Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Best and Most Memorable Film Kisses of All Time

 The Kiss (1896) (aka The May Irwin Kiss)

First Screen Kiss

Although regarded as "disgusting" and scandalous and prompting demands for censorship, May Irwin and John Rice re-enacted a lingering kiss for Thomas Edison's film camera in this 20-second long short, from their 1895 Broadway stage play The Widow Jones.

It was the first film ever made of a couple kissing in cinematic history, and became the most popular film produced that year by Edison's film company (it was filmed at Edison's Black Maria studio, in West Orange, NJ).

A Fool There Was (1915)

First Vamp Kiss

The original vamp and first movie sex goddess, the full-bosomed Theda Bara, starred in a number of early silents for the Fox Film Corporation - her first lurid, slinky vamp appearance (and first lead role) was in this Fox "psychological" melodrama.

She portrayed a worldly, predatory woman who stole a wayward married man (Mr. Victor Benoit) from his wife and child by luring him with kisses ("Kiss me, my Fool!"). The catchphrase later became popularized as: "Kiss me, you fool!"

Behind the Screen (1916)

'Gay' Kiss

In this two-reeler's infamous 'gay' scene, hired film studio worker David (Charlie Chaplin) kissed a young girl (Edna Purviance) who was dressed in masculine clothing (as a masquerading way to find work).

They upset his brutish and burly foreman Goliath (Eric Campbell) who believed they were homosexual and teased them mercilessly by acting 'prissy' to mock them.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921)

Tango Kiss
This long war epic from Metro Pictures, one of the biggest silent film hits ever made, featured Argentinian Julio's (Rudolph Valentino) sexy (but forbidden) tango dance and kissing scene in a seedy, smoke-filled Argentinian cantina near Buenos Aires.   

Greed (1924)

Shameful Dentist's Chair Anesthetized Kiss

In this early scene in Erich Von Stroheim's epic tale, self-taught quack dentist McTeague (Gibson Gowland) lustfully looked down at the unconscious, sedated face of his patient - ether-anesthetized, helpless Trina (ZaSu Pitts) in his dental chair. His eyes were fixed on her and he lustfully bent down toward her - but then he held back and resisted the strong temptation and impulse to molest her (inherited from his degenerate hereditary line).

He took out his drill to begin working, but still appeared disturbed: (Subtitle) "But below the fine fabric bred of his mother, ran the foul stream of hereditary evil...the taint of generations given through his father." He smelled her hair and her perfume, and eagerly leaned over and could not resist kissing her full on the mouth while she was under the influence of the ether. His agitated pet bird jumped and hopped about in its cage in a corner of the office.

At the conclusion of the shameful kiss, he pulled back, grabbed his hair in distress, and continued working.

Sherlock, Jr. (1924)

Imitative Kiss

This classic silent comedy included a scene of lovelorn projectionist and flustered 'detective' Sherlock, Jr. (Buster Keaton) kissing his sweetheart/girlfriend (Kathryn McGuire) in the projection booth.

He was following and imitating the cues of the leading-man screen actor kissing his girl on the big screen.

The Big Parade (1925)

Kisses with French-Speaking Peasant Girl During WWI

King Vidor's influential war film, the highest grossing silent film in cinematic history, told of the experiences of a group of US doughboys who were sent to France to fight in WWI (The Great War), where one of them found love with a French girl.

In a marvelous, fully pantomimed, classic sequence - (one of the most famous scenes in silent film) - filmed in a single, uninterrupted take after they sat down on a bench beside her front steps, American soldier Jim Apperson (John Gilbert) introduced his French-speaking peasant girlfriend named Melisande (Renee Adoree) to American chewing gum with a lesson on how to stretch the gum out of one's mouth.

To her surprise, she swallowed the stick of gum with one large gulp and then politely refused his offer of a second piece. With broken French, he boldly and awkwardly attempted to tell her of his love, and she reciprocated the attempt in broken English, and resisted his advances for a kiss.

However, during their eight o'clock date that evening, when they both retreated to the wine cellar, in candlelight, he pointed out what he wanted to say to her about his love for her from his French primer. She beamed a smile back at him and they both shared a delicious, long kiss. When they rendezvoused later, their passion was released in a flood of kisses by the stream's edge under a tree.

At war's end, when amputee Jim returned to France to meet his lover, they joyously embraced and kissed each other to end the film.

