Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Superstars of the Seventies: Annie Sprinkle
The first time I ever heard of Annie Sprinkle was in my early twenties when I read Research Publication's Angry Women. The book, which featured chapters on a number of important artists ranging from Diamanda Galas to Karen Finley to Lydia Lunch, was a real eye-opener for me and the section on Annie was particularly fascinating. I was impressed by her intelligence, strength and uncompromising attitude. There was, is, something positively inspiring about her and I think time has proven her as the biggest nightmare for anti-porn crusaders. Annie, an outspoken feminist, has never been any one's victim and every aspect of her career and life goes against the hollow, and often wrongheaded, attitude many of the most outspoken critics of porn have. Annie Sprinkle is one of adult cinema's great pioneers and as the industry thankfully becomes more and more dominated by strong women in charge of their own careers (and often companies), such as Kimberly Kane, Sasha Grey, Jenna Haze, Joanna Angel and Belladonna, Annie's role as a trailblazer becomes more and more apparent.
Annie's finest film, Deep Inside Annie Sprinkle, was released in 1981 but it is a product of the swinging seventies in every way. It is available from Video-X-Pix in a stunning three disc box-set that contains the long-suppressed uncut copy of the film, along with some truly generous video and printed extras. The film, directed by Joe Sarno and written by Annie herself, is one of adult cinema's most daring and trend setting productions and it is a must for fans.
Beginning with one of the most audacious openings in adult film history, a section that immediately establishes itself as a documentary more than anything else with Annie introducing family photographs from throughout her life, Deep Inside Annie Sprinkle might very well be the greatest of the 'Inside' films. While some of her co-stars are recognizable, Sprinkle controls every frame with her charisma, frankness, humor, sex appeal and go-for-broke attitude. It's a tour-de-force performance that is simultaneously charming and daring, as well as perverse and sweet.
While the feature Deep Inside Annie Sprinkle is the stuff of legend, just as good are the extras on the box set. Disc two is a wonderful filmed commentary with Sprinkle sharing her vivid memories of the film and her life, while disc three has a long interview with Annie, two bonus scenes and the original trailer. The impressive package also contains a fascinating 25-page booklet and an Annie Sprinkle Finger Puppet!
The print Video-X-Pix uses for the Platinum Elite Edition has been remastered from the original negative and it is in quite good shape, outside of a short section that has a jitter in the frame. Otherwise though, Deep Inside Annie Sprinkle has never looked better and the fact that it is uncut makes it positively the definitive release of this important title.
More information on the Deep Inside Annie Sprinkle collection can be found at Distribpix's (NSFW) homepage. Annie Sprinkle's official page can be viewed here. Now, enjoy these stills that I captured from Deep Inside Annie Sprinkle and join me in saluting a creative spirit that doesn't understand the words conform or compromise.