Jim Clark, 1978
Starring: Bambi Woods, Christie Ford, Robert Kerman, Robin Byrd
Though Debbie Does Dallas is known as one of the classic porn films of the ‘70s alongside The Opening of Misty Beethoven, The Devil in Miss Jones, Behind the Green Door, and others, it sadly does not live up to its reputation. Or its title, as Debbie does not in fact go to Dallas or have sex with any of its residents. Instead, the titular Debbie is captain of her high school cheerleading squad and is accepted to try out for the prestigious Dallas team, the Texas Cowgirls (a spoof of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders). Her parents don’t support this, so Debbie and the rest of the cheerleaders are forced to go elsewhere to raise funds for Debbie’s trip to Dallas.
To no one’s great surprise, the girls realize they can’t raise much money in two weeks doing odd jobs, so Debbie and five of her cheerleader friends resort to exchanging sexual favors for cash from a variety of gentlemen around town. The sex honestly isn’t that exciting, particularly compared to other, more imaginative films from the period. There is a nice group sex scene in the school showers, though much of the film's action is focused on Debbie and her lecherous boss, Mr. Greenfield. He convinces her to give him some mild sexual favors in exchange for money, eventually resulting in a conclusion featuring Debbie’s only true sex scene: oral and vaginal sex with Mr. Greenfield in a few different positions. There are a few tame threesomes, lots of oral sex, a bit of masturbation, and a brief scene of anal sex with one of the other cheerleaders. The ending is sadly just a scene of Debbie having sex with Mr. Greenfield; we never learn whether or not she makes it to the audition or how many people she has sex with in Dallas.
Part of Debbie’s fame is that the spoof of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders resulted in a law suit due to a trademark violation of the film’s cheerleaders wearing similar costumes as the Cowboys Cheerleaders in both the film and on the famous promotional poster. The case, known as The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders v. Pussycat Cinema, undoubtedly would have made a more entertaining film. The DCC even managed to get the film banned from being shown in a few New York theaters, which was helped along by some obscenity charges.
The acting is pretty atrocious and the film unfortunately lacks a compelling central star. Debbie herself is played by the vacant-eyed Bambi Woods, who either can’t seem to remember her dialogue or intentionally gives the most boring and deadpan delivery in any porn film. She doesn’t have a whole lot of sex in the film and “disappeared” (aka retired) a few years after Debbie was made, leading to her mystifying popularity. There are some decent performances from Robert Kerman as her lecherous teacher, and porn regulars Eric Edwards, Merle Michaels, and Arcadia Lake. Though the plot is pretty fast moving, the cheerleaders aren’t memorable and it’s difficult to keep the characters straight sometimes.
Unsurprisingly, Debbie inspired many, many sequels. There are 7 or more follow up films to Debbie Does Dallas, including the wonderfully titled Debbie Does the Devil in Dallas, and spin offs like Debbie Does New Orleans, Debbie Does Wall Street, Debbie Does Iowa, Debbie Goes to College, Debbie Does 'Em All, and many more. There was also a misguided musical version that made it to Off-Broadway, Debbie Does Dallas: The Musical. Debbie itself is only worth watching if you love ‘70s camp or if you have a perpetual hard-on for cheerleaders. It is almost unforgivably cheesy and doesn’t have nearly enough sex scenes to make up for the times when we have to listen to Debbie talk. Jim Clark (Screw Magazine editor) doesn’t do a very competent job with directing, either.
Media Blasters released a remastered version of the film on 2-disc DVD as part of their Raincoat Theater label, though I believe it is out of print. This includes a restored, uncut hardcore print of the film, plus a shorter, softcore, edited for TV version. There are a number of trailers from other sex films from the period, as well as two audio commentaries, though both are more about the adult film industry in the ‘70s and less specifically about Debbie Does Dallas. The first commentary is from porn actress Robin Byrd, who appears here in a bit role. The second is from film historian Charles Berstene.