Erotic Scenes and Films in the 80s

The shocking (for its time) bare bottom and full-frontal view of high-priced, narcissistic stud-for-hire Richard Gere in writer/director Paul Schrader's American Gigolo (1980) - one of the first scenes of its kind with a major Hollywood star
Brian De Palma's Hitchcock-like slasher film Dressed to Kill (1980), with Angie Dickinson's steamy nude shower scene, a rape fantasy sequence, and blonde prostitute Nancy Allen's tempting ploy to catch the psychopath
the sexy, grinding mechanical bull-riding of Debra Winger in honky-tonk Gilley's in Urban Cowboy (1980)
the shipwrecked-and-stranded on a lush tropical island sex fantasy - with only teasing nudity - of The Blue Lagoon (1980) with teenaged Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins
Burt Lancaster's watching of clam bar croupier/waitress Susan Sarandon bathing her breasts with lemon oil in front of an open window to remove the fishy smell in Louis Malle's Atlantic City (1981)
a recent film noir, Body Heat (1981), a combination of The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946), Double Indemnity (1944), and Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958), sizzled with red-hot flames of passion and a twisting plot of murderous lust - it included a highly-charged, sweaty scene of naive and horny attorney William Hurt outside French doors looking lustfully in at a smoldering Kathleen Turner and then breaking in with a chair for hot sex with the alluring, husky-voiced woman who begs: "Do it!" (Her earlier assertion: "You're not too smart, are you? I like that in a man")
Tarzan the Ape Man - 1981the adolescent, coming-of-age sex comedy Porky's (1981), including the peep hole in the girl's shower room wall scene, that launched many other vulgar, lewd, moronic, and raunchy youth-oriented rip-offs
Jack Nicholson's and Jessica Lange's uninhibited kitchen sex in The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981)
goody-two-shoes Julie Andrews' topless showstopper in Blake Edwards' (her husband's!) film S. O. B. (1981)
the less-than-erotic, soft-core jungle fantasy of the camp classic Tarzan the Ape Man (1981) from Svengali-like director John Derek, with wife Bo Derek often in the buff as a Playboy Playmate-like Jane, advertised as "the most beautiful woman of our time in the most erotic adventure of all time"
the controversial love scene between Bruce Dern and Maud Adams in Tattoo (1981)
Annette O'Toole's semi-nude, after-hours "quick dip" in a gym pool where she is terrorized by a snarling unseen cat, and feline Nastassja Kinski's naked stalking through the woods, nude house wanderings, and bondage love-making with John Heard with her wrists tied back to bedposts in director Paul Schrader's updated Cat People (1982) - advertised as "an erotic fantasy for the animal in us all"
a film with lots of typical teenaged sexual behavior in the 80s, including Jennifer Jason Leigh's awkward, uncomfortable, and unglamorous loss of her virginity to an older boy, and Phoebe Cates' fantasy dream-girl emergence from a backyard swimming pool when she opens up the top of her bright-red two-piece bikini from the middle in Amy Heckerling's Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
Personal Best - 1982 the realistic and sexually explicit love scene in which Debra Winger wriggled and straddled atop Richard Gere in An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)
Mariel Hemingway and Patrice Donnelly as young, taut-bodied, competitive runners, with a steam room scene of naked women athletes in director Robert Towne's lesbian-tinged Personal Best (1982)
a love triangle between Peter Gallagher, Daryl Hannah, and Valerie Quennessen with lots of trim beautiful bodies, sun-bathing, love-making, and sex on a 'fun and sun' Greek island in Randal Kleiser's Summer Lovers (1982) - with the tagline - "Anything can happen under the sun"
Dustin Hoffman as a strong woman in drag in Tootsie (1982)
the revealing bedroom scene between football star Tom Cruise and hometown girl Lea Thompson in All The Right Moves (1983)
the frequent nakedness of a French student (Valerie Kaprisky) and small-time crook (Richard Gere), including their shower and love-making scenes in the inferior remake Breathless (1983)
Summer Lovers - 1982Alex Owens' (Jennifer Beals) neat removal of her black bra from under her loose gray sweatshirt, and the suggestive lobster-eating scene in which the gorgeous Beals (dressed in a black tux with just the front piece of a white shirt and cuffs without sleeves) slowly nibbles and sucks soft pieces of seafood while asking: "What turns you on?...Do you like phone booths?...You probably just like doing it in bed, right?" as she moves her leg up under the table to tantalizingly touch Michael Nouri's crotch with her toes in Flashdance (1983)
the soft-focus writhings in the steamy lesbian love scene between Susan Sarandon and Catherine Deneuve in the vampirish The Hunger (1983)
Tom Cruise dancing in his underwear and singing karaoke-style, and the intensely erotic scene when he learns the tricks of the trade in an daringly-exhibitionist (and risky), late-night, elevated Chicago train ride with beguiling, heart-of-gold hooker Rebecca DeMornay in Risky Business (1983)
voyeur Craig Wasson watching his shapely neighbor's nightly striptease through a telescope and Melanie Griffith cast as a porn actress in Brian de Palma's Body Double (1984)
director John Derek's semi-erotic, soft-core Bolero (1984), released to capitalize on his wife's (Bo Derek) numerous hot sex scenes
Body Double- 1984Ken Russell's unrated Crimes of Passion (1984), with Kathleen Turner as a fashion designer by day, and a kinky prostitute by night
the campy horror film Re-Animator (1984), with the ghoulish scene of a re-animated doctor's head making love to a naked Barbara Crampton
William Hurt in a Best Actor-winning role as a homosexual inmate in a Brazilian prison in Hector Babenco's Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)
the sexy disrobing of full-bodied, young blonde Kelly Preston in the teen sex comedy Mischief (1985)
Harrison Ford being allowed to witness Amish widow Kelly McGillis bathing in Witness (1985)
the opening four minutes - an explicit, revealing and extended love-making scene with the ardent writhings of two lovers, Beatrice Dalle (Betty) and Jean-Hugues Anglade (Zorg) in the French erotic drama Betty Blue (1986)
the erotic love-making between Kyle MacLachlan and Isabella Rosselini on blue silk sheets, her disturbing obsesssive sex with blackmailing, gas-inhaling Dennis Hopper - and later a humiliating scene in which Rosselini's catatonic, bruised and naked self wanders out of the dark in David Lynch's Blue Velvet (1986)
The Big Easy - 1987Mickey Rourke's question: "Does this excite you?" before caressing blindfolded Kim Basinger's naked body with melting ice cubes; also one olive, a bowl of maraschino cherries, one cherry tomato, a pint of strawberries, one glass of champagne, two spoonfuls of Vick's cough syrup, a forkful of cold spiral pasta, a spoonful of cherry Jello, four jalapeno peppers, one glass of milk, a bottle of sparkling water, and gobs of honey for Kim Basinger with her eyes closed - to the tune of Bryan Ferry's "Slave to Love"; and the steamy sex scenes behind a giant roof-top clock-face and in a rainy brick stairway in the soft-porn 9 1/2 Weeks (1986)
the mating rituals and the one night-stand of Rob Lowe and Demi Moore in the mid-80s About Last Night... (1986), adapted from David Mamet's hit play Sexual Perversity in Chicago
hearing-impaired Marlee Matlin's graceful nude, underwater swimming scene, John Hurt's assertion: "You are the most mysterious, beautiful, angry person I have ever met," and his 'falling' in love - and into the pool for a nude embrace in Children of a Lesser God (1986)
Melanie Griffith as free-spirited Lulu, named after actress Louise Brooks' femme fatale (from Pandora's Box (1929)), handcuffing the staid and married Jeff Daniels to a motel bed and making love to him in Something Wild (1986)
Dirty Dancing - 1987Alan Parker's X-rated Angel Heart (1987) in which detective Mickey Rourke has a steamy sex scene with Lisa Bonet
the clumsy, but sexy scene when detective Dennis Quaid lets down highly-repressed Ass't DA Ellen Barkin's blonde hair and caresses her under her clothes as she nervously confesses: "I'm not very good at this" - and then her gradual relaxation and surrender to him in The Big Easy (1987)
the sexy dancing scene between dance instructor Patrick Swayze and Baby (Jennifer Grey) in Dirty Dancing (1987)
the kitchen sink and elevator love-making scenes between Michael Douglas (Dan) and Glenn Close (Alex), Close's threat: "I'm not gonna be ignored, Dan," and Close's topless monologue in bed in Fatal Attraction (1987)
the back-seat limousine love scene between Sean Young and Kevin Costner (with the driver glancing back) in No Way Out (1987)
Kevin Costner painting Susan Sarandon's toenails, his skillful undressing of her by unclipping her black stocking with one hand, their hot bathtub sequence, Costner's speech about his belief in "long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days," and other scenes of romance and sex in unplanned ways and places in Bull Durham (1988)
Two Moon Junction - 1988the bedroom scene in which Uma Thurman (in a revealing debut) removes her nightgown to receive sexual education (training in two Latin words) from philanderer John Malkovich - just one glimpse of the lush decadence of 18th century France in Dangerous Liaisons (1988)
a terrorized but strong-willed Nicole Kidman with her clothes ripped off making love to deranged killer Billy Zane onboard a schooner in Dead Calm (1988)
the sexual awakening of Sherilyn Fenn in numerous hot scenes with a carnival worker in Two Moon Junction (1988)
the photographic nude romp of Juliette Binoche and Lena Olin and the intriguing love triangle in The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988)
the sensual scene of a sultry Michelle Pfeiffer sliding around on top of Jeff Bridges' piano and singing 'Making Whoopee' in The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)
the tense, torrid tryst between Al Pacino and suspected lonely-hearts killer seductress Ellen Barkin in Sea of Love (1989)
the last explicit sex scene between Mickey Rourke and then-girlfriend Carre Otis in Zalman King's controversial Wild Orchid (1989)
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Women in Prison Films of the 70s and 80s

 And director Jonathan Demme's first feature Caged Heat (1974), made for Roger Corman's New World Pictures, was a low-budget, B-grade campy sexploitation classic - with empowered tough women, designed for the drive-in crowd. It is now considered one of the best of its type - an "innocent females in prison" film, advertised as "White Hot Desires Melting Cold Prison Steel!," with frequent shower sequences showing off a nude "Rainbeaux" Smith and Erica Gavin. The Exorcist's Linda Blair and Sybil Danning were others who appeared in women-behind-bars (or in reform schools) trash films, with healthy amounts of gratuitous nudity, as in the made-for-TV Born Innocent (1974), Chained Heat (1983), and Reform School Girls (1986).

More Adult-Oriented Films in the Late 60s and 70s:

Adult-themed, prestigious, sexually-mature and powerful films in the late 1960s and early 1970s also caused a stir, and were among the earliest films given a new X rating by the MPAA Rating Code. The only Best Picture (and Best Director) winner that was rated X (later changed to R) was John Schlesinger's Midnight Cowboy (1969). It was about the seedy life and camaraderie of two desperate souls (one a would-be gigolo street hustler portrayed by Jon Voight) in a seedy section of New York City.

Last Tango in Paris - 1972Bernardo Bertolucci's landmark, controversial erotic film about a destructive relationship, Last Tango in Paris (1972), an Italian-French co-production financed by United Artists, featured an aging, grieving widower and American expatriate Paul (Marlon Brando) and a much younger 20 year-old Parisienne ingenue Jeanne (Maria Schneider) who relieved emotional pain through anonymous but passionate sex. The film received an X-rating for its explicit and uninhibited sex scenes, and was nominated for Best Director and Best Actor Oscars. In 1974, it became the first film to be prosecuted under Britain's Obscene Publications Act.

