This rediscovered camp gem is a classic example of the lesbian exploitation genre, also affectionately known as Dykesploitation. Lovers Marsha (Bee Tompkins) and Terri (Sue Bernard) share a contented life together before dissatisfaction invades their wood-paneled So-Cal apartment and Terri runs off to have a “normal” married life in the suburbs with Ken. Marsha follows suit and proceeds to seduce the whole town—or, at least the fairer half of it—pining for Terri all the while. Described by Variety upon its release as “one more variation on the Lesbian thing,” this wildly entertaining melodrama stars cult figure Sue Bernard (Playboy’s Miss December 1966 and co-star of Russ Meyer’s Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!) and Dolly Read (of Meyer’s Beyond the Valley of the Dolls) in a supporting role. Unearthed and preserved by queer film historian Jenni Olson, That Tender Touch offers much more than steamy surface-level pleasure, it also stands as a valuable Stonewall-era lesbian snapshot for a contemporary audience.
Official Selection: London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival
Selected and presented by queer film historian Jenni Olson