Chancellor Films

Chancellor Films

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Overview

Chancellor was a New York-based Distribution company most noted at first for releasing a number of films directed by Barry Mahon, but by the end of the decade it was much more than that, although unlike many of the better known Distribution companies, it mainly kept to itself and the Deuce where their films would play with no problems at all, although a few of their better films would actually see play through The States. With a catalog of usually very low budget films made in New York, with a couple of Greek Imports thrown in for good measure, the company continued through the Early 70's, and then faded away, with Confessions of a Psycho Cat (1968), Unholy Matrimony (1966), and Submission (1969) among it's better known and respected Grindhouse Cult Classics. The saddest part of the story is that many of their films remain Lost, including the work of 60's Adult Film notables Joseph W. Sarno, Barry Mahon, and Sande Johnson, while other lesser films like Sex Cures the Crazy (1968) and The Doctors From Oh Copenhagen (1970) will remain only slight mentions in Grindhouse film history.

Joseph W. Sarno

In The 60's, Joseph W. Sarno was known for having three-film deals with anyone he worked with, and Chancellor Distributed his films for Chellee Pictures (Avon District theater owner Chelly Wilson?), the best known being Come Ride the Wild Pink Horse (August, 1967) and Scarf of Mist, Thigh of Satin (1967) with Bed of Violence (Aug. 1967) being credited to Chellee Films alone in most books - All remain sadly "Lost Films" that deserve to be found considering the audience for Sarno's pioneering work in Adult Films and the quality associated with them. both Come Ride... and Scarf of Mist... reportedly are among his more artistic films of his 1960's work while Bed of Violence almost runs into Roughie territory. All feature performances by familiar Sarno players including Peggy Steffans, Cherie Winters, Shelia Britt, and Sue Evans (also found in Barry Mahon's Fanny Hill quickies),

Barry Mahon

Although it would be joked about that Barry Mahon was just putting film through the camera in reference to his quick-release style of Nudie film making, he did deliver what the theaters wanted on the cheap. Movies with plenty of breasts of many kinds (Nobody could complain that he was not an Equal Opportunity Employer!) with a sliver of a plot thrown in was usually his style, but to be fair, there would be the occasional cheap gem to be found in his collection. He dealt with many companies through the years, but in New York it was usually with Chancellor that he would do business with during his Nudie Cutie era.

1,000 Shapes of a Female (Oct. 1963) was very notable for the presence of Audrey Campbell who would quickly achieve infamy in three Olga films for American Films Distribution, as well as Darlene Bennett, and it did capture Mahon's Nudie style. Hollywood Nudes Report (Dec. 1963) would have lesser known models, although it would play well at the Grindhouses. Naughty Nudes (1965) would feature Bennett and Nadja Swensen.

In 1967, Mahon would follow the trend of films titled after the book Fanny Hill which was sparked by the runaway success of Peter Perry's The Notorious Daughter of Fanny Hill with three quickly made films featuring Sue Evans as the title role in various comedic adventures. The first two films would be the most popular, filmed in Color - Fanny Hill Meets Lady Chatterley (Jul. 1967) would be the first on the line complete with colorful costumes and pretty women while Fanny Hill Meets Dr. Erotico (Nov. 1967) would pick up the Comedy and the Camp with a Frankenstein-style plot. The third, Fanny Hill Meets the Red Baron (Sept. 1968) would be quickly forgotten while all three would wind up as "Lost Films" remaining MIA in the world of Cult Video and DVD releases through the years..

Chancellor would Distribute Mahon's Run Swinger Run (April, 1967), The Diary of Knockers McCalla (Feb. 1968), Forbidden Flesh (Aug. 1968), and Prowl Girls (1968), low budget Grindhouse Nudies that have their share of quickly written scripts and beasts, and made before Mahon decided to switch his movie making from Adults Only fare to Children's films made in Florida, sometimes Distributed through Cine World. Some could point to the added scenes in Confessions of a Psycho Cat to have been quickly thrown together by Mahon which feature his style (Bad sound, looped background music, bad attempts at being "hip," and several pretty women on display).

