Color, 1980, 88 mins. 33 secs.
Directed by Alan Roberts
Starring Martine Beswick, Adam West, Phil Silvers, Edie Adams, Richard Deacon, Chris Lemmon Scorpion Releasing (Blu-ray) (US RA HD), MGM (DVD) (US R1 NTSC) / WS (1.781: (16:9)
It was impossible to live in the 1970s without repeatedly hearing the name of Xaveria Hollander, the Dutch-born New York City madam turned author who scored a big bestseller with her 1971 autobiographical book, The Happy Hooker: My Own Story. In 1975, Hollander made the jump to the big screen herself in the barely seen comedy My Pleasure Is My Business, which was overshadowed the same year by a (pre-Golan and Globus) Cannon Films fictionalized comedy version of her story, The Happy Hooker, starring Lynn Redgrave. (Both followed a hardcore adult version of Hollander's story, The Life and Times of Xaviera Hollander, in 1974.) The Redgrave film proved to be the biggest hit by far (despite being the least explicit -- also by far), which led to a pair of Cannon sequels, both starring different actresses: The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington in 1977 with Joey Heatherton, and the only Golan-Globus entry, 1980's The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood with two-time James Bond actress and Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde star Martine Beswick.
In Hollywood, wheelchair-bound exploitation mogul William Warkoff (Silvers) is desperate for a hit at his studio (which is lined with posters for titles like Dracula's Last Rites). He calls in his execs including Lionel Lamely (West, Batman himself) and Joseph and Robby Rottman (The Dick Van Dyke Show's Deacon and Just Before Dawn's Lemmon) to help with his newest brainstorm: a film about Xaviera Hollander. Meanwhile she's off on the East Coast getting $1,000 bills stuck in her lingerie by clients including a New York cop played by none other than Dick Miller. When the movie offer comes in, she decides to jet off to Los Angeles just in time to show off in front of Grauman's Chinese Theatre and do a stint on a talk show hosted by Edie Adams. After some afternoon delight with her limo driver, Xaviera gets down to business by bedding Lamely only to find out he's conspiring behind her back to get her to sign a contract as part of a studio takeover bid. She responds by grinding a grapefruit in West's crotch and hitching her book to the much nicer Robby, who has his own treatment adaptation ready to go. Xaviera decides to bring in her girls to help raise funds for the indie production, setting off a battle for control in Tinseltown.
A film that feels genetically designed to play on Cinemax at midnight in 1983, The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood is the kind of frothy, disposable entertainment that works perfectly when your brain has shut down all of its defenses. The comedy is goofy and sometimes bordering on 1970s live-action Disney at times (especially a third act car chase), the cast feels like some kind of insane prank played by bored TV executives, the nudity level is much higher than the prior two films, and the vintage coverage of Beverly Hills and Hollywood is absolutely priceless. Anyone who wasn't alive in the '80s might be baffled by the spectacle of seeing Adam West rolling around with Beswick in a cutesy sex comedy, but as a time capsule of a bygone era it's really something to behold (especially the sight of West and Deacon in drag, something that will sear into your brain for years) and a very breezy hour and a half.
This film first appeared on DVD back in 2007 from MGM along with the other two Happy Hooker films and makes for an interesting choice to be the first of the trilogy to hit Blu-ray courtesy of Scorpion Releasing in 2019, sold by Ronin Flix and (internationally only until July 1, 2019) Diabolik. The HD upgrade here is pretty substantial over the comparatively tired ones the films received in SD (the first film wasn't even anamorphic) with very fresh-looking colors and no significant element damage; the DTS-HD MA English track is also immaculate, with optional English SDH subtitles provided. Beswick appears for a new video interview (13m9s) about her 007 origins and the fun she had on this film shooting around L.A. (not to mention the thrill of getting star billing and the silly circumstances of shooting a love scene with West), while Lemmon also provides a very lighthearted interview (13m5s) about his journey from aspirations of being "the next Franz Liszt" to having a ball on this set with its many "naughty, naughty things" bouncing around. The theatrical trailer is also included along with bonus ones for Act of Vengeance, Bucktown, California Dreaming, Johnny Cool, Lone Wolf McQuade, andThe Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane.