Working Girls, The (1974)

Working Girls, The (1974)

“Hired? For what? I don’t even know what business you’re in!”

An itinerant blonde (Sarah Kennedy) arrives in Los Angeles and is given a place to stay by a sign painter (Laurie Rose) whose roommate (Lynne Guthrie) works as a waitress in a strip club. After turning the tables on a woman (Mary Beth Hughes) who’s hired her to knock off her husband, Kennedy accepts an offer by an eccentric businessman (Solomon Sturges) to be his conversation-partner; meanwhile, Guthrie dates a mobster (Mark Thomas) while moving up the career ladder at her job by both stripping and looking after the club when its manager (Gene Elman) is on vacation; and Rose falls for an itinerant singer (Ken Del Conte) who’s secretly a jewel fence.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Feminism and Women’s Issues
  • Stephanie Rothman Films

Stephanie Rothman’s final film as a director was this lighthearted exploitation flick about a trio of sexy young women seeking love, jobs, friendship, and independence in Los Angeles. As in Rothman’s previous female-centric films (The Student Nurses and Group Marriage), the protagonists here possess a strong feminist sensibility, demonstrating their ability to survive and thrive in a male-dominated universe by sticking together and supporting one another unconditionally — i.e., Rose immediately offers Kennedy a free place to stay; Kennedy willingly allows Rose to “steal” her one-night-stand (Ken Del Conte) as her lover; a colleague (Cassandra Peterson) teaches Guthrie the tricks of the stripping trade; etc. Meanwhile, Kennedy — who initially strikes one as merely a “dumb blonde” — quickly flouts our expectations by demonstrating a strong sense of logic and head for business. While its weak ensemble storyline ultimately makes this one of Rothman’s lesser efforts, it’s certainly worth a look by followers of slyly subversive feminist cinema.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Good use of authentic L.A.-area locales

Must See?
No, though it’s worth a one-time look.


One thought on “Working Girls, The (1974)

  1. First viewing. Skip it.

    Director Rothman tries her hand at comedy – and it’s very trying indeed. If the goal was to blend occasionally mildly amusing fun with very tepid sexploitation…then, mission accomplished.

    I might have given a thought to this film in feminist terms if I thought it was clever or more intelligently constructed. But, since it’s not really either one of those…then, bleh.

    Note: The one joke I did like is the ‘hired killer’ bit. That’s about all.

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