THE SWINGING CHEERLEADERS (1974)
Directed by Jack Hill
Available on dual format from Arrow Video
Kate, a journalism student, decides to infiltrate the college cheerleader squad in order to write an expose on how it demeans women and turns them into sexual objects but her research leads to her discovery of a whole different scandal instead.
Jack Hill’s sex comedy drama THE SWINGING CHEERLEADERS deals with the social aspects of daily college life, specifically that of the football team’s cheerleaders and their relationships with the school jocks. Liberated Kate spies her chance to write a killer article on the cheerleaders for her major and does all she can to be accepted into the squad during the auditons. Her spirited performance is successful and she soon finds herself embedded into cheerleading life, living with the other girls in the squad and gaining the attention of lead football star, Buck Larson. Despite initially being against the squad she infiltrates and the idea they represent, she soon begins to enjoy her new role and ditches her expose in favour of becoming a proper cheerleader and helping to investigate strange tactics employed by the football team’s coach. However, how long can she keep her initial intentions a secret?
Playing out much like college comedy dramas do, we see the ins-and-outs of the college life from the girls trying to keep the guys under the thumb, the guys trying to get laid and the trouble they often find themselves wrapped up in. From dating teachers to losing their virginity, the film explores many of the sexual aspects whilst the drama comes from the tension between the characters and the football match fixing initiated by one of the college’s prominent overseers.
THE SWINGING CHEERLEADERS straight-forward storyline is simple to follow and earns a few laughs here and there as well as going to dark places that I would imagine often occur during college life but by no means is the film a serious piece. It’s a bit of light-hearted entertainment that also serves as an opportunity to expose womens breasts purely for male enjoyment. Though the plot is hardly memorable even though it features some funny slapstick humour, the cast appear to eagerly throw themselves into their characters as each are given their own unique personalities and depth which is a refreshing change to the monotony of many college life flicks. You have the waring cheerleaders arguing over boys as well as a girl who’s reluctance to have sex plunges her into deep, dark waters. Peer pressure is definitely represented here even though at the end of the movie, it all wraps up nicely in a sugar-coated, unrealistic bow.
Arrow Video have release THE SWINGING CHEERLEADERS on dual format featuring interviews with Jack Hill, Alfred Taylor and Johnny Legend, a Q&A session, audio commentary with director Jack Hill and TV spots. The transfer itself is excellent although there are a few scenes, in particular the football playing, where the footage remains grainy due to what appears to be footage shot at a different time and with a different camera to which the movie was. The movie comes packaged with a collector’s booklet with writing from Cullen Gallagher as well as a reversible case sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by the talented Graham Humphreys.
Though it’s not the most entertaining of comedies, THE SWINGING CHEERLEADERS still has plenty to rival its modern counterparts with its blend of light-hearted humour and realistic consequences of college sexuality.