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Cindy And Donna (1970)

Directed by Robert Anderson
Mill Creek DVD

THE FILMS
I guess this is what happens after John Cassavetes’ Faces, but before Andy Milligan‘s Fleshpot On 42nd Street. Neat.

Before we go any further, understand the reality of Cindy And Donna — it exists to take up space. There is no plot, visual distinction, or active direction. Most people will not enjoy watching it. I mean, sex can only get you so far, right?

Cindy And Donna is a softcore civil war. That is, this film wants to light your fire. Badly. Drunk with carnal fury, every few minutes yields another pair of breasts, tongues, or dry-humping partners. Usually, the effects of such blunt intent would be instantly understood (and there would be no need for a review). But Cindy And Donna is different. For this is a film so giddy in its self-deprication and dysfunctional angst that it reduces exploitation’s most celestial armament to mere second fiddle. To wit, look no further than an angry husband in the throes of prostitute-coitus. While yawning.

Cindy (younger, red head) and Donna (older, brunette) are suburban stepsisters. Donna likes pot and sex. Cindy is still figuring things out. Mom has bruises on her legs and sounds like Edith Bunker by way of some V.F.W. Shakespeare. Plus, she’s drunk. Dad likes Blazing Films magazine and stripper-prostitutes and looks like Ed Wood. Plus, he’s drunk. Everyone hates everyone. The local bar looks like a pop-art installation. Blinding, late-60s decorative hues and the amateur psych-rock never let up. It is here, beneath this discordant parasol of sunshine-pop dejection, that we witness Cindy bloom (masturbation, pot-fueled lezbo dipping), Donna deflorate (step-Dad sex, gang-bang comeuppance), and the most wonderfully dispirited ending since The Pink Angels limped into town.

Obviously, Cindy And Donna is kind of special. It’s not because of the intermittently-sexy sex, or the apathetic (read: mostly terrible) craftsmanship. It’s not even because of the Neil-Diamond-on-barbituates theme song. Granted, all of that stuff is fantastic, but this film’s abnormal charm deals in much loftier stakes — namely, its distinctly 1970s devotion to all things miserable. And further, that devotion’s direct opposition to the very attributes which would typically define it. Whether this is a death knell for The Summer Of Love, an exploitation prophet, or a complete waste of time, one thing’s for sure:

A.C. Stephens would be very jealous.

And that’s all you need to know.

AUDIO AND VIDEO
Exquisite. The widescreen print is clean, colorful, and sharp, as is the mono sound (but you know, on audio terms). I’m a big fan of these humble Mill Creek eight/twelve movie sets. DVD wasn’t made for three-hour director’s cuts and mountains of painstaking supplements; it was made to cram hi-fi versions of the Crown International vaults onto as few discs as possible at ten bucks a pop.

EXTRAS
The Pick-Up! The Sister-In-Law! The Stepmother! The Teacher! Trip With The Teacher! Best Friends! Malibu High! All of these movies are a part of “Drive-In Cult Classics Volume 1″ and all of them love me (so far).

FINAL THOUGHTS
Get yer sex-yawns ready. The appeal of Cindy And Donna is not defined by logic or analyzation. You either have a thing for downbeat, atypical 70s softcore trash or you don’t. I do. If you’re with me, trust that this is a good one. And that a miserable/delectable 80 minutes awaits.