Film: The Lonely Lady (1983) Rated: R Written by: Harold Robbins (novel) Ellen Shepard (screenplay) Directed by: Peter Sasdy Starring: Pia Zadora as Jerilee Randal Lloyd Bochner as Walter Thorton Bibi Besch as Veronica Randal Jared Martin as Goerge Ballantine Ray Liotta as Joe Heron
By Rob R. (and Bo from Last Blog on the Left)
Rob’s Pre-screening Memories: The scrambler. It was the bane of existence for every young boy growing up in the 80s. For us, it was a torture device similar to the medival iron maiden or the cat’s paw.
For those who did not grow up in that tome frame or did not poses hormones that raged like a ‘roided-up UFC fighter, the scrambler was used to twist and distort images on premium cable channels that to which you did not subscribe. But do not underestimate the power and perseverance of pre-teen boys first learning about sex.
Like the Pavlovian pooch that never learns that it’s “treat” is hooked up to an electric charge, we continued to revisit it, hoping that for whatever reason we would somehow be rewarded.
Now, if it was merely treated to a blank screen, we would have moved on, but no…. This scrambler offered not one, but two tiny teases that kept us coming back for more…
1) For perhaps 1/100th of a second, we would be treated to a glimpse of the channel. That meant, if we tune in at just the right time, we could perhaps get flashbulb-fast view of perhaps a nipple, if the late night soft-core offerings were being screened.
2) The sound was still crystal clear. This meant that every groan or sloppy kiss would violate our ears like a siren’s song.
This all leads me to The Lonely Lady. It was a film that in its TV Guide ratings, had a bold “N” at the end of the blurb, which any youth knew promised “nudity.” It starred the era’s it girl, Pia Zadora, a celeb not afraid to show skin in an era in which not every young starlet posed for pics on her iPhone and broadcasts it over the Internet.
One fateful weekend, I got wind that our area was to recieve a “free preview” weekend, in which The Movie Channel was to unleash its contents of late-night lewd, lascivious pictures– heretofore banned from viewing — into our neighborhood, into our homes. Pia Zadora was going to be in my very living room.
The premeditation of my dance with the premium channel devil was in motion. The TV Guide was hidden so my parents would be unaware of the gift the cable gods were about to bestow on our household. The fateful evening came and I feigned sleep at an earlier-than-usual hour, and they were none the wiser.
Once I heard them retire for the evening, I slowly crept downstairs, sensitive to every creak and whistle echoing through my home. Bathed in the warm glow of filth that I was sure to watch, I sat with the old-style cable box in front of me, finger nervously resting on a “family friendly” alternative (as if my parents would come downstairs and buy my excuse of wanting to watch a late-night “Faulty Towers” episode on PBS).
There was little plot I recall, or even cared about at the time. For one, I was too busy trying to discern if that sound was a floorbaord above or the wind outside; and I really did not care to see Pia give her acceptance speech at the Osca…I mean, and “awards show.” I just wanted her to slip into something more naked.
I do recall that the sex was not as titillating as I would later come to appreciate in films like Fanny Hill. In fact, I remember being a little more scared than excited. A particular scene with a garden hose gave me pause every time my weekend chores involved watering the lawn. Though there was a certain shower scene that seemed to help keep me from all the water-based activities altogether.
It was certainly not the casual, bare-breasted shennanigans promised in films like My Tutor, Screwballs, or Joysticks — late-night staples that would pique the interest of young, corrupt minds. In fact, even though it displayed ample amounts of skin, it was, I recall, far too disturbing to leave me with loving mental imprints that could be stored away for later use.
New memories: Yeah,there is little wonder I turned out the way I did. Filled with countless freak-outs (dig that mental breakdown, man!), corrupt sexual encounters and general depravity,The Lonely Lady can certainly be appreciated as a morally bankrupt camp classic (a la Showgirls), but that glimpse of female nudity comes with a heavy price. Thankfully, one of its stars, Jared Martin, who played the lusty George Ballentine was along for the viewing this go-round to remind me it was only a movie. Now, if only I could have learned this decades ago, my folks would have a much cheaper therapy tab.
Download Natuskashi’s ‘The Lonely Lady’ podcast here
Or, wallow in our dirty, dirty on-site player below:
Our Featured Guest: Jared Martin
Jared returns to Natsukashi to discuss a film for which he has much to say. The Lonely Lady was nominated for 11 Razzies, of which it won six.
on viewers on television, starring in series such as Fantastic Journey, as “Lusty” Dusty Farlow in Dallas, and, Martin’s personal favorite, as the lead in the popular syndicated sci-fi series War of the Worlds as Dr. Harrison Blackwood.
Martin is the co-founder and creative director of the Big Picture Alliance in Philadelphia, a non-profit youth development media program which fosters an appreciation of film in underserved communities.
As a writer and photographer, his poetry has been anthologized and his photographs exhibited in both group and single shows. He has written the novel Sand Wasp, two photo-narratives “Dazhengzhou, a 1000 Year Old Chinese Village” and “Letter From Zibo” and is completing a third ‘Caprivi”. While acting he began recording events with a camera. He has been exhibited in group shows, and his image “Temple Workers” was awarded the National Association of Photoshop Professionals best Landscape Photograph of 2008. NAPP also selected ‘Man Admiring his House’, and “Approaching Storm” as featured Images of the Week.
A Renaissance man in the truest sense, we consider Jared an invaluable contributor to our little podcast, and we thank him for sharing all of his stories and insight from his massive resume of films and television. Below are some pictures of his photography, and you can click through them to get to his site.