SUBMISSION (1969) – The Dungeon Review!
I had seen a trailer for Submission and was interested in the film just based on that. It was pushed up the queue after seeing the film’s lead actress Jennifer Welles in Career Bed. As an added bonus it was part of a Something Weird triple feature DVD that also featured Joe Sarno’s Vibrations. I have loved the hell out of Sarno’s stuff and Vibrations was one of my co-host David’s favourite Sarno flicks. Check out his thoughts on Vibrations (1968) here. I have been very pleased with most of my SWV purchases but this one is the crown jewel. There is very little dialog throughout Submission; not a single word is spoken until eight minutes in. It is a slow but steadily paced drama, that is disturbing, sad, strange and enthralling. Jennifer Welles plays the lead role of Vickie in the film. Vickie is infantine, innocent and a touch simple. She is surrounded by dolls, musical carousels and candy. Although child-like Vickie is also a woman with sexual desires. Vickie is kept in “Submission” by her boyfriend Barry. Fucking Barry; his arrogance, his patronizing, his entitlement, his voice, his violence, his smirk, everything about Barry made me want to spit. He controls every aspect of Vickie’s life; thinking for her, speaking for her and making her crawl and beg for candy bars like a dog. Submission focuses on one particular event in the duos life but is peppered with flashbacks that fill us in on the character’s pasts. Submission is one of the most beautiful, disarming, hypnotic and completely unique films that I could not say enough good things about; but I will try.
Vickie’s child-like wonder of everything around her makes her endearing and yet empathetic. She goes to a candy store and enthusiastically chooses candy bars. When she pays for the chocolate she pulls a large hair ribbon and some garbage out of her pocket before she pulls out her money which she keeps folded in a handkerchief. She can not resist going into a pet store upon seeing a monkey in the window. And then again I can not resist going into a pet store myself!
Barry is an oppressive, cruel hustler not to mention a voyeur, rapist and murderer.
Vickie has become involved with Barry who keeps her submissive with toys, candy and sex. Barry with Vickie in tow is planning on taking a job with a wealthy fashion designer Ms. Staples who he intends on murdering and robbing.
“Vickie is a little tired from the trip. Would you mind if she went up to bed now?”
Barry speaks for Vickie often and tries to avoid her interaction with their “mark” as much as possible. Instead of going straight to bed however Vickie decides to take a bubble bath and Ms. Staples and Barry walk in on her. A scornful look from Barry let’s Vickie no he is displeased.
Vickey masturbates with a lit candle. This is at least the fifth film I have seen during my Something Weird Video feature where women have masturbated with candles. Although this was the first time the candle was lit.
Who the hell is this? Seriously?! Who in the hell is this. It is a nice looking scene and sexy too, but who are these people? That is DEFINITELY not Barry unless Barry had reconstructive face surgery. It is never explained, so I guess they are just people who Barry watched having sex? I have no idea.
Also…Can anyone confirm for me who that actress is? She looks so familiar!
Vickie brings Ms. Staples breakfast in bed. She tells Vickie that she could be a model and plays with her hair.
“I like it very much, but I don’t think Barry would.”
“Barry, I like her, I don’t think we should.”
“Cut it out huh?”
Vickie rips the head from her clown toy and throws it at Barry and than yanks hard on his shirt. “I’m going to get you for that” Barry warns and Vickie in response flees the room.
They find a projector and some film and watch Ms. Staples engaging in a lesbian orgy.
Vickie comforts Ms. Staples after Barry assaults her. The two engage in a wee bit of frolicking.
Vickie does the buttons up on her blouse as she contemplates Barry’s cruelty.
The finale is magnificent and I loved the final couple of shots which initially focuses on Vickie and then Ms. Staples.
Submission is a story that focuses on two seriously dysfunctional characters. One lovable and empathetic infantine and one arrogant, predatory and criminal. Their dysfuction is what they have in common. Ms. Staples is just another one of Barry’s marks, or so it seems. Ms. Staples has issues of her own but she sure does sum Barry up in a hurry; and then again it doesn’t take Freud to pick up on this guy’s asshole vibe. Flashbacks are scattered throughout Submission of Barry raping other women as well as the details surrounding their previous “mark”. A big part of what made Submission so appealing was the cast but especially the talented Jennifer Welles. Jennifer Welles is perfect as the child-like Vickie full of wonder and sexuality. Welles is a beautiful woman and a fascination to watch; she captures your attention and delivers a wallop without speaking a word. Gary Judis who plays Barry and June Adams who plays Ms. Staples are also very well cast; I was surprised that this was the only film on both Judis and Adam’s resumes. This one is all about Ms. Welles though. Submission is quite unusual and the mood and atmosphere is intense, sexual and perverse. You never know what might happen in the next scene. Submission’s peculiar, daunting music adds a curiously effective vibe to the picture. I’ve never seen anything quite like Submission or more accurately, I have never experienced anything quite like Submission. The film’s lack of dialog makes it a very visceral experience. The imaginative visuals are a real trip. When I use the world hypnotic I am speaking literally; the combination of the images, the pace and the music put me under a spell. I have watched Submission three times in the last week and I look forward to visiting it again in the future. With the exception of the seemingly random strangers having sex Submission is perfection. Submission gets my highest of recommendations; a perfect score.
Dungeon Rating: 5/5
Directed By: Allen Savage
Starring: Jennifer Welles, June Adams, Sue Beaudry, Sheila Britt, João Fernandes, Gloria, Suzzan Landau, Sharon Miller, Natalie Shilvers, Kristen Steen