Judge Tom Becker, DVD Verdict-- Streetwalkin' is a strange little soup. In its opening minutes, it seems fairly clear that we're headed for Cautionary Tale territory, with the naïve and fragile runaways seduced by the sinister Duke. The credits roll--with shots of the old, sleazy, and sometimes missed mid-80's Times Square while the hard-soul bit of '80s funk of a theme song plays--and we're certain that the next scene will be of poor Cookie being coerced into some bit of sexual degradation by the now-revealed-villainous Duke.
But no. Cookie's OK strolling the Minnesota Strip and acting like head cheerleader to Duke's football hero. She's taken on the "mom" role with Tim; the other working girls and street denizens form a scuzzy, yet functional, community. Street life is just shown as another way of life, and director and co-writer Joan Freeman takes a refreshingly nonjudgmental approach to the subject.
Freeman and company get a lot right here. The low budget--this is from Roger Corman's Concorde Films--meant that the crew couldn't build sets and had to shoot in real locations; thus, the gritty mid-80s Times Square/42nd Street milieu is front and center, making the film an authentic snapshot of scuzzy times gone by. While some of the sex-for-cash scenes are played kind of for laughs, there's nothing outrageous or ridiculous about them. It's edgy as opposed to exciting, more frank than sensationalized, though the requisite violence and nudity are there. Save for the pre-credit sequence in the bus station, the entire film takes place over the course of one night, making it sort of a Hooker Graffiti.
The thriller aspect is what keeps the film moving, but the well-developed characters make it interesting. Almost all the main actors went on to successful careers, a rarity in exploitation films; not surprisingly, then, the performances are quite good.
The disc, from Shout! Factory, offers up a decent anamorphic transfer but a kind of weak stereo audio track. As a supplement, there's a commentary from Freeman and producer and co-writer Robert Alden, who is also Freeman's husband.
-Full review at dvdverdict.com