Stocks & Blondes (1984)

Stocks & Blondes (1984)

Director: Arthur Greenstands, Larry Revene
Tagline: “They work hard, they play hard.”
Plot: In 1982, ambitious hustler Veronica Hart leaves her job as the head of Wanco in Altoona, Pennsylvania and becomes the “executive coordinator of human services” at Tyler Securities in New York City. There, Wanda and her secretary/accomplice (Tish Ambrose) busy themselves seducing their married co-workers, then blackmailing them into signing over their shares in the company. Eventually, Hart makes off with millions and adds another corporation to her growing portfolio, though she has to fend off the snooping of private investigators played by Jamie Gillis and Ron Jeremy.

That’s the plot of Wanda Whips Wall Street, an X-rated comedy from the early days of the home-video boom, when adult filmmakers had the budgets and the ambition to make movies that looked almost indistinguishable from the multitude of sexy R-rated fare filling up the shelves, aside from the insertion and ejaculation. It’s also the plot of Stocks & Blondes, a bizarre 1984 release that replaces all of Wanda’s hardcore footage with a wraparound plot in which young New York Business University student Leigh Wood (playing a character named Wendy Willingquim—yep, you read that right) researches a paper on Hart, whom she admires as “one shrewd lady who knew how to use her assets.”

Wood follows Hart’s trail and talks to Gillis, Jeremy, and whomever else she can find, listening patiently as each recounts the details of Wanda Whips Wall Street, between extended footage from the earlier film. All the while, Wood tries to convince herself that Hart made it in Manhattan due to her business acumen, even though Wood’s scantily clad sorority sisters insist that the only way for any of them to advance—in school and in life—is to master their fellatio skills.

Key scenes: Even though Wanda Whips Wall Street isn’t as wall-to-wall graphic as most adult movies, it is about 30 percent explicit sex scenes, so Stocks & Blondes director Arthur Greenstands fills in the gaps with as much filler as he can muster, including lots of scenes of Wood and her friends conversing semi-improvisationally…

…and lots of shoe-leather footage from Wanda, in which the heroine walks around New York, grabs a bite to eat, and reads financial reports for minutes on end.

Greenstands also makes liberal use of Larry Revene’s original movie. He savors the comic boobery of Wanda’s boss, who greets his new employee with a cheery “Welcome abreast… I mean, uh, welcome aboard.” He takes in the scene at a wild party, where drunken revelers interrupt their orgy to establish their economic bona fides, hissing, “Read Maxwell Newton, dammit!” And Greenstands, like Revene, has a secret weapon in Veronica Hart, an adult actress with the skills to be comic, dramatic, sympathetic, and alluring. Hart as Wanda never seems the least bit skanky, not even when she’s seducing a trader so she can sneak onto the floor of the NYSE and dump Tyler stock.

How odd is it that between Wood with her gal-pals and Hart with hers, Stocks & Blonds/Wanda Whips Wall Street scores better on the Bechdel Test than most non-porn movies?

Can easily be distinguished by: The jazzy horn-driven music in the flashback scenes, contrasted with the “updated” new wave in the current-day scenes.

Sign that it was made in 1984: Lots of “only in the ’80s” decor, like this cool neon hallway…

…and this Radio Shack computer:

Timeless message: You’ll never work your way up unless you’re willing to go down.

Memorable quotes: “So how’s our Rhodes scholar? Did you give up and… swallow your pride?”

Available on DVD from Image.

Filed Under: Film

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