The Sin Syndicate
Time for another Findlay film! This time, the Scene takes you right to the early days, when Michael Findlay was taking unfinished or unreleased films and filling them in with great scenes featuring some familiar faces. The Sin Syndicate is seriously of the New York Roughie scene; dirty, lurid, and (If the one making the film has at least a good eye) sometimes sexy – Crime Nudie Noir. Released by Joseph Brenner in 1965, this might have just played the usual round of Grindhouses, but in retrospect it offered a hint of Findlay’s talents that would only move onto more unique happenings.
In true Roughie style, it all starts with something going all too wrong. Apparently, someone rubbed the Syndicate the wrong way, ready to snitch to the Racket Cops, but with the Boss quick to find out, some Discipline is in order. The gang who filled up the missing minutes in the famed Satan’s Bed (The film using an unfinished flick with Yoko Ono filled up with a gang ready to cause trouble) are here to create tension, with a good pick of Stock Music being used and voice overs galore, with “You’re gonna make a rotten witness!” being the standout line.
The film then takes you to (By way of some film that was picked up by Brenner but possibly never officially released) a look into the Syndicate. There’s a new pick up ready to be initiated into the group, although they did not know that she was going to be a snitch. After checking out one of the parties, and a rather blah attempt at something exotic looking, things move to a Senate hearing…all with voice overs that don’t really match the mouths at all.
Oh well, it is only something to fill up the screens…although some of the sights look very nice indeed.
Welcome to the sad story of the racket of White Slavery. Women promised the good life only to work, turned out on the street, and usually entertaining some “Very Important People.” This is the story of the Zero Girls, and it may have been the run of the mill New York Grindhouse, but with Findlay, the film will be a little more tasty with his choice of some very familiar faces doing some nice Striptease and some newsreel footage trying to illustrate the stories for this film. Yolanda Moreno shaking a Tail Feather, June Roberts in the shower, Judy Alder as the Average Lady being caught up and seen by the Syndicate as someone who needs to be taught a lesson, Darlene Bennett, British War footage and Cuban Revolution footage? It may not be a classic, but it is a good example of the warming up of the Findlay style before moving onto more solid films.
Dolores (Moreno) tells her story of being brought over from Cuba right when the “Revolution” was happening, and the stage scene is pretty good, including a Tail Feather shake that was pretty much the norm then. The standout tale of the four, however, is the second one with Lorna’s history of being just any average lady from any street USA brought into this seedy world. as Lorna, Judy Alder actually shows some good acting talent as her character winds up being one who only wanted to do the stage shows but asked to do more leading up to the Dramatic moment when she receives the Syndicate’s warning in the back of a truck.
Yes, I actually meant it when I said Dramatic – The scene really captured a strong Crime Noir style, and although the screams seemed to be coming from nowhere at times, they still work in giving the viewer a very uneasy feeling. It’s to be said that this is one tough scene to get through unless one is familiar with what this kind of film is all about. Considering that this was a time when Findlay was not yet a name in Exploitation circles, it would be logical to think that there would be those surprised when they found out how strong of a scene he can create (among the only things just as strong in the NYC scene were the Olga films), but in retrospect it would seem that he made sure that they were alright with what was in the story knowing that many recognizable faces would appear in a number of his films through the years.
Candy (Roberts) is someone from England, but sadly her story is not as interesting as it’s padded out with plenty of War footage, although it is “Fleshed Up’ by a shower scene with Alder. Darlene Bennett, mainly seen in the films of Barry Mahon and Doris Wishman, plays Monica, someone who got into the ring through her own husband, and has a nice moment acting with Micheal Findlay near the end.
This has plenty of room for improvement – Several of the stage scenes have quite a bit of empty space from the top of the head to the top of the screen, the dubbing is just planted in there, the editing can get all over the place, and overall it’s more into showing off the ladies than getting into the story. Still, this showed the potential that Findlay would live up to through the years and has a very sleazy feeling that only a few of that scene could successfully capture. It’s recommended mainly to those looking for all of his film that survived into the video age, and also a nice way to kill some time – It’s on a DVD with Sin Magazine and She Came on the Bus.