Comments Off on Stacey

Stacey (1973) is the directorial debut feature of the infamous Andy Sidaris. Already a number of tropes from Sidaris’ later and more popular films are readily apparent. Sidaris combines sports photography with the crime film and executes both in the softcore milieu. The opening sequence where the title character (played by Anne Randall) drives in a practice automobile race is the cinematic highlight of the film.

Stacey hails from the same vein of seventies exploitation films as Paul Aratow’s deliriously campy China Girl (1974) and Arthur Marks’ highly influential Bonnie’s Kids (1973). Each of these three exploitation vehicles has a female protagonist who functions in the narrative with equal heroics and competency as her male counterparts in more traditional Hollywood genre films. But just because these films center on strong women does not mean these films are feminist, despite many such arguments. Aspects of these films have been borrowed and enhanced by the mainstream over time, thus elevating the notion of a strong female protagonist in a genre picture out of softcore exploitation and into the blockbuster.

Stacey, however, is not as good as China Girl or Bonnie’s Kids. Stacey has neither the charm nor the satirical edge of China Girl. By the same token Stacey does not possess the character sophistication or strong direction that makes Bonnie’s Kids a masterpiece in the world of low budget movie making. Stacey plods along from set piece to set piece with little character development and few cinematic flourishes.

In a way it’s surprising that Stacey isn’t a more interesting or enjoyable film. Andy Sidaris had everything to prove with this picture. Yet, Sidaris really only seems comfortable shooting the racing sequences, tapping into his many years of experience directing sporting events for television. New World Pictures may have produced and distributed Stacey, but Roger Corman’s sensibilities seem oddly absent. Stacey is a dull picture that depends entirely upon Anne Randall for success.

Anne Randall had been a Playboy model in the sixties and had worked in film very little prior to Stacey. Randall is beautiful and charismatic, but she isn’t the natural actor that the best exploitation film stars are. It almost feels as though Sidaris just didn’t know how to direct actors dramatically. Maybe this is why twelve years later that Sidaris remade Stacey as Malibu Express (1985).