Don’t confuse this Dames with the 1934 Busby Berkley musical of the same name. The song “I Only Have Eyes For You” is nowhere to be found and instead of Joan Blondell and Dick Powell, we get Sharon Mitchell and Paul Thomas. Besides, this new Dames is better.
It all takes place in a club that took on many different faces over a 60 year period.
In 1985, it serves as a house for prostitution and it gets busted in the film’s opening moments. Paul Thomas has been the piano player there since 1928, and he recounts the various “dames” who frequented the place through the decades, as television reporter Sheri St. Claire takes it all in.
During 1928, it was a speakeasy run by Sharon Mitchell, who fell for gangster John Leslie. In 1944, it was a World War II dance club, with wild bathroom sex. It was a bar in 1954, where Paul Thomas fell for a prostitute, played by Karen Summer. And it became a disco in 1975, where Tish Ambrose befriended a beautiful female model who she gave head to under the table.
Dames works on every level, technical or otherwise. The attention to detail is remarkable for an adult film, with wonderfully accurate sets and costumes. The acting is superb, with Sharon Mitchell, Tish Ambrose, Karen Summer and especially Paul Thomas, turning in virtuoso, studied performances. And director Krystal Bleu hasn’t forgotten the sex, as most of the scenes sizzle with excitement. Especially noteworthy is the scene with Leslie and Mitchell, two old pros, and the closing sequence with reporter St. Claire and police detective, Eric Edwards, who is responsible for closing the old club down.
The only thing lacking in Dames is appropriate music for the World War II and disco segments, but now we’re probably picking a bit. This film is recommended for anyone who wants a story and very strong female characterizations mixed in with their sex.
(Note: Screenplay credit goes to R. Sullivan, who would be director Henri Richard.)