Stanley Kubrick's X-rated masterpiece A Clockwork Orange (1971) was a dark satire regarding violence, sex (previously unseen on the big screen), rape, and the freedom-denying effects of aversion therapy. Kubrick was personally responsible for withdrawing the film from distribution in the UK (for almost 30 years) when it was linked to copy-cat crimes by youth gangs. David Lean's Ryan's Daughter (1970) brought conflict over its rating due to Sarah Miles' nude scene with Christopher Jones. Nicolas Roeg's debut film Walkabout (1971) was also questioned regarding Jenny Agutter's nude swimming scenes in the Australian outback.

And during the horrors of war in Korea in a surgical hospital in Robert Altman's irreverent film M*A*S*H (1970), the surgeons played practical jokes, including the broadcast of a Sally Kellerman's hot request of Robert Duvall: "Oh Frank, my lips are hot...Kiss my hot lips."

Peter Bogdanovich's The Last Picture Show (1971), a slice of life R-rated film about life and loss of innocence in a small Texas town, provided brief glimpses of a nude, young Cybill Shepherd skinny-dipping at an indoor pool party with other naked teens (in full-frontal views), and then experiencing a failed, awkward deflowering with Jeff Bridges in a motel room (but she tells her girlfriend-classmates "I just can't describe it in words"). Other controversial scenes included a high school student's (Timothy Bottoms) affair with his school coach's wife (Cloris Leachman), and the deflowering of the town's mentally-retarded boy with a prostitute.

Director Mike Nichols' Carnal Knowledge (1971) (mixed with Jules Feiffer's cynical script) surveyed three decades (late 1940s-60s) in the contrasting sex lives of two college roommates: studly, chauvinistic Jack Nicholson (and eventual wife Ann-Margret) and shy, bumbling Art Garfunkel. The film was argued as being obscene for its explicit dialogue, borderline nudity, and suggestive final scene of oral sex.

Looking for Mr. Goodbar - 1977In Sam Peckinpah's Straw Dogs (1971), after slutty Amy (Susan George), the young wife of mild-mannered mathematician Dustin Hoffman, was raped by her ex-boyfriend (Del Henney) - and seemed to enjoy it (lending to the film's controversy), she was also sexually brutalized by one of the ruffian's friends. Sadistic revenge and violence erupted as a result - It was one of the most controversial rape sequences ever filmed, and the alarming film was accused of glorifying and inspiring men to assault women with sexual violence. Homosexual rape was portrayed in an infamous and shocking scene in director John Boorman's Deliverance (1972). Bobby, aka Chubby (Ned Beatty) was sodomized by a Mountain Man, who first makes him squeal like a pig ("Wheeeee! . . . Wheeeee! . . . Wheeeee!").

Michael York played the part of a bisexual in Bob Fosse's musical Cabaret (1972), and Al Pacino robbed a bank in Sidney Lumet's Dog Day Afternoon (1975) in order to finance his homosexual lover's sex-change operation. Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977), a sexually frank adaptation of Judith Rossner's best-seller, descended into the carnal depths of New York singles bars during the sexual revolution, and ended with the predictable, chilling fate of one promiscuous Catholic school teacher and female cruiser (Diane Keaton, an Oscar-winner in the same year for Annie Hall) searching for the perfect one-night-stand.

The scandalous, ostracized, imported Japanese film In the Realm of the Senses (1976) explored the sensually explicit, erotic world of two lovers - re-made in the US as The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea (1976) with graphic scenes between Kris Kristofferson and Sarah Miles.

Sex in Mainstream Hollywood Films Overwhelms Soft-Core Sexploitation Pictures:

9 1/2 Weeks - 1986Wild Orchid - 1989MTV-style director Adrian Lyne's glossy 9 1/2 Weeks (1986), with a screenplay by soft-core erotica veteran Zalman King, was released in a more explicit, unrated video version than the R-rated theatrical release. It displayed generous samplings of kinky and raunchy sex, and the endlessly creative, obsessive and experimental ways two erotic adventurers/lovers Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger aroused themselves during a two-month affair. The film contained one of the best erotic food seductions ever filmed, involving blindfolds, ice cubes, chocolate syrup, and other ingredients.

[Zalman King would go on to direct three equally erotic, soft-porn films with strong sexual content: Two Moon Junction (1988) with Sherilyn Fenn, Wild Orchid (1989) - again with 9 1/2 Weeks' Mickey Rourke and Carre Otis (in her film debut) and featuring a very believable/simulated sex scene, and the made-for-TV Red Shoe Diaries (1992) with X-Files TV star David Duchovny.]

The face of Hollywood lesbianism was tamely reflected in the glossed-over, scaled-down stories of The Color Purple (1985) and Fried Green Tomatoes (1991).

Damage - 1992Outside of the Hollywood system, Steven Soderbergh's independent film sex, lies and videotape (1989) followed the videotaping of the complex sex lives of the protagonists with sexually-suggestive and provocative content, but without overt scenes of sex or nudity. Foreign films with frank sexual content were usually re-shot or released with modified content in the US, e.g., Louis Malle's intimate exploration of obsessive and damaging passion in Damage (1992) with Jeremy Irons and Juliette Binoche, or Jean-Jacques Annaud's The Lover (1992). Other erotic foreign films included Betty Blue (1986. Fr.) with the ripe and beautiful Beatrice Dalle destroyed by amour fou, and French director Jacques Rivette's very-lengthy (almost four hour) drama La Belle Noiseuse (1991, Fr.) with Emmanuelle Beart as an newly-inspired painter's starkly nude model for the majority of the film.

The NC-17 Rating:

Henry & June - 1990Non-pornographic depictions of serious adult themes and lesbian sex led the MPAA to give up the X rating and create the NC-17 category. The first film to receive the MPAA's new NC-17 rating was director Philip Kaufman's Henry & June (1990), about the erotic lives in a lover's triangle in 1930s Bohemian Paris between writer Anais Nin (Maria DeMedeiros), American Henry Miller (Fred Ward), and his wife June (Uma Thurman). It was advertised as "a true adventure more erotic than any fantasy." [Kaufman's equally erotic previous film was The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988) with open adult sexuality displayed by Daniel Day-Lewis, Juliette Binoche, and Lena Olin.]

The NC-17 rating was originally designed to distinguish films with serious sexual content from regular, X-rated pornographic fare. Its rating restricted anyone under the age of 17 from attending a film. Nowadays, an NC-17 rating is the box-office kiss of death because many movie theatres won't book films with that rating, and major national video chains (e.g., Blockbuster) refuse to carry NC-17 or X-rated movies. So most major studios avoid having films released with more than an R rating, by cutting footage that would produce a NC-17 rating. Now, the NC-17 rating dictates film content and acts as a voluntary system of censorship within Hollywood.

Basic Instinct - 1992Oftentimes after 1990, filmmakers would make token cuts of a few minutes (or seconds) of footage of objectionable sex scenes in their films to obtain an R rating for their opening theatrical release, and then add the footage back into videotape-released, 'unrated' versions (or special 'director's cuts'). The buzz generated from headlines about the sexual content of a film actually benefited many pictures and was sought after as free publicity.

The next permissive film to cause headlines over its steamy content, depiction of lesbian characters, violent ice-pick murders, "date rape" scene with Jeanne Tripplehorn, sexy interrogation scene with panty-less Sharon Stone crossing her legs, and a threatened NC-17 rating was director Paul Verhoeven's sex thriller Basic Instinct (1992). The rating would cost the expensive film about 50-75% of its potential bookings. So the film was cut to receive an R rating for its theatrical release, although it was also released with a more explicit 'Director's Cut' version for the video market.

The Video Revolution in the 80s:

The advent of home video (the proliferation of cable TV, consumer camcorders, and VCRs) in the early 80s had a tremendous impact on the production and proliferation of X-rated films, and on the entire film industry. Now films could be made more cheaply, and there was a trend toward increasing independent production. Consumers could view the increased number of products in the privacy of their own homes rather than in theatres. And much more explicit films could be manufactured.

