It’s Whats Up Front That Counts, says June Wilkinson
Hot Skin and Cold Cash begins with Shelly lifelessly starfishing herself for the attorney before she begins her trolling for johns. Later, it’s a photoshoot in the hotel room of a shy, foreign tourist; initiating a nervous male virgin for $15; playing party escort for a swinger at a local neighborhood orgy; getting picked up by a husband in search of a threesome with his reluctant wife (“I’m a finger snapping, toe tapping, fun loving old tomcat!”); and, in the gloomiest episode, winding up with a creepy looking trick who turns out to be a priest (!) stupidly trying to mend her ways. No way, padre!
“I’m a hooker! A prostitute! And when I finish my nightly rounds, the sun is starting to come up!” Shelly hooks it at a mere $25 a throw to pay off her jailed husband’s lawyer and to support an unseen child. She says she needs two grand a month just for that. Floaters make up her client base: the lonely tourists and nightcrawlers who skim the grimey pavements of Times Square in search of put-out-for-pay women.
A better title would be “Cold Skin and Low Cash.” BARRY MAHON’s nocturnal case study of a Times Square streetwalker is the ultimate example of moody slice-of-life made-in Manhattan sexploitation and a melancholy mid-sixties time capsule of neon lit New York streets and now-vanished stores, billboards, and theaters. All of this in enjoyably grim black and white photography.
Mahon scored a ten in casting VICTORIA ASTOR as Shelly. A true stunner with a very sexy, stacked body, Miss Astor is one of the best looking girls in any of his pictures. The introspective, often funny script makes it clear that she gets her kicks by selling herself on the streets to any twisto who’s got her fee (instead of being a call girl for a higher class clientele), and is prostituting herself for more than cash.