Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Dark Side of Tomorrow (1970)

The same year that mainstream Hollywood explored the experiences of gay men in The Boys and the Band, independent producer Harry Novak, a prolific pornographer, issued The Dark Side of Tomorrow, a wannabe-serious look at the experiences of gay women. While the coincidence of timing is noteworthy, the films otherwise share nothing in common. Essentially a skin flick disguised as a social-issue melodrama, The Dark Side of Tomorrow equates homosexuality with immorality, insomuch as the leading characters become reckless philanderers after their first brushes with Sapphic sexuality. Except for the harshly lit nude scenes and a few cultural signifiers (dope-smoking hippies, earth-tone décor, etc.), the picture feels like it comes from the 1950s, and not in a good way. Anyway, Denise (Elizabeth Plum) and Adria (Alisa Courtney) are unhappily married to withholding men, so one day they go to lunch at a happening café and spot two lesbians canoodling. Shocked but titillated, Denise and Adria talk about lesbianism ad nauseam until finally succumbing to curiosity. Bliss ensues. Then Adria becomes a full-on swinger by adding more dudes to her sex life. Adria digs handsome actor Jim (John Aprea), but Denise gets jealous—that is, until she makes out with a random chick on a pool table. Despite the eventful storyline, The Dark Side of Tomorrow is quite dull, thanks to iffy acting, spotty camerawork, and vapid dialogue. It’s hard to take the movie seriously when a depressed Denise walks along a beach—and happens onto a hippie band playing a bummer song inches away from crashing waves. In a more sure-handed movie, that moment  might have played as camp; here, it’s just clumsy and obvious.

The Dark Side of Tomorrow: LAME

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