This month (March) is the 43rd anniversary of the premier of the first of Cheri Caffaro‘s three Ginger movies. (The others being The Abductors (1972) and Girls Are For Loving (1973). Caffaro’s Ginger is known as one of the more amoral and cynical sexploitation heroines of that decade, according to author Randall Clark’s At a Theater or Drive-In Near You: The History, Culture, and Politics of the American Exploitation Film, which is why we still love these films. Being shot in Jersey and the subpar interior set design up the sleaze factor in this flick, making it an annual watch for me.
Ginger was the brainchild of director Don Schain, who started as director of the softcore flick The Love Object, starring future pornstar Kim Pope. His idea for Ginger, according to Bill Landis and Michelle Clifford in The Sleazoid Express, was “taking a female character and putting her in a role that was traditionally reserved for a man.” In this case, that character was a cross between a female James Bond and a contract killer. Ginger is also known for having one the first male full frontal nude scenes, and for having gay pornstar Casey Donovan in a supporting role.
Cheri Caffaro had a too brief career in which the Ginger films appeared to be her high water mark. On her own–apparently abandoned–website she calls herself a “legendary cult movie star” which seems several orders of magnitude more than what she was. She and Schain ended up married for ten years, divorcing at some point in the early 1980s. That the film was promoted in the manner of porno chic–big bold ads with lots of innuendo–was cause for a bit of nervousness for Caffaro, but that was apparently wiped away when it did so well. Ginger was a top-50 film for 1971.
Today, Caffaro’s pretty much disappeared back into private life away from show business. Schain is still active as a producer for Disney Channel saccharine sweet TV movies–he brought us all three High School Musical dreck. I think I speak for everyone when I say that I prefer the older stuff.