The Swinging Cheerleaders is a film which promised a lot more from the title than the content delivered.
Kate (Jo Johnston) writes for her college newspaper and wants to get on her feminist soapbox about about how cheerleading demeans women. To achieve this, she’ll have to infiltrate the cheerleading squad (and, by infiltrate, I mean ‘join’), move in amongst them in their dorms, and demean herself by sleeping with hunky college jocks such as headstrong American Football player Buck (Ron Hajak). Like Frank Buck in Eaten Alive (aka Death Trap) (albeit made two years later), his name is Buck and he’s raring to… you know.
And he’ll do it to anyone in addition to his girlfriend Mary Ann (Coleen Camp). Meanwhile, Buck’s friend, Ross (Ric Carrott), is trying to woo Andrea (Rainbeaux Smith), but between all of them, the men are sleazes, the women all act like sluts, and there’s some students sleeping with their teachers, like some sort of dodgy porn film from the ’70s… oh, this WAS filmed in the ’70s 🙂
Amongst Kate’s research, once ingratiated into the dorm, she tells the other girls they should use men to get what they want, but this then leads to some sexual abuse situations where men are taking advantage of the cheerleaders. Beyond that, the film diverts into a not-hugely-interesting sports betting scandal, which isn’t what I was expecting from the title.
However, the 18-cert gives the impression that there’s a lot more “how’s your father” going on than there actually is. This isn’t Porky’s. Time to swing a different way for another Blu-ray.
The film is presented in the original 1.66:1 widescreen ratio and in 1080p high definition, and but while I know Arrow aim to do the very best with their releases of movies from decades ago, the print is very disappointing compared to what we’re normally used to. Sometimes, especially early on, the print looks like nothing’s been done to it after it’s been left in storage for 40 years – that’s the best way I can describe how it looks. I’m presuming not a lot else could’ve been done to it, but it’s a shame.
The audio is in DTS HD 1.0 mono, as you’d expect from a film of that era. There’s no problems with it, but the mono means that nothing particularly stands out… except when the cheerleaders strip off 😉
The extras mostly consist of some interesting interviews, but there’s not as much as you’d expect from the usual Arrow release. That said, there’s more than a lot of brand new releases:
- Interviews: There’s a brand new one with director Jack Hill (8:08), plus archive ones with cinematographer Alfred Taylor, recorded on August 1st 2006 (10:15), and one from an unspecified date with Jack Hill (10:37), but clearly from many years ago given the quality of the recording at the time.
- New Beverly Cinema Q&A (19:19): Jack Hill was joined by co-stars Roseanna Katon (Lisa) and Colleen Camp (Mary Ann) for a Q&A inbetween a double bill of this film and Switchblade Sisters, on January 23rd 2007 at the Grindhouse Film Festival.
- TV spots (1:36): Two, here, running approx 30 seconds and one minute.
- Reversible sleeve: featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
- Audio commentary: with Jack Hill.
The main menu features a short piece of theme tune set to clips from the film. There are a bog-standard 12 chapters to the film, and subtitles are in English, but there’s a slight issue with some of them as not all of them are transcribed correctly from the dialogue, a late example coming when “How could you miss it?” becomes “Get the message”. I can hear how the words sound like both, but when that’s your job, how can you miss it?
The Swinging Cheerleaders is out now on Blu-ray/DVD Double Pack and check out the full-size cover by clicking on the packshot.
Running time: 98 minutes
Distributor: Arrow Films
Released: July 4th 2016
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS-HD 1.0 Master Audio (Mono)
Widescreen: 1.66:1 (35mm)
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Jack Hill
Producer: John Prizer
Screenplay: Jack Hill and David Kidd (as, respectively, Jane Witherspoon and Betty Conklin)
Music: William Castleman
Kate: Jo Johnston
Andrea: Rainbeaux Smith
Mary Ann: Colleen Camp
Lisa: Rosanne Katon
Buck: Ron Hajak
Ross: Ric Carrott
Prof. Thorpe: Jason Sommers
Ron: Ian Sander
Mr. Putnam: George Wallace
Coach Turner: Jack Denton
Belski: John Quade
Ryan: Bob Minor
Jessica Thorpe: Mae Mercer
Janie Hamilton: Dion Lane
Bartender: Hank Rolike
Jerry: Fred Scheiwiller
Other Cheerleader: Jodi Carlson
Jock at Party: Gary Schneider
Girls at tryouts: Sandra Dempsey and Candy All
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.