Sande N. Johnson

Through 1967, Sande Johnson, a Nudie film maker in the New York Scene now best known for his work on Teenage Gang Debs with Jerry Denby, contributed to the Chancellor story with several of his B&W Nudies, occasionally bordering towards a Roughie style. Twisted Sex (March, 1966) would start a series of films Distributed through the Company, usually brought over by Associates Productions, all being "Lost Films" as of 2010. Of the films Produced in 1967, Infidelity American Style (Jan. 1967) would feature Peggy Steffans (Using her Cleo Nova alias) and Joanna Mills (Aroused, Joe Sarno's The Sex Cycle and The Swap), Justine (May, 1967) would feature Steffans, The Game People Play (Sept. 1967) would include Cherie Winters (The Sex Cycle, Wall of Flesh, The Bizarre Ones, Passion in Hot Hallows using her Lola Valentine alias). Johnson's other 1967 film, The Singles, would feature Darlene Bennett and would be carried by Chellee Films, possibly related to the Chancellor story.

Confessions of a Psycho Cat (Three Loves of a Psycho Cat)

The best known and among the most interesting of films Chancellor Distributed through The 60's was the manic classic Confessions of a Psycho Cat, a film featuring Jake LaMotta that was almost completed in 1966 but was slightly changed around for a 1968 release, with several scenes all having the trademarks of a Barry Mahon film, although we may never know just who was behind the added on scenes. This twisted take on The Most Dangerous Game would be very legendary through the years, with hardly anyone knowing who Director Herb Stanley was or even if it was an alias, despite the presence of LaMotta. There have also been reports of this playing under it's original title Three Loves of a Psycho Cat.

Other Films of Interest: The Bushwacker, Submission, Unholy Matrimony, and Zoe Laskari

Another interesting moment in the company's history was a Late 1968 pick up from the West Coast Roughie called The Bushwacker, Directed by Byron Mabe just after being fired from working for David F. Friedman in 1968 during the production of Space Thing and hardly received any playdates in an era when things were more geared to the Erotic, although it looked like that it had a few New York playdates. Another West Coast Roughie pick up was A Taste of Hot Lead, Directed by William Rotsler and released in 1969.

One of the final Something Weird Video/Image DVDs featured Unholy Matrimony (1966), the second and last film Produced by Arcanum (The Love Cult) which was a tale of a reported investigating a Wife Swapping ring that featured a very outstanding performance by Uta Erickson as Sugar, the wife of one of the more violent ringleaders of the underground group who offers the reporter and his soon-to-be wife LSD and indulges in a bit of The Whip.

Most of the New York companies had many imports, Chancellor was one of the few that focused on films made in New York with only two films from Greece being their sole known import history, both featuring Zoe Laskari - The Women's Prison Drama Stefania and Spoiled Rotten, both released in The States in 1968. In 1969 and 1970, some it's remaining titles included Submission, featuring an early film appearance of Jennifer Wells, the Roughie Dominique in Daughters of Lesbos (1968), and Carny Girl, featuring Lucky Kargo. One last Allen Savage film featuring Jennifer Wells concluded Chancellor's filmography, March, 1971's A Weekend With Strangers (Rated X), and it was gone to Grindhouse history.

Video/DVD Legacy

Thanks to Something Weird Video's DVD collection, some of their titles have been known to Cult Film fans again, especially Confessions of a Psycho Cat, Unholy Matrimony, and Submission. Trailers for Come Ride the Wild Pink Horse, Barry Mahon's Fanny Hill Meets trilogy featuring Sue Evans (Fanny Hill Meets Dr. Erotico, Lady Chatterley, and the Red Barron), Death of a Nymphet (1967), the SN Johnson films, the Zoe Laskari films, and Carny Girl are already legendary usually featuring the announcer darkly intoning "It's Different!" in almost every one. The DVD-R era of Something Weird Video's releases recently unearthed the long lost but now found Bushwacker.