Memorable Sexual Films and Scenes:

Most films in modern cinema, especially with mainstream actors and actresses, were not full-blown, sex-titillating works designed to contain wall-to-wall eroticism. Many contained only a few sequences or dissected moments of sexuality (sometimes gratuitously added), that weren't necessarily seamlessly integrated into the plot.

These are some examples of sexy/erotic moments in films from the late 50s through the 70s:

    One Million Years B.C. - 1966Sophia Loren as Phaedra, an earthy Greek sponge diver in a skin-tight, tucked-in dress in Boy on a Dolphin (1957)
    the much-imitated, extended bawdy, food-related sex scene, with meat and fruit providing the aphrodisiac in the lusty Tom Jones (1963)
    the many sexy beauties in the James Bond films including Ursula Andress, Honor Blackman, Jane Seymour, Maud Adams, Britt Ekland, Carole Bouquet, Diana Rigg, Tanya Roberts, Maryam D'Abo, Talisa Soto, Sophie Marceau and many more
    the chilly British film Alfie (1966), with Michael Caine's first starring role as a charming but contemptuous playboyish rogue and lothario - with an early, candid view of sexual promiscuity, abortion, and pregnancy - [the film was remade by director Charles Shyer as Alfie (2004) - the story was transplanted to New York City with Jude Law in the title role as a desirable limo driver]
    the unlikely sights of Raquel Welch as a cavewoman in a two-piece furry bikini in One Million Years B.C. (1966) and leopard-skin, bikini-clad prehistoric women in When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1970)
    the sensual, but bored housewife Catherine Deneuve and her bordello fantasies in Bunuel's Belle De Jour (1967)
    the languid honeymoon nude scene between young actors Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey in Romeo and Juliet (1968) with her split-second toplessness as she rolls out of their bed at dawn
    the doomed, steamy affair and bathtub washing scene (and the notorious butter scene!) between Marlon Brando and French girl Maria Schneider in Bernardo Bertolucci's groundbreaking Last Tango in Paris (1972) - about a man's struggle to forget his wife's death
    Pretty Baby - 1978the notorious, convincing love-making scene between Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie in Don't Look Now (1973)
    Radley Metzger's X-rated Naked Came the Stranger (1975)
    the bondage/S & M scenes in The Story of O (1975)
    the classic love-making scene between paraplegic Jon Voight and Jane Fonda in Coming Home (1978)
    child actress Brooke Shields as Violet - a pre-teenage virginal child about to be auctioned off and deflowered on her 12th birthday, and her prostitute mother Susan Sarandon wiping away white powder from her breast with a wet finger during a photography portrait session in a turn-of-the-century New Orleans bordello in Louis Malle's semi-scandalous Pretty Baby (1978)
    the perfect '10' Bo Derek with corn-rows in her hair as a fantasy dream woman running in slow-motion in the voyeuristic beach scene (for Dudley Moore), and the notorious bedroom scene with love-making accompanied by repeated playings of Ravel's Bolero (after Derek's question: "Did you ever do it to Ravel's Bolero?") in 10 (1979)
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Sexploitation Films From the Late 20s

Outside of the Hollywood system, most of the earliest sexploitation films appeared in four distinct formats. These 'forbidden' films, increasing the levels of sex and violence in films, usually were screened in theatres that came to be known as 'grindhouses' - since they often served as burlesque strip joints. There were fewer instances in which these films had to justify or claim that they had 'redeeming social value':

    Feature-length Burlesque Documentaries (a Bettie Page "burlesque trilogy" of vintage erotica):

    - Striporama (1953), starring Lili St. Cyr and pin-up girl and cult icon bondage model Bettie Page (in a small cameo)
    - Varietease (1954), again with Bettie Page and Lily St. Cyr; produced and directed by girly-pix impresario Irving Klaw
    - Teaserama (1955) - with statuesque stripper Tempest Storm, and Bettie Page as emcee and as performer of two stylized dance numbers; also produced and directed by glamour-girl and fetish photographer Irving Klaw

    - also, Striptease Girl (1952), another filmed burlesque show documentary with stripper Tempest Storm

    "Educational" Films about Venereal Disease or Childbirth:
    - See earlier discussion

    Jungle-quest or Native 'Documentaries':

    - Ingagi (1931)
    - Forbidden Adventures (1937), aka Love Life of a Gorilla, with naked native peoples
    - Pagan Island (1960), an example of exploitational cinema - a B-grade tale about marooned sailor William (Edward Dew) on an island populated only by beautiful but man-hating semi-naked women (topless except for flower leis, although with very little explicit nudity)
    - Mondo Cane (1962) - a globe-trotting shockumentary filled with glimpses of dark-skinned, bare 'savages' engaged in grotesque rituals and scenes of human perversity

    Gentlemen Prefer Nature Girls - 1962Naturist and Nudist-colony films of the 50s and early 60s, with various plots set in nudist camps, or preachy 'socially-redeeming' films about a clean, clothing-optional, and exotically-joyful way of life - these films were generally propagandistic, without any explicit shots of pubic hair or genitalia:

    - Garden of Eden (1954)
    - Nudist Paradise (1959, UK)
    - The Nudist Story (1959)
    - Naked...As Nature Intended (1961), d. George Harrison-Marks
    - Diary of a Nudist (1961), d. Doris Wishman
    - Blaze Starr Goes Nudist (1962), d. Doris Wishman
    - Gentlemen Prefer Nature Girls (1962), d. Doris Wishman
    - World Without Shame (1962), d. Donovan Winter
    - Behind the Nudist Curtain (1964), d. Doris Wishman

Nudie-Cuties From 1959 to 1963 -- Russ Meyer's Breakthrough Sex Flick:

The Immoral Mr. Teas - 1959Before sleazy sexploitation films became more common place, the early days of sexual cinema consisted mostly of crude, sexually-explicit 'stag' films, since they were normally low-grade film reels shown at 'mens-only' stag parties or in private clubs. And then director Russ Meyer (soon dubbed "King of the Nudies" and "King Leer") released The Immoral Mr. Teas (1959). This hour-long film ushered in the age of 'nudie-cutie' films. Nudie-cuties always contained the same type of content: bawdy comedy, voyeurism, and soft core sexuality. This cheap film, made on a budget of $24,000 in four days, was the first soft-core (or 'skin-flick') sex film to make a profit - it was a tale about a bachelor with inexplicable X-ray vision who had the power to view women without their clothes.

Another breakthrough, sexploitation film was also released soon thereafter - a 'Mr. Teas' imitation: Not Tonight, Henry (1960) - by producer Edward E. "Ted" Paramore III, about a man (Hank Henry) with a frigid wife who turned to the great historical seductresses in his daydreaming fantasies: Delilah, Cleopatra, Pocahontas, and Lucrezia Borgia; it was advertised as "Frolic for Broad-minded Adults," with "15 No Cover Girls," and "NOT Recommended if You Blush Easily". Herschell Gordon Lewis also directed the first full-color "nudie-cutie" titled The Adventures of Lucky Pierre (1961). It was filmed in CUTIE COLOR and SKINAMASCOPE by producer/screenwriter David Friedman, and advertised as "A Pinch of Pepper...A Nip of Ginger...A Dash of as Spicy a Dish of Adult Cinemafare as You'll Ever Taste."

Russ Meyer went on to make four more "nudie-cutie" films during its prominent era, from 1959 to 1963:

    Eve and the Handyman (1961)
    Erotica (1961)
    Wild Gals of the Naked West (1962)
    Heavenly Bodies! (1963)

The Onrush of Soft-Core, Exploitative Sex Films and "Rough Sex" Pictures:

Within a short period of time, many more 'nudie cutie' films were released, such as Peter Perry's Kiss Me Quick! (1964), a science-fiction horror film from sleaze producer Harry Novak. It was a zany, monster comedy with exceptional cinematography by Laszlo Kovacs, with an incredulous plot about effeminate Sterilox (Frank Coe) from the Buttless Galaxy and the all-male planet Droopeter (an example of the lame double-entendres) who came to Earth and demented Dr. Breedlove's (Max Gardens) castle (similar to the Frankenstein films) to find the perfect female specimen for a race of servants - where he was introduced to a trio of gyrating buxom strippers in the laboratory.

