Cecil Howard's Scoundrels

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This is the exclusive VOD release of the director-approved 4k scan restored video of Cecil Howard's Scoundrels, the first movie to win Best Picture at the first-ever AVN awards in 1984.

Scoundrels was called a "sexual masterpiece" by AVN founder Paul Fishbein. It won Best Director and Best Editing after being nominated in all of the major film categories that year. Acclaimed writer Anne Randall provided the screenplay for the film directed by Cecil Howard, the man Playboy called "The Grandmaster of Erotic Filmmaking."

Scoundrels is an intelligent and ironic story of infidelity within the dysfunctional family of a psychiatrist. It was considered a milestone in erotic filmmaking for its ambitious and original approach to storytelling, evoking pity and sympathy for its tragic characters through masterfully directed "high-intensity sex scenes that worked on a conscious and subconscious level." (SIR Magazine)

Rare and out of print for a long time, Scoundrels is an underrated classic from the Golden Age of adult filmmaking. Cecil Howard considers the film "one of my greater achievements," and lead star Ron Jeremy remembers it as "Great! Abstract, esoteric, avant-garde."

Original Liner Notes: Scoundrels is an exceptionally well-made movie that captures not only the erotic mischief but also the dangerous consequences of "side-dipping." If you can relate to the taboo thrill of cheating, GET READY FOR THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE! Beautifully photographed, Scoundrels is able to capture the steamy and forbidden sexuality. Leave it to filmmaker Cecil Howard (Foxtrot, Platinum Paradise, Neon Nights) to create a sophisticated film about the vicious side of adultery, yet one that's hot. Ron Jeremy, known for his humorous portrayals, undertakes the more serious role of the psychiatrist who falls victim to the sexual boredom of a stagnating marriage. Lisa Be, as his wife, may be smiling when he comes home, but it's a smile meant to cover the string of lovers she's been boffing all day, including Jeremy's best friend. Tigr (Chelsea Manchester) plays their foul-mouthed daughter, a tease who'll screw anything that breathes. Poor Jeremy knows his friends are coming and going all around him, but he's unable to come to terms with his wife's faithlessness. Cecil Howard's production shines in every frame, thanks to ingenious editing, brilliant writing, and some of the best acting to date. There's also newcomer, Ariel Lee; her good looks are a real treat. The illicit sex is naughty and suspenseful, bringing the viewer to the boiling point time and again. For the scoundrel in all of us, Scoundrels is not to be missed!

Clip 1 - 8 mins 15 secs

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Clip 2 - 6 mins 49 secs

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Clip 3 - 8 mins 41 secs

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Clip 4 - 13 mins 19 secs

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Clip 5 - 8 mins 26 secs

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Clip 6 - 3 mins 29 secs

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Clip 7 - 5 mins 32 secs

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Clip 8 - 6 mins 0 secs

Stars: Tigr | Dave Ambrose
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Clip 9 - 10 mins 43 secs

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Clip 10 - 9 mins 34 secs

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Clip 11 - 47 mins 15 secs

Stars: Ron Jeremy
Ron Jeremy
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Comments on Cecil Howard's Scoundrels

Editor's Review

The first of the intimistic explorations of male menopausal angst director Cecil Howard and his regular screenwriter Anne Randall collaborated upon, thematically followed by SNAKE EYES, DANGEROUS STUFF and STAR ANGEL. Its comparatively minimalist approach, favoring the thespian prowess of performers too often relegated to mere horizontal duties, made for a jarring change from the lavish all star episodic epics like PLATINUM PARADISE and FOXTROT on which he had built his fame. Such expensive endeavors were rapidly becoming a thing of the past with the increasing affordability of home video systems leading to the demise of the porno picture palaces of yore as sex was once again scaled down to bedroom proportions. While this inevitable evolution MADE many fine fornication filmmakers compromise their artistic vision due to budgetary constraints, Howard held out longer than most, helped no doubt by the fact that he was also his own producer and sole VHS distributor (on US soil at least), with his company Command Video adopting a stringent pricing strategy, with the quality to back it up, as rival entrepreneurs quickly dropped their product to cut-rate "catalog prices". As such, he could maintain his high standards well into the video age, acquiring the rights to a string of glossy Euro epics when homegrown hardcore no longer proved a viable option.

Already sensing the approaching end of an era, SCOUNDRELS showed the way Howard was to follow during his creative twilight years, replacing the spectacular production values with psychological insight hitherto largely left unexplored in popular pornography. The ubiquitous Ron Jeremy was cast against type and, as a result perhaps, never better in the role of a wealthy psychiatrist named Simon whose life disintegrates through seemingly involuntary duplicity of his nearest and dearest. His wife Linda (a career best performance from Lisa Be, all too rarely required to act) is having a heated affair with her husband's best friend Harper (George Payne test-driving the sleazy persona that was to become his bread and butter during his "roughie" stage over at Avon), almost acting out an obsession she has had with him ever since they were all together at college. His daughter Francie (an appealingly brittle Tigr) pretends to cram for upcoming exams but partakes in Mary Jane induced intimacies instead with fellow students Marissa Constantine (from Roger Watkins's mesmerizing CORRUPTION) and Sean Elliot, who was in Lenny "Gucci" Kirtman's highly active COED TEASERS. The latter, her boyfriend of sorts, also turns out to be Harper's nephew which seems like reason enough for the deeply dissatisfied Linda to welcome him into their increasingly dysfunctional family in her own special way.

