Jack Hill was one of those tireless genre directors of the 60s and 70s, turning out interesting little oddities such as Spider Baby and directing the best scenes in Roger Corman’s complicated production Blood Bath, as well as making Pam Grier a star in Foxy Brown and Coffy. It is often said that every single Hill picture has some sort of feminist angle to it and, somewhat surprisingly, this even extends to film of his entitled The Swinging Cheerleaders.
The Film Itself
A sequel to the moderately successful sexploitation picture The Cheerleaders, a/k/a The 18 Year Old Schoolgirls, The Swinging Cheerleaders sees a journalist infiltrate a cheerleading squad as research for an article on how cheerleading is sexist and demeaning, at which point the plot is put more-or-less on hold for a series of countercultural vignettes, in which the authorities are mostly stuffy and corrupt, while the teenaged characters pursue their own varying liberations. It’s breezy stuff and easy to watch, especially compared with the somewhat nasty film to which it is purportedly a sequel.
Audio and Visuals
This is an Arrow Video release, so the experienced will know to expect only the finest quality. The film indeed looks better than it ever has, although it lacks the striking visuals of some of Hill’s other films, which may be down to the film having been shot on a shoestring in 12 days.
As usual, Arrow offers reversible sleeve artwork, one original and one newly commissioned. The menu is pleasant to navigate.
The extras collected here are impressive for a film which is small even by Arrow’s generous standards. There are archival interviews with director Jack Hill; a second Hill interview with performer Johnny Legend; an interview with cinematographer Alfred Taylor; a Q&A from a recent screening at the New Beverly Cinema; a set of TV spots; and, best of all, a commentary by Hill, who is likeable though a little scant on details.
The film is almost the embodiment of disposability, and yet here it is lovingly preserved and presented. Make of it what you will.
The Swinging Cheerleaders is on our shop shelves now, will you be buying yourself a copy? Let us know in the comment box below!