The Head Mistress
The Head Mistress (1968) is a low-budget, independent sexploitation film written and produced by David F. Friedman and directed by Byron Mabe. It stars Marsha Jordan, Victor Brandt, and Julia Blackburn.
This is one of many "nudie-cutie" softcore adult films Friedman made in the '60s and '70s. It is part of a series of colorful costume dramas he wrote based on literary sources and other mainstream period-piece films.
The Head Mistress follows Friedman's sexploitation formula that includes beautiful starlets, constant displays of casual nudity, lots of simulated non-explicit sex, lesbianism, a touch of perversity (in this case, implied necrophilia), and an erotic whipping or spanking scene. All of these elements were based on feedback he got from the audience.
The story, set in 17th century Italy, is basen on two stories from Boccaccio's The Decameron. The movie was filmed in and around an elegant Medieval-style mansion in the Hollywood hills. Marsha Jordan, one of the biggest stars of the exploitation genre, plays the lesbian mistress of a girl's school. A young man pretending to be a slow-witted mute is hired as the new gardener. He soon finds himself romantically involved with many of the young girls at the school.
The punishment scene
The titular head mistress (Jordan) sees one of her girls having sex with the gardner in the bathing room. Later she is summoned to the mistress' bedroom where she is given wine laced with a drug that makes her partially paralized. She is stripped naked and her wrists are bound.
The mistress picks up a heavy flogger and gives the girl 25 hard lashes that cover her in red stripes from shoulder to thigh. (It is obvious that the whip has been dipped in stage blood as nearly every stroke leaves a messy, fake-looking mark. Friedman reveals in the audio track that the whips he used were made out of felt.)
According the the audio commentary, this film was shot in just five days on a budget of $18,000. Parts of the movie, especially the many sex scenes, were filmed without live sound; music, narration, and other sounds were added later. Friedman made dozens of similar low-budget features. He specialized in roughies such as The Defilers (1965) and The Ramrodder (1969) and colorful nudie-cuties that had a harder edge and more complex stories than most of his contemporaries. Director Byron Mabe made his acting debut in The Defilers and went on to direct several roughies for Friedman.
Fetishistic whipping and/or spanking scenes were part of the David F. Friedman sexploitation formula. This can be seen in films such as the historical dramas The Lustful Turk, The Ribald Tales of Robin Hood, the Western Brand of Shame, Love Camp 7 (the first Nazi exploitation film), as well as contemporary stories Thar She Blows, Starlet, and the science fiction parody, Space Thing directed by Mabe.
DVD release and bonus extras
Hundreds of films in the all-but-lost genre of vintage sexploitation have been preserved by Something Weird Video and reissued in DVD format. In 2001 The Head Mistress and The Notorious Daughter of Fanny Hill (1966), another historical nudie-cutie by Friedman, was released as a special edition double-feature.
Among the many bonus items on the disc, including trailers for many of the films mentioned above, is a notable 1966 black-and-white short film, Stacey Walker, Dreamgirl (Walker was also the star of Fanny Hill.) In this 6-minute reel, a man has erotic dreams of brutally whipping a girl chained to a post. In the end, she transforms into a dominatrix figure and he becomes the bound victim.
This film can be viewed at the Internet Archive site.