More than three decades after her tragic death at the age of just 33, Tina Russell remains one of the great, often overlooked, shining lights of American Independent Cinema. Born Linda Marie Mintzer in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Russell was wonderfully earthy, incredibly pretty and was one of the great figures in the adult film industry of the seventies. She made more than forty films in a career that lasted just five years from 1970 to 1975 and in the past several years many of them have finally found their way to DVD for the first time. One of the most notable of these releases is the incredible Special Edition of the uber-bizarre 1973 rarity The Erotic Memoirs of a Male Chauvinist Pig from the fine folks over at Distribpix.
Distribpix's fine release from late last year presents the controversial The Erotic Memoirs of a Male Chauvinist Pig completely uncut and it includes several valuable extras including an interview wth the legendary Georgina Spelvin, one of the stars of the film which also features such greats as Helen Madigan and the incredible Darby Lloyd Rains. Highlights to Distribpix's disc include not only the interview but also the lengthy and detailed liner notes by Steven Morowitz, Benson Hurst and Lora LaRocca and the incredibly rare short Box Ball.
To my eyes Tina Russell steals the show in The Erotic Memoirs of a Male Chauvinist Pig. While she is only featured in a few scenes, everything that was great about Tina Russell is on display here. That wonderful natural charisma she displayed in her best roles can be felt here in every moment she is on the screen and her unfussy ease about her appearance is the early seventies defined.
The Erotic Memoirs of a Male Chauvinist Pig appeared in the middle of Russell's most prolific year. In 1973 alone she appeared in nearly twenty films so anyone travelling the 42nd theater district at the time would have been treated to her wonderful screen presence on nearly a weekly basis!
Tina Russell deserves more discussion among film aficionados and her career needs more celebrating. A Facebook page was recently set up to just that and I highly recommend that everyone reading take a moment to 'Like' it. Also, be sure to pay a tribute to Distribpix and order a copy of The Erotic Memoirs of a Male Chauvinist Pig. It's a terrific release dedicated to a film that could have only been made in the seventies.