personal scenes with Kristel...besides, this isn't the type of film one expects to emanate Oscar winning performances. Miss Kristel does all right, but my favorite parts were of Hesseman, the leather favoring, always glib chauffer who apparently enjoyed the love that dare not speak its name, and Ed Begley Jr's character, the country club tennis instructor who gets roped into playing the part of a police detective in order to help foil Lester's devious scheme. The funniest part for me was when Begley's character, posing as a detective, was interrogating Lester in his squalid, little pad, and he kept using the term `homicided' instead of murdered (Lester's plan involved the disappearance of Miss Mallow). The story itself starts out as expected with a May/December sort of romance between the two, main characters, but gets kind of weird as things progress. Once the rest of Lester's plan kicks in, the story is pretty much up for grabs until the end (turning into a sort of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World free-for-all, complete with car chase sequence), where things wrap up in expected fashion. One thing this film excels in (besides plenty of nekkidness) is the soundtrack, featuring such artists as John Cougar (before the addition of Mellencamp), Earth, Wind, and Fire, Crazy Horse, Eric Clapton, and a handful of tunes from Mr. Rod Stewart. It's not often one would find present such a lengthy list of recognizable and classic tunes in a film like this, as has been my experience. All in all, if you can get past a thirty year old woman taking advantage of a fifteen year old boy, and are looking for a few, cheap laughs along with a moderate amount of skinage, then this feature's right up your alley.
The picture quality on this 25th Anniversary Edition DVD release, put out by Lion's Gate Entertainment, looks decent in full screen aspect ratio (1.33:1), but there are a few aging elements present now and again. As far as the Dolby Digital 2.0 audio goes, I thought it came through most excellent. Extras include English and Spanish subtitles, a rough looking theatrical trailer, a commentary track including writer Dan Greenburg, director Alan Myerson, and actor Howard Hesseman, and a bit titled Sherman: Love Expert, which is essentially a handful of clips taken from the film.
By the way, Sherman mentioned someone named Sue Ellen Turner and her willingness to let people look at her topless for a dollar...if anyone knows how I can contact Miss Turner, I'd greatly appreciate the info... "
Private Lessons- dvd 1981
Dale Smith | Sterling Heights, MI USA | 02/10/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Private Lessons is one of the top grossing independent films of all time pre-Miramax. Private Lessons was released in 1981, starring Sylvia Kristal, Eric Brown, and Howard Hessman(W. K. R. P. in Cincinnati). Private Lessons was the first in a genre of soft core, teenage, wet dream, pictures.
Originally, based on the novel, Philly by Dan Greenberg. Originally, the story was supposed to be a horror story with a blackmail plot, but when Silvia Kristal was cast the producers decided to turn the story into a sex comedy.
Alan Myerson, Dan Greenberg, and Howard Hessman handle the commentary on the DVD. Generally, they reminisce about what a pain this movie was to make, but generally they say it was a good experience.
I liked this movie, but just to let you know, it has been altered from the version, which is on VHS tape. It has also been revealed that Silvia Kristal had a body double, her name is Judy Helden.
However, Ms. Helden only appears in two scenes in the movie, and they are not the famous scenes which those of us in the 35 to 40 age group, who love the movie all know. Miss Helden's scenes appear towards the end of the movie, where we see aroused nipples on a breast, in one shot of the backside that does not match up with Sylvia Kristal's.
If you are a fan of Sylvia Kristal's, you will like this movie. If you are 35 to 40, and you can remember when this movie was released. You will probably like this movie. I will close this review with a question. Do you want to feel like you are 15 again?"
A genre masterpiece!
Samuel Rivera | New York | 03/10/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a youngster, I remember this movie well! If your a young woman you want to cheer Eric Brown our hero. And if your a young man, you want to be Eric Brown a wealthy young lad whos lucky enough to recieve the attentions of his ultra sexy houskeeper, the very comely Sylvia Kristel. Needles to say, this is every american boys fantasy.
Add to this the very funny Howard Hessman as our protagonist, as well as a decent supporting cast and the result is a very well made for its time independant film thats sure to please fans of Sylvia Kristel, as well as fans of young boy gets older woman films. Of those types of films this ones the very best."
A true classic, but...
Roddy76 | Brasília, Brazil | 06/05/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Private Lessons 25th anniversary edition is a must-have! But I felt somewhat deceived due to the censorship on Kristel's front nudity (or perhaps that of a body double, no matter). It's simply a crime against the movie and her beauty... When I first saw that blur covering her parts I thought: "If they show the movie on television without any cuts, how come they decide to make cuts precisely for the anniversary edition?" This is why I gave only 4 stars."
James N. Smith | Memphis, TN United States | 05/08/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I was looking forward to this, but when I got the DVD the first thing I noticed on the special features was that this was a full screen presentation. Being a film purist, I don't tend to watch altered versions of any film. Full screen is not a special feature if that is the only format you have to choose from! Going back to the amazon site to see if I had missed something, no where did it say that this was a fullscreen version. Very easy to overlook when you have 25th anniversary edition emblazoned across the top of the box. A special anniversary edition usually denotes a film released in its most complete state, not modified to fit a television screen. Even moreso now since most televisions are widescreen. C'mon guys give us a decent version of this pic, or at least tell us specifically what we are buying."