These were accompanied by an onslaught of darker, more violent and rougher films. Splatter films emerged, such as the blood-dripping, splatter film offerings of the "Godfather of Gore" Herschell Gordon Lewis (the first 'gore' film Blood Feast (1963) and 2000 Maniacs (1964)).

More Russ Meyer Films in the 60s and 70s:

Russ Meyer's exploitative, campy, and often humorous low-budget 'skin-flicks' in the 60s and 70s (23 in total) were filled with sex, nudity and then with 'rough' violence. They seemed to focus almost entirely on well-endowed, curvaceous, take-charge Amazonian women with large breasts (and slim waists) in accidentally-funny, trashy, tasteless and often violent films. The cheesecake films with descriptive titles were populated by attractive, semi-porn stars such as Haji, Francesca "Kitten" Natividad, and Erica Gavin.

    Lorna (1964) - a controversial, black-and-white rape-revenge film with full-bosomed Lorna Maitland as an unsatisfied married woman who was raped by an escaped convict in the woods - and had her sexuality awakened, although her unfaithfulness led to her murder
    Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (1964)
    Mudhoney (1965)
    Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965) - generally considered as the best of the lot, and Meyer's most popular film; starring Tura Satana in a tale about three buxom go-go dancers by night who went on a murderous desert rampage by day on motorcycles
    Motor Psycho (1965)
    Mondo Topless (1966), an exploitative documentary (or mockumentary) film
    Common Law Cabin (1967)
    Good Morning...and Goodbye! (1967) - the first of Meyer's films to be reviewed by The New York Times
    Finder Keepers, Lovers Weepers! (1968)
    Vixen! (1968), about the sexual escapades of Vixen Palmer (Erica Gavin); the first X-rated soft-core, blockbuster hit that was shown in mainstream theatres and apparently appealed to women as well as men
    Cherry, Harry & Raquel! (1969)
    Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1970), the first of Meyer's studio pictures (for 20th century Fox), with a screenplay by film critic/reviewer Roger Ebert, and highly profitable
    Supervixens (1975) - Meyer's low-budget comeback film, extremely violent with outrageously-endowed female stars; a major success that grossed $17 million worldwide
    Up! (1976) - with co-writing credits given to Roger Ebert (pseudonymed as Reinhold Timme); it featured a prosthetic prop penis, buxom bimbos, a cartoonish rape scene, a water fight between Raven De La Croix and Janet Wood, a plot about an Adolf Hitler-look-alike in a castle, and Kitten Natividad as a one-person Greek chorus
    Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens (1979) - a spoof of his own films (also co-written by Ebert) - Meyer's final film starring Kitten Natividad

The coming of hard-core "Porn Chic" in the early 70s spelled the end for Meyer's approach.

Ed Wood and Low-Budget Porn:

Infamous 'bad' cult-film director/screenwriter Ed Wood, known for one of the worst films ever - Plan 9 From Outer Space (1956), was less known for his dabbling in porn films. In the decade of the 60s (until his death in 1978 at age 54) when he lost investment backing for his projects, Wood turned to writing sexy pulp novels, and to filming short porno 'loops' for coin-operated booths in sex shops. Wood's final film (with the pseudonym Don Miller in the credits) was the low-budget, occult porn (or 'smut') film Necromania (1971), subtitled A Tale of Weird Love, that was shot in less than a week, and made in two versions (soft-core and hard-core). It told the story of Danny and Shirley, a young couple who visited a mysterious necromancer named Madame Heles (in her sex clinic and funeral parlor) to solve the couple's sexual problems. The hands-on lessons they were taught in the simplistic, weird film involved a coven of witches, simulated sex with painted skulls, topless chanting and spells, and an extended sex scene in a coffin.

Lesbianism, Homosexuality, and Trans-sexuality:

Before the 1960s, there were few Hollywood films about lesbians, and the ones that existed were stereotyped, suggestive or cliché-ridden, without any complex character development. Images of lesbians on screen included 'dyke' or mannish stereotypes, such as sadistic prison matron Evelyn Harper in Caged! (1950). Female homosexuality re-emerged in a few films in the 60s, although it was again hampered by censorship. Films with female gays mostly told about their adverse struggles, hardships, and the prejudiced homophobic attitudes that they faced - and their own self-punishment.

For example, William Wyler's version of Lillian Hellman's play of the same name, The Children's Hour (1961) was considered the first explicit lesbian film in the US, although it literally avoided the word 'lesbian' - it was more explicit about the sexual theme in its plot than in Wyler's earlier retitled version These Three (1936), when the rumor and accusation of a lesbian relationship between two teachers was changed to an illicit, though heterosexual, love affair between one of the teachers and her colleague's fiancé. The 1961 film still ambiguously only hinted at the forbidden, objectionable theme of lesbianism. As in many lesbian tales, in its finale, the self-loathing Shirley MacLaine character broke down and confessed how 'guilty' and 'sick and dirty' she felt about her feelings toward another teacher (Audrey Hepburn), and she committed suicide by hanging herself when she realized that the lesbian rumors were true.

    Capucine starred as a prostitute in lesbian madame Barbara Stanwyck's Depression-era New Orleans bordello named the Doll's House, in Walk on the Wild Side (1962)
    Sidney Lumet's The Group (1966) was an early film to explore female sexuality, adultery and lesbianism among a group of classmates from a single-sex liberal arts college, with Candice Bergen (in an early role) and Elizabeth Hartman
    director Mark Rydell's tame R-rated adaptation of D. H. Lawrence's novella The Fox (1967), an examination of the lives of two female lovers (Anne Heywood and Sandy Dennis) on an isolated farm in Canada included scenes of masturbation and lesbian love; a strong lesbian relationship was melodramatically destroyed by an intruding male (or "fox"), harkening back to the Hays Code tenet that homosexuals must pay for their sins
    Robert Aldrich's landmark film The Killing of Sister George (1968), with Susannah York as a stereotypical, middle-aged lesbian, soap-opera actress; it was X-rated (and then unrated) for its graphic depiction of a prolonged lesbian love scene between York and Coral Browne; it was noted as the first X-rated film for a work by a respected director and actors, and the first mainstream feature film to depict a lesbian love scene; although it contained stereotypical butch/femme posturings, it didn't condemn its characters for their sexual preference
    Estelle Parsons' impulsive kiss of Joanne Woodward in director Paul Newman's Rachel, Rachel (1968)
    Radley Metzger's soft-core, German language tale of self-discovery, Therese and Isabelle (1968), featuring two French schoolgirl classmates (Essy Persson and Anna Gael) in love in a boarding school; based on the memoirs of author Violette Leduc

The first gay-friendly independent film with homoerotic content, the gay frontier romance Song of the Loon (1970), was released with the tagline: "Curious? Have you ever wondered about a love story between two men?" It was based on Richard Amory's 1966 pulp novel of the same title about a homosexual relationship in 1870's California, and provided audiences with one of its first serious representations of homosexuality, although the film was campy and amateurish.

Veteran Hollywood director Irving Rapper's campy biopic The Christine Jorgensen Story (1970), released by United Artists, was adapted for the screen from a best-selling, late 60s autobiographical account; it was Hollywood’s first attempt at exploring transgender issues. It told about an ex-GI who became a blonde beauty and was transformed in the early 1950s in a Denmark clinic from George Jorgensen Jr. into Christine Jorgensen (John Hansen) -- one of the earliest surgically-altered transsexuals. Although it was respectful, it had howlingly bad acting, dialogue, and writing. The poster proclaimed - "I couldn't live in a man's body!" and "Did the surgeon's knife make me a woman or a freak?"

