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Tricks of the Trade

Tricks of the Trade(1968)

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After five years together, Fred and Salina Claret find that their marriage is foundering; Salina's interfering mother, Minnie, creates tension in the household, and Fred's sexual interest in his wife dwindles. Fred leaves and wanders into a Greenwich Village bar where he meets Marcy and Stud Perkins, an unconventional couple who invite him to their apartment. After smoking marijuana, Fred watches the couple's sex play and joins them in a threesome. Spurning Stud's homosexual advances, he makes love with Marcy. The next day, Fred visits psychiatrist Pauline Flood to discuss his marital difficulties, and he confesses that he would have welcomed Stud's advances. In the meantime, Stud and Marcy, actually members of a ring of degenerates, make plans to blackmail Fred; they have taken photos of Stud's homosexual embrace and of Fred's encounter with Marcy. Minnie insists that Salina investigate Fred's absences; Salina loses her way in the East Village and is raped by two hoodlums. When Fred next visits Dr. Flood, she offers her body in order to help him gain confidence. Hopeful that his marriage can be saved, Fred returns home and throws his mother-in-law out. Later, Stud shows Fred the incriminating photos and forces him to attend a secret orgy. Confronted by a demand for $5,000, Fred attempts to escape, but he is captured by the group and beaten beyond recognition. Six months later, Minnie suggests to Salina that Fred has run off with another woman. Meanwhile, Fred wanders aimlessly along the Bowery, a victim of amnesia.