Dir: John Woodward
Starring: Bo Hopkins, Maxine Bahns, Jeff Meek, Bellary Darden-Davis

This docudrama, condensing 700 pages of court testimony over three days down into ninety minutes, is of particular significance in Phoenix. Some legislators here have a strange interest in clamping down on sex-oriented businesses - last year there was even a bill proposed, making it an offence to get an erection in one! Any supporters should be made to watch this, depicting the trial of one Texas exotic dancer for indecent exposure and "lewd conduct", following a police sting operation. The distillation has a venomous effect: the police and prosecutors come out looking stupid, crass, inept and borderline corrupt (that single evening racked up a bar- and dance-tab of over $7,000), and there is a astonising amount of stuff here which you'd swear is just too fabulously surreal and funny to be true. [Memo to self: do not get involved with the American justice system. Ever.]

With barely any footage outside the court-room, and not much room for directorial style, it's fortunate there's easily enough in the script to keep things continually fascinating. It is undeniably selective and, even to this hard-core libertarian, comes across as too polemic - as the prosecutor points out, the accused is not Mother Theresa. Yet you can see why there's anger: the raid in question netted thirty dancers, but the trials resulted in thirty acquitals. Regardless, the police in Houston still spend $2.5m annually on - if you'll pardon the pun - busting topless clubs while, as the film points out, half of all rapes there go unsolved. It's hard to deny this is justifiable grounds for righteous annoyance.


Houston's finest in action
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