Changes in the Ratings System: The Abolition of the Hays Code

By the late 1940s, the organization known as the MPPDA (Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America) to administer the Production Code then became known as the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). Due to pressures emerging against the archaic censorship body, its president Jack Valenti (appointed in 1966) abolished the Hays Code in 1967. A new voluntary (or advisory) ratings system was established in 1968, initially with four uniform ratings categories to be enforced by distributors and exhibitors (including movie theaters):

    G (General Audiences, including children)
    M (Mature Audiences)
    R (Restricted, Children under 16 not admitted without parent or 'guardian')
    X (no one under 16 admitted)

Soon afterwards in 1969, the M rating was changed to GP (General Patronage) and then to PG (meaning 'Parental Guidance Suggested') in 1970, and the age restriction was raised from 16 to 17. Most mainstream filmmakers would subsequently try to avoid a G-rating (other than Disney's animations and true family fare) in order to raise their ratings to PG - and thereby increase their desirability by adult audiences. Many foreign film-makers chose to not submit their films to the ratings board, since their films didn't have widespread appeal anyway and would only play in arthouse venues. From the late 60s on, filmmakers could expect an R-rating for most examples of female nudity and breast-fondling, but X-ratings for oral sex and other explicit sex acts or depictions.

When films became more permissive in the late 60s and 70s, hard-core sexuality made inroads, and the soft-core series of Emmanuelle films from France (see below) had an impact. Women in prison films provided lots of gratuitous lesbianism, but nothing of a seriously dramatic nature. As a result of the newly-permissive environment, more soft-core adults-only sexploitation films (outside the Hollywood system) displayed frontal female nudity and simulated sex, such as the early 'women in prison' film Love Camp 7 (1969) about a Nazi torture concentration camp with a sadistic camp commandant who encouraged sexual depravity, and the sexploitation Western Ride a Wild Stud (1969).

Inroads with Pornographic (X-rated) Films: A Sexual Revolution in the 70s

I Am Curious (Yellow) - 1968In the late 60s, Vilgot Sjoman's Swedish film I Am Curious (Yellow) (1967) provoked controversy with its mix of politico-revolutionary and never-before-seen explicit lovemaking scenes. This landmark, avante-garde, mock-documentary film (shot with mostly hand-held cameras) allegedly included 'offensive' sexual scenes that were claimed to be pornographic at the time - scenes of full frontal nudity of both sexes (at 38 minutes into the film), simulated intercourse, and the kissing of the male's flaccid penis (over a full hour into the film). As expected, the milestone, taboo-breaking film ran afoul of the US Customs Office and was the subject of a heated court battle. Its claim to fame was that it literally cleared the way for further, more explicit films. Unused footage and alternate takes from the film were culled for a concurrent, parallel film I Am Curious (Blue) (1968, Swe.) - the choice of colors represented the two colors of the Swedish flag.

The Stewardesses - 1970In the early 1970s, porn started to come out of hiding (as artful "porn chic") and was exhibited in feature film theatres rather than in adult bookstores or at private stag parties. Pioneer porn-maker Alex de Renzy directed the sexy travelogue Pornography in Denmark (1970), a film supposedly with "redeeming social value" that was a box-office success due to its semi-documentary interviews and glimpses of a country that had recently outlawed sex censorship and legalized pornography. Other pseudo-documentary films, such as Sexual Freedom in Denmark (1970), Sex USA (1970), The History of the Blue Movie (1970) - an evolutionary survey of pornography with rare vintage erotica, and Hollywood Blue (1971) circumvented strict obscenity laws.

More and more explicit films soon surfaced, however - they were first publically shown in San Francisco in the late 60s and by 1970 in Los Angeles and New York. The first theatrically-released, hard-core fictional feature was the sound-synchronized 16 mm. Mona: The Virgin Nymph (1970), and the first hard-core 3D feature was the X-rated sex comedy The Stewardesses (1969) - one of the most successful 3-D movies in terms of profitability (a budget of $100K brought in box-office of approx. $25 million).

Hard-Core "Porn Chic" for the Mainstream:

Deep Throat - 1973Gerard Damiano's low-budget "porn chic" film Deep Throat (1973), the first successful hard-core pornographic film seen by mainstream America was the most profitable and widely-played hard-core sex film in history. Heavily prosecuted in the courts, its mildly-humorous tale was about an unsatisfied woman (Linda Lovelace, the first porn superstar) until the discovery that her clitoris was located deep in her throat. Its tagline asked: "How Far Does a Girl Have to Go to Untangle Her Tingle?"

Other groundbreaking films at the time included the Mitchell Brothers' Behind the Green Door (1972) (starring fresh-faced 'Ivory Snow Girl' Marilyn Chambers), Gerard Damiano's sexually-explicit The Devil in Miss Jones (1974) (starring Georgina Spelvin), Radley Metzger's (Henry Paris) highly-regarded 'My Fair Lady' take-off - The Opening of Misty Beethoven (1975), female director Sharon McKnight's classic Autobiography of a Flea (1976), and Debbie Does Dallas (1978). All of these films were regarded as 'legitimate' with movie-goers. They broke box-office records, and scored a record number of lawsuits.

Emmanuelle: The Joys of a Woman - 1975There was also a long series of relatively tasteful soft-core Emmanuelle (1974-) films - the first soft-core films to be phenomenally-successful at the box-office. They included uninhibited sexual adventures beautifully photographed in exotic locales (e.g., Bangkok, Hong Kong, and Bali). The best were the first two soft-core films with the young, sexually-audacious, red-headed Dutch model Sylvia Kristel:

    Emmanuelle (1974) (also with respected French co-star Alain Cluny)
    Emmanuelle: The Joys of a Woman (1975) (aka Emmanuelle 2)

In fact, respectability was attempted by having Oscar-nominated (for Truffaut's Oscar-winning Best Foreign Film Day for Night (1973)) screenwriter Jean-Louis Richard provide the first film's script. The original series was tremendously popular, and inspired many imitations.

Penthouse Magazine's publisher Bob Guccione co-produced and Gore Vidal co-wrote the hard-core and decadent X-rated Caligula (1979) about evil Roman Emperor Caligula Caesar, with such well-known, mainstream stars as Peter O'Toole, John Gielgud, Helen Mirren, and Malcolm McDowell. The poorly-received, infamous film (that was denounced by its own stars) provided sexually-explicit views of life in Rome with scenes of incest, rape, bestiality, necrophilia, and sado-masochism, and in spite of itself became the highest-grossing independent production in the US up to that time.
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Great Sex Epics of the 40s

(1) Producer-co-director Howard Hughes' notorious B-Western The Outlaw (1943) was kept out of theaters for three years and denied a Production Code Administration seal for the exploitative use of young star Jane Russell's prominent, bulging breasts and cleavage, with the tasteless slogan: "What are the two great reasons for Jane Russell's rise to stardom?"
The Outlaw - 1943
(2) Jennifer Jones' sex-pot role as hot-blooded, lustful, half-breed peasant girl Pearl Chavez in Selznick's lurid epic Western Duel in the Sun (1946), re-named "Lust in the Dust," who prefers the over-sexed attentions and rape from wild-living Lewt McCanles (Gregory Peck) rather than from his tamer brother Jesse (Joseph Cotten). The film's climax included an orgasmic shoot-out between Lewt and Pearl who passionately embrace and die in each other's arms.    
Duel in the Sun - 1946
(3) Surprisingly, sharp protest arose over director Otto Preminger's sumptuous Technicolor epic Forever Amber (1947), a 17th century costume romance adapted from Kathleen Winsor's banned book, featuring the gorgeous Linda Darnell (in her first lead role) as beautiful blonde village maid Amber St. Clare. She chamber-hops her way to status and wealth to become the royal mistress of King Charles II (George Sanders) of England. Protest forced its bowdlerization, a tacked-on prologue, and the taming of many of its potentially-erotic scenes by the addition of morally compensating values.    

Cass Timberlane - 1947In spite of the code, other memorable portrayals of wicked women included Lana Turner as a loose young, working-class beauty in Cass Timberlane (1947), with a twenty-year age gap and major socio-economic differences from staid, lonely judge husband Spencer Tracy; she finds herself attracted to a handsome colleague after marriage. Or Peggy Cummins' self-confessed 'no-good,' gun-toting, sharpshooting lover in Gun Crazy (1950) who substitutes robberies for sexual foreplay. The lurid, melodramatic costume drama The Wicked Lady (1945) was the first British film to be modified by the Hays Office, especially because of vixenish Margaret Lockwood's dipping neckline with revealed cleavage of her ample bust.

