The Swinging Cheerleaders (1974): 2-Disc Special Edition [Blu-ray/DVD]

swingingcheerleaders_blurayWith how light hearted and sexual “The Cheerleaders” movie series is, I’m surprised how dramatic Jack Hill’s sequel “The Swinging Cheerleaders” is. It has its sexually charged moments, but it’s very much a sterner dramedy about a group of beautiful cheerleaders walking in to trouble. As a means of writing an article for a University paper, young Kate joins the local cheerleading squad in hopes of finding some sort of scandal for publishing. When the local coach and school dean becomes involved with gamblers and gangsters to rig football games, events go from bad to worse when Kate decides to alert the squad.

Meanwhile the other cheerleaders on the squad are dealing with their own problems and personal turmoil. There’s the beautiful Andrea, who is tricked in to becoming a part of a gang bang after refusing to sleep with her boyfriend to keep her virginity, and young Lisa who learns the hard way that the man she’s dating is involved with another woman. From there the movie jumps back and forth through various sub-plots and culminates in to the ultimate central plot where the football team and cheerleaders learn about the illegal gambling and decide to take matters in to their own hands.

“The Swinging Cheerleaders” is more of a drama than a comedy, but has a slew of really entertaining and fun moments, including when one of the football players decides to avenge young Kate, and the climactic battle between football players and crooked cops that ensue in a warehouse. The legendary Jack Hill’s direction is very much evident in the film, displaying his unique sense of pacing, his great use of the limited budget, and his keen understanding of the youth of the period and its penchant for rebellion. “The Swinging Cheerleaders” is a tonal shift in the series, but a damn fine drama comedy with a great sense of humor.

Featured from Arrow Video is a brand new restoration, offering up a crisp new version of the film. The new release comes in both DVD and Blu-Ray presentations, along with a reversible sleeve, and a neat collector’s booklet which include liner notes, vintage articles about the film, and full color stills with all of the cheerleaders present.

Among the extras, there’s a great nineteen minute Q&A with director Jack Hill, and actors Colleen Camp and the beautiful Rosanne Katon (my favorite of the cheerleaders!) recorded at the New Beverly Cinema in 2007. There’s an audio commentary with writer-director Jack Hill which was recorded specifically for the Arrow Video release, and a brand new interview with director Jack Hill. Finally, there are two archive interviews with cinematographer Alfred Taylor, and another archive interview with Jack Hill and Johnny Legend. Finally, there a small series of TV spots for the film.