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  Swinging Cheerleaders, The Team PlayersBuy this film here.
Year: 1974
Director: Jack Hill
Stars: Jo Johnston, Ron Hajek, Cheryl Rainbeaux Smith, Colleen Camp, Rosanne Katon, Ric Carrott, Ian Sander, Jason Sommers, Jack Denton, Mae Mercer
Genre: Comedy, Sex, Thriller, Trash
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Kate (Jo Johnston) is a student who infiltrates the college cheerleading team with the idea of writing an expose of what she sees as the exploitation of women. Things don't work out as she expects when she discovers not sexism but a gambling racket - how can she convince everyone that her suspicions of corruption are justified after her fellow cheerleaders find out her true motives for joining them?

One of the cycles of exploitation movies in the seventies was the sexed up drama centred around nubile young ladies, be they nurses, students, stewardesses, nuns, or whatever. OK, maybe not nuns. Jack Hill's contribution to this cycle, written by Jane Witherspoon and Betty Conklin, picks the most obvious target, the all-American cheerleader, but there's an added depth to the story that you might not expect.

Our heroine is a liberated, modern woman of the times who has a right on, underground newspaper editor for a boyfriend, so she thinks the football players are all stupid and after one thing. However, the tables are turned when the radical is revealed to be the one with Neanderthal values and the football player who chats her up is more sensitive than he first appears.

To say this film has an uncertain tone would be about right: a comedy seduction scene between the naive virgin (Rainbeaux Smith) and the radical becomes nasty when he invites his friends over to gang rape her (offscreen). On the other hand, the thrilling finale where some of the team have to rescue the star player from crooked cops resolves itself into a fight scene that is played for laughs - until someone gets shot.

I'm not sure whether Hill is having his cake and eating it too or is being genuinely subversive when he fills what can be summed up as a low budget, sex and action flick with anti-authoritarian and feminist values. It certainly gives the film an edge over the more brainless examples of the genre, even if it can be stagey or campy at times. Nice details include the Nixon dartboard in the radical's apartment, and the revelation that the maths teacher used to run a numbers racket - which is how he got interested in maths!
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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Jack Hill  (1933 - )

American writer and director, an expert at exploitation movies. He worked for Roger Corman (Hill was one of the directors of The Terror) before making his own films, beginning with Spider Baby. Come the seventies, he tried "women in prison" (The Big Doll House, The Big Bird Cage), blaxploitation (Coffy, Foxy Brown) and others (The Swinging Cheerleaders, Switchblade Sisters), but unfortunately his credits petered out in the eighties. He also "discovered" cult favourites Pam Grier and Sid Haig.

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