The longest on-screen kiss in film history (in a commercial feature film) got away with a 3 minute and 5 second smooch between Regis Toomey and Jane Wyman in the service comedy You're In The Army Now (1941). Preston Sturges' irreverent, frantic and reckless The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944) made fun of a drunken blonde victory girl (Betty Hutton) with loose morals who became pregnant after a wild party with WWII servicemen without really knowing who the father was.

Erotic Film Noirs:

The Postman Always Rings Twice - 1946Film noir thrillers of the 40s have always been famous for sexy, seductive femme fatales who enticed their men, such as Jane Greer's deceptive siren stepping out of the bright sunshine into a Mexican cafe to entice Robert Mitchum in Jacques Tourneur's Out of the Past (1947), and Lana Turner's sultry young cafe wife - wearing sizzling white-hot outfits - in Tay Garnett's adaptation of James M. Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) (remade by director Bob Rafelson with a lusty kitchen table sex scene between Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange in 1981). However, Turner's complicity in adultery and murder of her husband with drifter John Garfield was slightly modified in the film's adaptation to satisfy complaints from its critics.

Sexy Films of the 50s:

A Streetcar Named Desire - 1951Increasingly, films contained blatant sexual elements into the 50s, due in part to the influx of more contemporary, adult-oriented foreign films, and competition from television. After conflict with the Legion of Decency, the smoldering adult themes of the collaborative work of Elia Kazan and Tennessee Williams in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) forced a redefinition of censorship guidelines, although the film was stripped of objectionable segments, including clear references to homosexuality, Blanche's (Vivien Leigh) nymphomania and attraction to young boys, and Stanley's (Marlon Brando) rape of Blanche. The film's censored minutes would be restored over 40 years later in 1993.

Baby Doll - 1956Another erotically-charged Williams/Kazan work translated to the screen was Baby Doll (1956), advertised with a photograph of the teenaged title character in a crib sucking her thumb (the film's opening scene). The defiant film was viciously condemned by the Catholic Legion of Decency for, among other things, a notorious, highly-sexual seduction scene on a swing, of a 19 year old white-trash, young 'baby doll' nymphet (Carroll Baker) by vengeful Sicilian Eli Wallach, their game of hide-and-seek in the upstairs (and attic), and later their kissing scene under a turned-off bare bulb in an adjoining room while Baby Doll's sexually-frustrated husband Archie (Karl Malden) was speaking on the phone nearby.

The homosexuality of Paul Newman's sexually-disoriented character in Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) with best friend Skipper was potently counterpoised with the smoldering, heterosexual portrayal of Maggie the 'Cat' by Elizabeth Taylor. Although Gore Vidal's original screenplay alluded to homosexuality, cannibalism, pedophilia, and incest, all of these sordid elements were toned down in Joseph L. Mankiewicz' version of Tennessee Williams' Suddenly, Last Summer (1959), but the film still retained the ripe sensuality of Elizabeth Taylor as the pretty Catherine who lured Italian beach boys closer for the benefit of her homosexual cousin.

From Here to Eternity - 1953James Jones's shocking adapted novel From Here to Eternity (1953) included an adulterous sexual affair, and a Honolulu social club (brothel). The characters in the mostly-male film included a club 'hostess' (Donna Reed) and an Army Captain's wife (Deborah Kerr) having an illicit relationship with an Army Sergeant (Burt Lancaster) - with their infamous scene of Kerr and Lancaster embracing and kissing on an Oahu beach with the foamy surf flowing over them, and Kerr professing: "I never knew it could be like this." Lana Turner was able to dress scantily as Samarra, the exotic, pagan high priestess of Ancient Damascus in MGM's opulent Biblical epic The Prodigal (1955).

Even Vincente Minnelli's and MGM's technicolor musical The Band Wagon (1953) featured an erotic, 12-minute ballet parody of film noir and Mickey Spillane characters, titled Girl Hunt Ballet, with Fred Astaire as hard-boiled private eye Rod Riley and leggy Cyd Charisse as "Beautiful Diamond" - a sultry gangster's moll. Astaire's pseudo-tough voice-over described the suggestively-red-dressed beauty in dual roles as an innocent blonde and a brunette vamp: "I could smell trouble a mile off...She came at me in sections. More curves than a scenic railway...She was bad. She was dangerous. I wouldn't trust her any farther than I could throw her. But, she was my kind of woman."

Sexual Innuendo in Hitchcock's 50s Films:

Hitchcock sublimated the inherent sexual tension and eroticism within his 50s films, and interwove psychological obsession and passion into their scripts, for example:

    the eroticized, voyeuristic role of James Stewart's 'phallic' telephoto camera in Rear Window (1954) in contrast to his avoidance of marriage, passivity and sexual frustration toward girlfriend Grace Kelly

    To Catch a Thief - 1955the provocatively-teasing question, "Do you want a leg or a breast?" during a picnic; the many lingering shots of the diamond necklace next to Grace Kelly's cleavage, and the seductive, passionate kissing sequence followed by fireworks exploding (symbolically orgasmic), in To Catch a Thief (1955)

    the 'attraction-repulsion' syndrome of a man for an idealized woman, obsessive love (with a dose of necrophilia), and the manipulative, compulsive desire to 'remake' a woman into one's ideal found its clearest expression in Vertigo (1958)

    the sexual innuendo of Eva Marie Saint's line to Cary Grant: "You're a big boy now," and the blatantly phallic closing shot in North by Northwest (1959) of the train carrying the newlywed couple gliding into a tunnel

Stretching the Code's Limitations:

The Moon Is Blue - 1953The first studio-produced film from Hollywood that was released without an approved code seal from the Production Code Administration - deliberately as a test case - was Otto Preminger's daring comedy The Moon is Blue (1953), a sex farce that was rated condemned by the Catholic Legion of Decency for vulgarity, in part because of its offensive use of prohibited words such as "virgin," "seduce," "pregnant," and "mistress" in the dialogue. It was also criticized for its "unacceptably light attitude toward seduction, illicit sex, chastity, and virginity." The young and curious heroine Patty O'Neill (Maggie McNamara) asked Donald Gresham (William Holden): "Don't you think it's better for a girl to be preoccupied with sex than occupied?" It proved to be a major hit film (grossing $6 million) despite its lack of a seal of approval.

[A famous TV episode of M*A*S*H titled "The Moon is Not Blue" (aired in December, 1982) featured Hawkeye Pierce (Alan Alda) and B.J. Hunnicut (Wayne Rogers) conniving to get a copy of the film to view - and lift morale, hearing that it included racy content. Ultimately, they were extremely disappointed at the film's actual tame content (Mulcahy: "Well, they did use the word 'virgin'." Hawkeye: "That's because everyone was!").]

Next, Preminger also challenged restrictions in the code with his ground-breaking film The Man With the Golden Arm (1955), a vivid depiction of drug abuse and promiscuity starring Frank Sinatra and Kim Novak. Regarded as the first major Hollywood film about drug addition, it was also released without a Production Code seal. Alexander Mackendrick's engrossing Sweet Smell of Success (1957) provided an expose of a NY gossip columnist (Burt Lancaster) with an semi-incestuous attachment to his 19 year old sister (Susan Harrison).

