The Tale of Tiffany Lust is one of the more enigmatic adult films made in New York in the 1980s – yet boasts some of the most famous names of the era, and was rumored to involve the most celebrated of directors, Radley Metzger.
The Rialto Report recently unearthed a series of previously unseen documents and production stills from the production, which we present here for the first time.
‘The Tale of Tiffany Lust’ (1981)
When Radley Metzger finished making five hardcore films under the pseudonym Henry Paris, he decided to stop producing more explicit fare for two reasons: First, he felt he’d said all he could in the hardcore medium. Second, he was offered a big budget mainstream film to direct – a dream he’d entertained for years – a remake of the classic The Cat and the Canary (1978). Made in London with an impressive cast including Olivia Hussey, Edward Fox and Honor Blackman, ‘The Cat and the Canary’ failed to become the breakout success Radley hoped for. As the 1970s came to a close, his career was again at a crossroads.
Radley continued to receive substantial offers to return to hardcore films, but he repeatedly turned them down as he didn’t want to risk any further mainstream offers from coming his way. But in 1980, he received a lucrative proposal from a French film producer, Wilfred Dodd, and his company Gold Productions, to make a hardcore film called ‘Les Aventures de Dolly’. He was finally persuaded by the fact that despite having creative control over the production, his name would not feature in the credits (the directorial credit would go to prolific French filmmaker Gérard Kikoïne – who was happy to take credit).
Part of the deal required Radley to use a team of six French crew, including Gérard Kikoïne as advisor and Gérard Lobeau as cinematographer. The French producing team also wanted Radley to employ a French actress as the film’s star to draw in a French audience. Brigitte Lahaie was first hired, then ditched in favor of Dominique Saint Claire, a less well-known adult film actress, who at the time was working as an escort in Paris.
Radley wrote the script under the name Jake Barnes (changing the name of the film along the way of ‘The Tale of Tiffany Lust’), then assembled what was arguably the best cast he worked with in the adult field, including Vanessa Del Rio, Veronica Hart, Desiree Cousteau, Samantha Fox, Ron Jeremy, Dave Ruby and George Payne. He also recruited Chris Covino to serve as his assistant director.
Radley shot ‘The Tale of Tiffany Lust’ in May 1980 at a number of locations in Manhattan – including the swingers’ club Plato’s Retreat.
Plato Retreat’s owner, Larry Levenson, fed the cast as well as provided a filming location
When Plato’s Retreat was still in the Ansonia Hotel
Radley directs Dominique Saint Claire
Chris Covino served as assistant director
George Payne (left) preps for a scene
George Payne (right) in action
Cinematographer, Gerard Loubeau
The traditionally shirtless Radley Metzger
Radley and the crew break for lunch
Radley guiding George Payne (left)
Dominique Saint Claire and a crew member
Radley with Vanessa Del Rio and Dave Ruby
Radley works with Vanessa Del Rio
Ron Jeremy jumps in
Desiree Cousteau (right) helps the crew prep
Desiree Cousteau gets into costume
Ron Hudd, Desiree Cousteau, and cinematographer Gerard Loubeau
Vanessa Del Rio release at $500/day
Veronica Hart release at $700/day
The bill for the French talent
Invoice sent by Radley to Wilfrid Dodd
French advertising materials
U.S. distribution agreement with Bunny Atlas of Bunnco, Inc.
U.S. box cover “presented” by Henry Paris
Invoice sent to France by Radley’s company Audubon Films
Yes more unpublished, history-rewriting research…… don’t know how you manage to keep the bar so high, but don’t stop the amazing work!!!
Thank you so much Rialto fan!
Amazing photos and revelations… what was Gerard Kikoine’s exact role on the film… just a consultant/stage-hand?
Does it bother anyone else that the poster and the “10 Oct 1981 (Japan)” seems to be incorrect on its IMDB page? Seems like between all of us we could get that updated, no?
Saw this at the Pussycat in Times Square in 1981. Remember it being better than average and that the style of it should have been a dead giveaway of the director. Fascinating, as usual, background story…also a very Metzger move that he gives the leading lady a stage name that includes the city in which it was filmed.
I also recall being put off by Desiree’s little business with the beer bottle, but hey, it ain’t Metzger without a sexual quirk or two.
Thank you RR for this timely feature . I was only watching this last week!! The standout moment for me was the unheralded Dave Ruby not only gave Ron Jeremy a run for his money in cockmanship but delivered a bigger load.
Vanessa del Rio was the ‘impartial adjudicator’ in both instances and uttered the immortal words about ‘making her sit up straighter’!
Fascinating,as always. I’m curious as to who got distribution rights in the states Bunnco didn’t distribute it.
Thank you for keeping us enthralled. Great work!
Wow–once again grand work! All best wishes!
We appreciate it Dave!
“Ron Jeremy jumps in” – pun intended?
Another fascinating piece.
Another fascinating piece, indeed. It is only by seeing production photographs like these that I realize how close the camera operators got to the “action”. Performing with the camera sometimes only inches away does not strike me as easy.
That was an interesting business arrangement: get paid but do not get the credit. Though he did not bring as much style to movies as Metzger, Gerard Kikoïne was more than capable of creating stylish adult films. Watches this year of Chaudes Adolescentes and Adorable Lola have increased my appreciation for Kikoïne’s work. Cameraman Gerard Loubeau co-directed the ambitious Summer in the Country (Secrets d’adolescentes) before working on Tiffany Lust.
What’s Gerard Loubeau doing, sneaking up on Cathy Stewart like that?
Everyone wanted to leave porn but they kept pulling them back in.