A SMELL OF HONEY A SWALLOW OF BRINE (1966) – The Dungeon Review!
A Smell of Honey A Swallow of Brine opens with central character Sharon Winters doing some heavy making out with boyfriend Roy Bradley. After getting naked Sharon begins to shout at him to stop. Roy needless to say wants to keep forging forward but Sharon is insisting he put on the brakes. A cop happens to be passing by and wants to know what all the ruckus is about. This scene ends with the above title sequence. This is how we are introduced to Sharon Winters.
The incident results in a court trial and Roy Bradley is sentenced to two years in a state reformatory for rape and assault. Roy was definitely pushy but we witnessed this incident and we know that Roy did not rape Sharon. This is the beginning in a series of similar events orchestrated by Sharon. Sharon is a disturbed young woman with malicious intent who craves attention.
“So I was raped! It happened six weeks ago! What do you expect me to do? Observe a year of mourning?”
Sharon’s roommate Paula questions her evening date so soon after her “incident”. Sharon has agreed to go on a date with co-worker Dick Owens. When Dick shows up she initially asks him to wait for her on the couch. A short time later she invites him to wait for her upstairs. Sharon arranges a mirror strategically to reflect her naked body as she is getting dressed. Awkward, dull Dick tells Sharon about his promotion at work but is seriously distracted by a naked Sharon reflected in the mirror. Sharon soon takes things to the next level resulting in her standard cry of rape. Dick is so shaken up by the incident he never shows up for work again.
Sharon initiates a sexual encounter with her roommate Paula. Sharon apologizes to Paula for her previous bitchy comments. Paula offers to give Sharon a massage and complaining it is too warm takes all her clothes off. When things begin to get heavy Sharon pulls her rape stunt. This results in the film’s most infamous line as featured in the Something Weird promo reel “I may be a bitch but I’ll never be a butch.”
Lowell Carter is a brand new hire at Sharon’s office. Sharon wastes no time hooking up with Lowell. Sharon and Lowell’s relationship almost seems healthy initially but that does not last long. Sharon begins the tease game but unlike the other men in the story Lowell is plagued with Sharon nightmares. Lowell has a sadomasochistic dream that he has Sharon tied up. He rips off Sharon’s clothing and whips her relentlessly. But even in his dream Sharon takes charge. The tables are turned and soon it is he who is tied up and being tortured by Sharon. At work Lowell fantasizes about him and Sharon running through a field laughing happily and Sharon stripping for him in a bar. He is obsessed with Sharon. Finally the time comes when Sharon agrees to give herself to him completely. Sharon’s modus operandi of course kicks in at the last-minute and a cry of rape is uttered that drives Lowell completely and utterly mad. Lowell has a monster-sized meltdown!
Lowell’s meltdown makes the paper and Sharon’s boss suggests she take the rest of the afternoon off. Sharon goes to sit in the park and for a few minutes I thought there might have been some regret. Alas, she attracts the attention of Tony as he is walking by. Sharon has a coffee with Tony and the two meet later to go dancing. The evening’s dancing concludes with Sharon and Tony getting hot and heavy but this time things end a little differently for Sharon.
A Smell of Honey A Swallow of Brine or as I like to call it The Girl Who Cried Rape was surprisingly naughty. Personally I think the film qualifies as a roughie as much as a sexploitation flick. For starters there is a lengthy and very well done sadomasochistic dream/fantasy segment. People die, go to jail and get beaten at various points in the film. Sharon Winters is one of the nastiest and most malicious females I have run into in sixties cinema. I have watched hundreds of horror movies from the decade so I think that is saying a lot. Granted, sixties horror is not exactly jam-packed with female antagonists. Sharon gets great pleasure from the undoing of others. It literally makes her laugh. She has no regrets about the results of her teasing. Teasing is really the wrong word though. Once you are making out naked you are rather past teasing. In all cases, Sharon is very much the aggressor. A Smell of Honey A Swallow of Brine is definitely exploitative and is one of the grittier films I seen from 1966. The Something Weird titles I’ve watched definitely get naughtier as the years through the decade progressed. I actually enjoyed every aspect of this film but particularly Stacey Walker who plays Sharon Winters. She is fantastic! She is so perfect as the catty, manipulative, nasty, sexy Queen Bitch Sharon Winters. I loved her expressions and her reactions and her laugh. I loved her abundant overflowing confidence. She has become one of my b-movie heroines! Sharon is a heinous person and Stacey Walker makes her so fucking watchable! I specifically added the Something Weird title The Notorious Daughter of Fanny Hill because of her presence in that film as Miss Kissey Hill! A standing ovation also goes to Sam Melville who plays Lowell Carter. His segment with Stacey, the film’s lengthiest, is definitely the Pièce de résistance of A Smell of Honey A Swallow of Brine. Melville is well matched with Walker and they have great chemistry. It is lots of fun watching poor Lowell’s massive meltdown! I included a small photo gallery below of Lowell’s meltdown for your viewing pleasure. I really dug the music used through the film too. My only minor complaint is the ending was too rushed. I was very satisfied by the finale but I would have liked to have seen more graphic detail of how it went down. While no fault of the filmmaker, I sure do wish the picture quality of the Something Weird print had been better. There were a lot of scratches on the film and the darker scenes were quite pixellated. A Smell of Honey A Swallow of Brine has definitely been one of my favourite viewings from the Something Weird catalog and it comes highly recommended.
Director Byron Mabe (credited here as B. Ron Elliott) was a busy man through the sixties and seventies. He directed ten and acted in 38 films; many of them are Something Weird titles including one I watched last week called The Defilers.
Dungeon Rating: 4.5/5
Directed By: Byron Mabe (aka B. Ron Elliott)
Starring: Stacey Walker, Sam Melville, Bob Todd, Sharon Carr, Michael Wright, Michael O’Kelly, Larry Jones, Linda Gearhart
Lowell Carter (Sam Melville) goes storming out of Sharon Winters (Stacey Walker) bedroom into the city streets. Everywhere he looks he is reminded of Sharon and sex! I have NO CLUE why the pretty black woman’s face reminded him of Sharon and sex but they flash it a few times!
For even more images from A Smell of Honey A Swallow of Brine click here.