Review: The Swinging Cheerleaders
Blu-ray: The Swinging Cheerleaders (1974)
Upon opening a packet from Arrow Films (always a nice feeling) and being presented with a movie called The Swinging Cheerleaders, my face lit up like a Christmas tree. Even though I had never heard of the movie, the title alone suggested American Football and naked women…2 of my all-time favourite things. I put the disc into the blu-ray player expecting a cross between H.O.T.S, Porky’s and the Lingerie Bowl. What I wasn’t expecting was an intertwining plot which covered morality, greed, violence, repressed emotions, friendship and betrayal, albeit all acted in various degrees of competence, none of which would win any awards. There WAS a bit of T&A, but nowhere near the amount that the movie title would suggest (see the aforementioned H.O.T.S. and/or Porky’s if you want more flesh on screen).
Kate (Jo Johnston, in her one and only acting credit) is an aspiring reporter for a college newspaper and wants to write an expose of the Mesa college football team cheerleaders, so she tries out for the cheerleading squad to get inside access to all that is happening. She discovers far more than flirtatious behaviour and her actions have a knock-on effect on everyones lives.
Kate falls for Buck (Ron Hajak), the star Quarterback of the team, which obviously doesn’t go down well with Buck’s girlfriend Mary Ann (Colleen Camp) who is the head cheerleader and daughter of the Dean of the college. What Mary Ann doesn’t know is that Buck is screwing around with the ladies more often than he’s throwing touchdown passes. Now obsessed with Buck, Kate ignores the advances of her boyfriend, who (in a fit of sexual frustration) picks up Andrea (Cheryl Smith); the one virgin on the cheerleading squad who keeps turning down the advances of her football playing boyfriend…do cheerleaders ONLY date members of their football team!? Andrea gets far more than she bargained for and immediately regrets her decision to get involved in some sexual experimentation.
While all of the above is happening there is also a cheerleader who is having an affair with her teacher (which gives the best line of the movie when his wife finds out and confronts her: “I oughtta cut my name into your tit“), the Dean and Head Coach colluding to fix the games and win money through point spreads, the cheerleaders finding out about Kate’s true identity, and a couple of security guards who are more than willing to shoot the football team dead!
Directed by Jack Hill (Coffy, Foxy Brown) in just 12 days, The Swinging Cheerleaders delivers on far more than you may originally be expecting. Granted, the acting isn’t great, but the characters and story more than make up for it. This isn’t a movie where you need to be a fan of American Football to enjoy it, and the twisting story will bring up one or two surprises for you along the the way. This will definitely get repeat viewings from me.
As always from Arrow Films, there is an extensive and well put together selection of special features.
- Brand new 2K restoration from original film materials
- High Definition (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD Presentations
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
- Audio commentary by writer-director Jack Hill, recorded exclusively for this release (excellent commentary track that tells you all you’ll ever need to know about the movie)
- Brand new interview with Jack Hill (this interview covers far more than just stories about The Swinging Cheerleaders)
- Archive interview with cinematographer Alfred Taylor (essential viewing for any movie fan)
- Archive interview with Hill and Johnny Legend (light-hearted chat between Jack and Johnny)
- Q&A with Hill, and actors Colleen Camp and Rosanne Katon recorded at the New Beverly Cinema in 2012 (some great stories recollected by all)
- TV spots
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys