Blu-ray Review: The Swinging Cheerleaders

Blu-ray Reviews, Reviews, Top Story

College football cheerleaders are expected to do so much nowadays. Nobody is happy just shaking their pom-poms and reminding the fans that their team will dominate. Now they have to perform massive gymnastic feats timed to the latest dance hit. Between practice, classes and even cheerleading competitions, there was no time for cheerleaders to get into any trouble. Thankfully in 1974, there was a purity to cheerleader that focused on the woman just being peppy and fitting well in their team sweater and skirt. The Swinging Cheerleaders is a throwback to the college football scene over 30 years ago with team spirit go wild.

Mesa University might have its greatest season ever with a few early victories. Yet somehow the cheerleading squad is short a member. Team captain Mary Ann (Police Academy‘s Colleen Camp) wants someone worthy of their status. Her fellow cheerleaders Lisa (Playmate Rosanne Katon) and Andrea (Caged Heat‘s Rainbeaux Smith) just want someone fun. After a less than mindblowing open audition, they choose Kate (Jo Johnston) who is the least worst. Kate isn’t in the game for school spirit. She’s secretly writing an article about the seedy world of cheerleading and horny football players. Andrea has issues going all the way with her football beau. She’s inexperienced. Lisa is sleeping with her professor, who won’t leave his wife. Mary Ann has it worst of all when her quarterback lover wants to score a touchdown on Kate. Making matters more than just bedroom oriented, the head coach and college dean are fixing the games in order to pad their meager salaries. This was before the SEC’s massive TV deal. The comic drama ponders if the kids can control their hormones and not be victims of a rigged system.

The Swinging Cheerleaders has enough action to be an entire season of an ABC Family series. The movie pays off the carnal action so you’re not teased with merely college girls in sweaters bending over. The characters’ storylines do a well enough job to not make the bedroom action feel gratuitous. The movie never drags or tries to run out the clock.

The film is hilarious in the ways they saved a lot of cash on the budget. The football action scenes are 16mm highlights of Oklahoma State. The scoreboard is from the outfield at Dodger Stadium. Hill knows that the people who flock inside the theater aren’t looking to see some amazing playcalling by the coaches. We are there to see the shocking lives of cheerleaders off the field. The Swinging Cheerleaders is the perfect Blu-ray to watch while waiting for this Fall’s kickoff Saturday.

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The transfer looks fine although there’s heavy grain on 16mm football footage. The audio is DTS-HD MA mono. The levels are fine for a low budget speedy production. The movie is subtitled.

DVD has all the content of the Blu-ray.

Audio Commentary with Jack Hill is a new track as he admits to watching the film all the way through for the first time in over 20 years. He breaks down all aspects of the production, crew and cast. They discuss how Rainbeaux Smith was pregnant during the shoot.

Interview with Jack Hill (8:08) opens with the director letting us know that his father was an art director at Warner Brothers. Even with his connection, Jack really wanted to be a musician. He went to film school to learn to score films and found his talent in writing and directing. He was at UCLA with Francis Ford Coppola. Sid Haig was in his student film. He lays out the lessons he learned from Roger Corman.

Interview with Alfred Taylor (10:15) allows the cinematographer to give his background. He also shot Spider Baby for Hill. This was part of the footage shot for that film’s bonus features.

Interview with Jack Hill and Johnny Legend (10:37) is an old VHS interview with the pair on a sofa. Jack made the film after he had made the Pam Grier films. Jack hated football, but he needed a project to get him unpigeonholed as a director of black action films.

New Beverly Cinema Q&A (19:19) brings Hill, Rosanna Katon and Collen Camp up after a screening in 2007. This was shot rather wild from someone in the audience, but lets the actresses recount how they bonded as cheerleaders on the extra short shoot.

TV Spots (1:36) promises fun, comedy and hot cheerleader action.

Arrow Videos presents The Swinging Cheerleaders. Directed by: Jack Hill. Screenplay by: Jack Hill & David Kidd. Starring: Jo Johnston, Rainbeaux Smith, Colleen Camp & Rosanne Katon. Running Time: 91 minutes. Rated: PG. Released: July 5, 2016.

Joe Corey is the writer and director of "Danger! Health Films" currently streaming on Night Flight and Amazon Prime. He's the author of "The Seven Secrets of Great Walmart People Greeters." This is the last how to get a job book you'll ever need. He was Associate Producer of the documentary "Moving Midway." He's worked as local crew on several reality shows including Candid Camera, American's Most Wanted, Extreme Makeover Home Edition and ESPN's Gaters. He's been featured on The Today Show and CBS's 48 Hours. Dom DeLuise once said, "Joe, you look like an axe murderer." He was in charge of research and programming at the Moving Image Archive.