Some movies wear their intentions on their sleeves. Some horror movies are content with showcasing copious amounts of gore and women in peril. Some thrillers are fine with just moving from one gratuitous killing to the next without really setting up an intricate plot. Then you have films that just want to show attractive people (some more than others) in various states of undress. To call 'The Stewardesses 3-D' a "nudie movie" wouldn't be too far off the mark. While this film absolutely fills it's bare skin quota, there is an infectious bawdiness to the film that makes it a great amount of fun - especially in 3D!
For the crew of a transpacific airliner, any night off is a great night. Some of them go out to bars to party with their industry peers. Some of them continue a secrete liaison with a pilot. Some are out to further their careers by hooking up with famous or important first class passengers. Others are out to confess a love for one another and do a bit of exploring. During their brief time on the ground, these free-spirited ladies will be living high on life!
To be honest and up front, there really isn't much of a plot going on with 'The Stewardesses 3-D.' It's a pretty fairly rote and routine setup to various scenarios for some bawdy T&A action. When one "plot" is done, it moves onto the next and sets up another young pretty lady to explore the more carnal aspects of having a healthy social life. Rinse, wash, repeat. That said, this isn't exactly the same sort of material you'd find populating Cinemax after the sun goes down. While the plot is as thin as it can be, it's not altogether cheap and tawdry. Sure, the acting is amateurish at best, but it's still fun and enjoyable the same way that you would want to kick back with a group of lively people to watch a Russ Meyer movie. There is a midnight movie quality to 'The Stewardesses 3-D' that is too infectious to be ignored. Those worried about content should breathe easy knowing that while it was initially awarded an X rating upon its initial release, it's since been certified R. If you can handle something like 'Showgirls,' the content found in 'The Stewardesses 3-D' is far less explicit.
Added to the eye-rolling plot scenarios is the fact that the film was shot and distributed in 3D in 1969. 3-D was long dead as a medium and wasn't yet primed for it's late 70's revival. The combination of this being a skin flick and shown in 3D made it something of a unique novelty and it's easy to see why. The film is just fun. Plain and simple. Even without a plot, it's the sort of feature that is a gas to watch with other people in the room - so long as their comfortable with the content. Unless your grandma is pretty chill, I wouldn't suggest someone slap a pair of 3D glasses on her and give this one a spin. It's this sort of playful energy that exudes from the film that made it (until the release of 'Avatar') the highest grossing 3D movie! You read that right. This film was made for a mere $100,000 and grossed nearly $30 million worldwide!
On a technical level, this film should be appreciated for the fact that the producers also developed their own 3D camera for the shoot! Rather than using the traditional two-camera process, this camera was able to shoot both the right eye and left eye image in a single camera and the results are often spectacular - that is when the shot setup is a decent quality. While some shots are composed so haphazardly it's hard to tell what you're supposed to look at, other establishing shots feature a sense of depth and dimension to them that makes you feel like you're in the same crowded bar with the rest of the cast. Sure, there are some other more interesting uses of 3D in the film, but the main appeal is its playful nature and the 3D effects. I won't dare say that 'The Stewardesses 3-D' is an amazing film by any means. But as an example of late 60s exploitation schlock - that happened to be shot in 3D - it's a damn entertaining flick. If you're a vintage 3D fan who doesn't mind some bawdy content, this is a great one to add to the collection.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
'The Stewardesses 3-D' arrives on 3D Blu-ray courtesy of Kino Lorber, Jezebel, with restoration work by 3-D Film Archive. Pressed onto a Region Free BD-50 disc, the disc is housed in a sturdy standard Blu-ray case and loads automatically to a static image main menu with traditional navigation options. If you have a 3D television, the disc automatically selects the 3-D presentation upon startup - why you'd watch this flick in 2D is beyond me, but that option is available.
'The Stewardesses 3-D' features a rough around the edges, yet very effective 1.33:1 1080p presentation. I say "rough around the edges" merely as a means to describe the quality of the shot composition and setups. Some shots are far more effective than others. Where one shot can feature a pair of feet effectively protruding from the screen providing an incredible sense of depth to the image, the next shot could look like the camera tripod wasn't tightened down and the cameraman struggled to keep it balanced. Throughout the run of the film, film grain has a fine to nominal presence ensuring that detail levels are retained allowing the audience to soak up all of the late 60s decor, fashions, facial features, and…other aspects of the image. Black levels are solid throughout without any severe spikes in contrast - that weren't already native to the image where it looks like the actors are sitting directly under the production lights. Colors maintain a bright primary saturated look with healthy flesh tones. There is a particularly interesting scene where someone drops acid that features some impressive colors and shot compositions that can have an interesting effect on the 3D presentation. The 3-D Film Archive has done a great job with the restoration of this midnight movie favorite. Only a handful of shots ever look out of sorts leading to any sort of ghosting or crosstalk and that's largely due to how the scenes in question were shot in the first place. All around, this is a very impressive vintage 3D restoration and creates a fun and unique viewing opportunity.
Presented with a DTS-HD MA 2.0 audio track, 'The Stewardesses 3-D' is a sort of "take what you can get affair." Without knowing the post-production process of this film, I would have to wager that there was little, if any, looping done of the dialogue. To that point, the dialogue is rather hit or miss. Sometimes you can clearly hear what is being said, other times it sounds like the boom mic operator was too shy to get close enough for a clean recording. In crowded scenes where there is actual dialogue with a lot of activity, these are the times that if you're hoping for some sort of "plot" to come through you'll likely be disappointed. However, there really isn't much to glean from conversations except for a few characters where the dialogue fidelity isn't a problem. Scoring can shift from scene to scene, sometimes it dominates the entire mix, other times it's a bit more subtle and more scene appropriate. Likewise, sound effects can either have a natural tonal quality to them or sound completely canned. This isn't a knock against the restoration work done for the film, but it's indicative of the quality of the source elements. Some slight hiss seeps in every now and again, otherwise, the audio is free of any drop offs or age-related issues.
'Experiments In Love 3-D' Short Film: (HD 28:25) This short is a bawdy and hilarious advertisement of sorts for a new sort of 3-D camera featuring two women in a laboratory learning to use said camera, a randy computer with, and a gardener. You more or less can guess where the plot goes from there. As a fun bit of naughty exploitation hilarity, this little flick is actually somewhat educational as it accurately depicts depth fields and focal points when composing 3-D shots. The fact that the characters happen to be in various states of undress is a bonus. The 1.33:1 1080p 3D image is actually very effective while on the salacious side of things, proves to be a demo-worthy example of vintage 3D!
'The Stewardesses' Theatrical Trailer: (SD 2:41) A fairly routine trailer that showcases a lot of the setups for when and where various cast members will be shown in a state of undress. Unfortunately this is shown only in 2D.
'The Stewardesses 3-D' may not be anything resembling one of the greatest movies ever made, but watched under the right conditions with the right people, it's a hell of a lot of fun. The 3D is impressive - even if the story isn't! Kino Lorber, Jezebel, and 3-D Film Archive put out another great vintage 3D release with 'The Stewardesses 3-D.' The image quality is strong, especially the 3D presentation considering the film's low-budget origins. The audio is as good as can be expected and while the bonus features may not be numerous, the short film 'Experiments in Love' is a wonderfully cheesy piece of 3D exploitation fun. Considering this is a flick that will only appeal to a select few, it's recommended, but it's absolutely for the fans.