Wednesday, June 13, 2012

"Lust's just a distraction."

If you're like me, music alterations in home video versions of films bother you as much as a key line of dialogue missing or an incorrect aspect ratio.  Such is the case with the DVD version of Boaz Davidson's The Last American Virgin, which removes Human League's "Love Action (I Believe in Love)" from the classic Dare LP with a repeat of Devo's "Whip It!," which appears elsewhere in the film.

Unlike some DVDs which restore original soundtrack tracks that were missing from previous home video versions--such as Fast Times at Ridgemont High--The Last American Virgin is a case of the reverse phenomenon.  The original home video release of the film from MGM/UA Home Video contains the Human League track as it appeared in theatrical and television prints of the film.  When the film was originally announced for DVD, I sold my out-of-print VHS tape in anticipation; I was sorely disappointed when I discovered this alteration in the soundtrack.  I rectified this only recently when I re-purchased the film on VHS, complete with uncut big box.

UK VHS cover.
For your pleasure, I've created a clip that marries the superior DVD image with the original audio from the VHS edition, including "Love Action":

Human League apparently objected to their song being used in a film such as Last American Virgin hence its removal from the film for the DVD; I'm a fan of the band, but I object to their "high horse" attitude in this case.  Said, the League's Phil Oakey:

"We didn't understand it in the contract but he (Virgin's Richard Branson) had the absolute right to sell us to anyone he wanted.  He signed us to A&M behind our back.  A&M sold "Love Action," a song I wrote about Joanne, for use in a crummy sex film called The Last American Virgin. I was so totally offended I took them to court...and won, I think.  As soon as I discovered what had happened, I sent A&M a telex saying, "How dare you sell our songs like a porn magazine.  Stop.  I am totally disgusted with you.  Stop.  Again.  Stop."  It was so over the top I thought they'd have to react immediately. The next day I got a telex saying, "We're not sure what you're talking about. Maybe your manager could explain."

While we're on the subject of Last American Virgin, I'm not sure what Steve Antin (Rick) had in mind when he went under the plastic surgeon's knife.  As an actor, he's best known for the smarmy, snotty, jockish rich pricks he played in films such as Virgin, The Goonies, and The Accused, as well as playing Jessie in the video of Rick Springfield's "Jessie's Girl."  In recent years, the now-openly gay Antin has become a writer / director of such projects as Burlesque, the WB teen tv series Young Americans, and the remake of Cassavetes' Gloria.  I can only imagine that there was some desire to distance himself from the decidedly hetero persona and look he had as a young actor.  Now, though, he's pretty much unrecognizable from the startlingly handsome young man who appeared in the above scene in Last American Virgin.

Antin with one-time boyfriend David Geffen and former Geffen squeeze and future Burlesque star Cher.  Geffen's mother famously complained that Antin wasn't Jewish when they were introduced, leaving the Jewish Antin to try convince her that he was, in fact, a fellow member of the tribe.
Antin as he appeared in his last acting appearance, a 1998 episode of NYPD Blue, as Detective Nick Savino.

Incidentally, for those keeping score, "Love Action" remains intact at the start of the official Last American Virgin trailer, which is included on the DVD.  The song also remains listed in the film's closing credits.

For the eagle-eyed, the theater marquee seen at the end of the "Love Action" scene is the now-demolished Sunset Theatre, which was located at the intersection of N. Western and Sunset.   By the end of its run, the Sunset was showing adult films, which is somewhat appropriate given the scenario / transaction that plays out in front of it in Last American Virgin.

Gary (Lawrence Monoson) and Caren (Diane Franklin) finally back together.

1 comment:

cdkingla said...

I don't know if you check this blog anymore but I stumbled across it while searching for info on 80s soundtracks. Very interesting post and I just wanted to let you know that the Human League track was actually included on the Japanese pressing of the soundtrack album (I believe in place of the Tommy Tutone track on the US edition.) The Discogs track listing is incorrect; if you zoom in on the pictures you can see it listed on the back cover and center label. I've always wanted an expanded CD release of the soundtrack but I guess there's no way Oakey would license the track for inclusion.