Maintaining professional distance with loved ones as well as patients, Simon's incredibly slow to pick up on any of this or he may be deliberately blocking it all out in order to preserve a surface calm existence. Photographer Bob "Bolla" Kerman confesses his illicit attraction to teen model Tiffany Clark, who does a credible job acting coy rather than seeming mentally deficient, and put upon trophy wife Anna Turner (excellent as Aaron Stuart's slutty spouse in Sam Weston's THE DANCERS ) tries to get back at philandering husband Ron Hudd by making it with his mistress and secretary Sharon Mitchell in two choice sex scenes highlighting Howard's knack for establishing erotic atmosphere through build-up and detail. Pining away for her boss, receptionist Copper Penny (one of Bill Milling's original ALL American GIRLS and a Kirtman mainstay) attempts to assuage her frustration by turning to the ever ready Harper while Simon seeks release between sessions at a health club doubling as a whorehouse with nubile Tammy Lamb, a sequence the director would recycle as flashback footage for STAR ANGEL. Catching on to dad's double standards, Francie makes a surprise appearance at the brothel, giving a merry send-off to small town marine David Ambrose (actress Tish's husband) on the eve of his tour of duty. As Simon's dearly held illusions come crumbling down, he turns to the pretty young thing he's always buying smokes from and fantasizing about (heavily hyped one shot Ariel Lee in discreetly unclad but basically non-sex capacity) for his last shot at redemption.

After the allegorical abstraction of NEON NIGHTS, Howard and Randall would become increasingly accused of high-minded pretentiousness by a porn press keen on preserving the genre's blue collar status quo. Fueling the fire, they have adopted a faux Bergman attitude for SCOUNDRELS with middle class ennui generating unfulfilling extra-marital excursions, commented upon by a makeshift Greek chorus of the central characters in clown white face and French mime outfits ! While such touches might seem easy to ridicule, Howard makes it abundantly if not smugly clear that he's always at least two steps ahead of his audience, holding up a fun house mirror to reflect our own anxieties and insecurities. And just because this movie signaled the minimalist latter day stage of its director's career doesn't mean that it would short-change on the professional proficiency that had become his stock in trade. Later to find his niche in straight to video actioners, including a brief stint in the director's chair, Steve Kaman a/k/a "Sven Nuvo" contributes ingenious and intricately lit compositions as a clear result of training under camera genius Larry Revene for whom he shot WANDA WHIPS WALL STREET, still his ace achievement to date. Very much a thinking man's porn, not as much of an oxymoron as one might imagine, the relentlessly downbeat tone right up to its cruelly ironic final twist make SCOUNDRELS something of a challenge, rewarding only those willing to contemplate the more unpleasant metaphysical questions of human existence.

-Review courtesy of DirtyMovieDevotee

Review #2

Back in the early '80s, when AVN (Adult Video News) was just up and running, they announced the first winner of their Best Film Award - Cecil Howard's Scoundrels! This plot-heavy, dramatic porno was unlike anything they had seen up until that point, bringing sensitive topics, like infidelity, to the table, yet treating them with the same overt desire and sensuality as the sexy subjects. Howard, along with screenwriter Anne Randal - that's right, a woman wrote this movie - even found a way to take the slapstick humor out of Ron Jeremy and cast him in a subdued, real way.

Scoundrels follows psychiatrist (Jeremy) and his family during their growth apart and subsequent extra marital affairs and deception, which in turn become the glue that holds the family together, as well as tears them apart. And by family, I'm talking about Dad, Mom and daughter - all who suck, fuck and screw more folks than I can keep track of. I seriously needed a guide to help me remember who's fucking who and which characters are related! Usually I would call liars and cheating spouses "scoundrels," but in this case I think that would be considered a good thing!

Each character takes on a whole host of sex partners - from mom fucking her husband's best friend and her daughter's boyfriend, to dad screwing his secretary and visiting the Madame down the street for some action; and as the film goes on the tension rises as everyone starts to figure out that not all is copacetic. While I can only imagine how shocking that type of porn would have been during the time it was released, I'm guessing that bringing anxiety into a dirty movie during any era would be surprising and considered avant-garde and edgy.

There were a ton of really awesome things about this movie - starting with all the insanely hot sex! Seriously hot! Especially scene 9, with the wife and her husband's secretary, as well as when he joins in after finding them in his office. There is something so risqué about apologetic sex, especially with the spouse of your torrid affair.

That said, there are also a bunch of things that I had a hard time figuring out about this classic flick. Like, first of all, what's with the Greek Chorus looking mimes of the family members? They return at points during the movie as well and, really, I have absolutely no clue. Also, the white light scenes - what is that? Maybe I've missed something, but at some points Scoundrels gets a little too artsy and confusing, even for me.

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