Retro Porn Review – Angel on Fire

June 28, 2015
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Retro Porn Review - Angel on Fire

Back in the 1970s, there certainly weren’t many women directors in porn, and many years before she fully switched to making horror films, Roberta Findlay was one of them. Along with her then-husband Michael, their early roughies had been playing in the grindhouse theaters of New York City’s 42nd Street for years. But as the industry was booming with the newfound acceptance of hardcore features, the Findlays jumped on board.

Originally titled Angel Number Nine, Angel on Fire was written, directed, photographed and edited by Findlay, whom by 1974 had developed a few more technical abilities out of her sheer prolific output.

Clearly taking its cues from the 1964 movie Goodbye Charlie, Angel on Fire follows Steven (Alan Marlow), a douchebag who dumps and kicks his girlfriend out after she informs him of her pregnancy. While he’s out for a mind-clearing walk, another guy who’s getting a blowjob while driving doesn’t see Steven crossing the street and serves some instant payback to the universe.

As Steven arrives to heaven, Angel #9 awaits him to tell him that in order to get into heaven, he must go back to Earth as a woman to experience what his dick-ish behavior may feel like as a third person. In a surprising statement, Steven says “You must be kidding; I’d rather be dead than be a woman,” which I guess tells you a lot about where gender equality was back then.

Now as a hot girl named Stephanie (played by the awesome Darby Lloyd Rains), she wastes no time and takes her new body for a spin; first fucking the dude who ran him/her over, and then experimenting with the expected solo and lesbian scenes.

Of course, when trying to get a modeling job, Stephanie meets Jeff (Jamie Gillis in one of his staple jerk roles), a photographer who may just be an even bigger misogynist than Steven ever was. Against every instinct of her former self, Stephanie finds herself trying to please Jeff until every ounce of dignity is removed from her body. The angel’s payback plan is in motion.

Considering the movie counts with two very solid performers like Gillis and Rains, the acting was surprisingly subpar. Don’t judge the whole thing by the first 20 minutes, though, as it does get better.

By now, several mainstream movies have tried the whole ‘dying and coming back in a different body’ schtick, but Angel on Fire actually preceded most of them. The premise is a little silly, sure, but as far as porn plots go, it sure isn’t the laziest I’ve ever seen. The fact that it actually has an arc already puts it in the good pile.

Some performances could have certainly been better, but the sex scenes are strong and they’re well photographed. It may be a little predictable, but that’s also because we’ve seen this story before in popular culture. Its release date, as is the case with many adult movies of the time, is a key to cutting it some slack.

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