Director Vincente Minnelli and MGM's Tea and Sympathy (1956) brought Robert Anderson's Broadway play to the screen with a watered-down, almost sexless, yet still bold story - reflective of its repressive era in the mid-50s. It told about sexually-confused, effeminate ('homosexual', "strange" and 'sister-boy'), misunderstood, and suicidal prep-school student Tom Robinson Lee (25 year-old John Kerr) with a demanding father who wanted to be a folk-singer rather than to pursue a more 'manly' profession. He eventually resorted to an affair with the seductive headmaster's wife Laura Reynolds (Deborah Kerr) to be 'cured' of his sensitive nature: ("Years from now when you talk about this - and you will - be kind"). Due to film censorship, an epilogue was tacked on to imply that homosexuality was not endorsed. Likewise, Nicholas Ray's Rebel Without a Cause (1955) portrayed troubled juvenile Plato (Sal Mineo) as homosexual by his adoration of Jim Stark (James Dean) and his red jacket, and his idolization of a picture of movie-star Alan Ladd in his school locker. By film's end, due to homophobic attitudes, the 'gay' character (the real 'rebel' of the picture) was killed.

Examples of European Films Testing Limits:

And God Created Woman - 1957Explicit foreign imports, such as Roger Vadim's flirtatious, sex-oriented And God Created Woman (1956, Fr.), was set in sun-drenched Saint Tropez. It was the star-making hit for French/international "sex kitten" Brigitte Bardot (Vadim's wife at the time), but it caused waves of protest for being indecent.

Two other foreign film imports also created a stir in the 50s and pushed back the walls of censorship:

(1) D.H. Lawrence's 1928 film-adapted, banned novel was portrayed in director Marc Allegret's French film Lady Chatterley's Lover (1955) - it supposedly encouraged sexual immorality by the adulterous actions of the title character - young noblewoman Connie Chatterley (Danielle Darrieux).

(2) Louis Malle's over-rated tale of French adultery The Lovers (1958, Fr.) (aka Les Amants) was notorious for its extended 20-minute, semi-nude, intense love-making scene in various locales (in a rowboat, in a bed, and in a bathtub); it starred Jeanne Moreau as a bored, 30 year-old, unhappily married and repressed housewife experiencing a mid-life crisis after sex with young archaeologist student Bernard (Jean-Marc Bory). A Cleveland Heights, Ohio theatre manager was convicted (later overturned by the Supreme Court) for screening this 'obscene' erotic film - delaying the film's US release. Chief Justice Potter Stewart delivered his famous dictim about pornography in the case: "I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that" (Jacobellis v. Ohio, 1964).

In addition, UA's Cry Tough (1959) was released in two versions -- the European version retained the nudity of Linda Cristal in a love scene with John Saxon (as a Puerto Rican ex-con) - the film was even banned in Finland.

Sex Icon Marilyn Monroe - and Jayne Mansfield:

Marilyn MonroeSomething's Got to Give - 1962American sex symbol Marilyn Monroe had already appeared nude with her body arched in a famous calendar pose by 1951, and in numerous films in sensual roles, such as The Girl in The Seven Year Itch (1955) - with her infamous pose atop a subway grating with the wind blowing her white dress northward. At the close of the decade, director Wilder's excruciatingly-funny Some Like It Hot (1959) included cross-dressed Tony Curtis (and impersonator playboy) and Jack Lemmon, and Marilyn Monroe as Sugar Kane - a dizzy blonde in various stages of undress. Most remarkable was her sheer, see-through sparkling dress worn while singing I Wanna Be Loved By You. Monroe's unfinished film for Fox, director George Cukor's Something's Got To Give (1962) - a remake of the Cary Grant film My Favorite Wife (1940) that co-starred Dean Martin and Cyd Charisse, would have set a milestone in film. It included a nighttime skinny-dipping scene in a backyard pool - it would have been the first nude scene in an American film by a major star.

Promises! Promises! (1963)That honor would go to buxom, platinum blonde sex goddess/siren Jayne Mansfield in the unrated sex farce Promises! Promises! (1963), in which she appeared nude - she sang "I'm In Love" in a foamy, bubbly bathtub, and then toweled off and writhed around on a bed; the original version was banned in many cities and substituted with an edited version. The provocative film was heavily publicized in Playboy's June 1963 issue, with pictures to prove it.

More Barriers Fall in the Late 50s and 60s:

The 60s were landmark years in the deterioration and liberalization of the Production Code's impositions. Just before the decade dawned, Island in the Sun (1957) chipped away at the Code's restrictions on miscegenation and inter-racial romance. There was a kiss in the inter-racial romance between local West Indian dime store clerk Margot Seaton (Dorothy Dandridge) and the governor's white aide Denis Archer (John Justin) but in another parallel romance, however, there was only the holding of hands (reflecting a double standard regarding the black male) between Joan Fontaine as socialite Mavis Norman and Harry Belafonte as politically-ambitious black union official David Boyeur. Also at the cusp of the new decade, A Summer Place (1959) showed the young lover duo of Sandra Dee and Troy Donahue inheriting illicit sex tendencies of their adulterous parents. Otto Preminger's courtroom drama Anatomy of a Murder (1959) daringly included specific details of a rape in the deliberations, with the shocking-at-the-time, frank words "panties," "sperm," "rape," "contraceptive," and "penetration."

In writer/director/actor and producer Jules Dassin's adult-oriented Never on Sunday (1960), a puritanical, timid, vacationing American scholar attempted to reform and 'save' an earthy Greek prostitute named Ilya (Melina Mercouri), who took off one day every week from her profession. A year earlier, Simone Signoret won the Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of a mistress obsessed by working-class clerk Laurence Harvey in Room at the Top (1959). Elizabeth Taylor won the first of her two Best Actress Academy Awards for her performance as "the slut of all time" - a promiscuous, loose-living prostitute named Gloria Wandrous in Butterfield 8 (1960). Billy Wilder's Best Picture-winning romantic comedy The Apartment (1960) was a treatment of the subject of a lowly clerk's professional advancement through extra-marital, adulterous affairs conducted by his philandering, married executive superiors in his conveniently-located apartment.

Lolita - 1962Stanley Kubrick's loincloth Roman empire epic Spartacus (1960) was heavily censored when first released, due in part to its seductive bath scene between Roman general-statesman Crassus (Laurence Olivier) and Greek slave Antoninus (Tony Curtis), with loaded questions about food/sex preferences: "Do you eat oysters?...Do you eat snails?...Do you consider the eating of oysters to be moral and the eating of snails to be immoral?...My taste includes both snails and oysters." Elia Kazan's Splendor in the Grass (1961) explored the disastrous, traumatizing results of the repression of teenage lusting between Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty - and featured a passionate French kiss. And Kubrick's sixth film Lolita (1962), an adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov's 1953 novel, portrayed the passion of a middle-aged professor (James Mason) for a precocious and seductive nymphet girl (Sue Lyon) with less overt smut than the naughty publicity suggested about its pedophilia.

In Hud (1963), Paul Newman played the title character as a woman-chasing young man who would often pose the same question to women: "The only question I ever ask any woman is, 'What time is your husband coming home?'" The bawdy Best Picture winning British film Tom Jones (1963) told a rollicking tale of a bed-hopping playboy (Albert Finney) with its famed extended foreplay food-eating scene. Billy Wilder's lesser film Kiss Me, Stupid! (1964), now rated PG-13, received a condemned rating from the Production Code for its smutty tale of an opportunist songwriter (Ray Walston) who hired a prostitute (Kim Novak) to impersonate his wife. It was the first condemned rating for an American film since Kazan's Baby Doll (1956).

In Goldfinger (1964), the third James Bond 007 film, Sean Connery delivered one of many double entendres with a phone call excuse that he couldn't be interrupted while lying in bed next to villain Goldfinger's escort Jill Masterson (Shirley Eaton): "I'm sorry, I can't, something big's come up." Of more concern was her ultimate fate -- her naked corpse (painted gold) was discovered on a hotel bed. The film also featured Honor Blackman as sexily-named Bond Girl "Pussy Galore."

The Pawnbroker - 1965Black actress Thelma Oliver (as a black prostitute) revealed her breasts in Sidney Lumet's serious film The Pawnbroker (1965) in a scene of desperation. It was the first exposure in a non-exploitation film in modern times, and thereby broke a specific clause in the Hays Code. This controversial mainstream film was passed uncut by the Production Code Administration (although it was condemned by the Legion of Decency) because of the nudity's context in the film - a serious work about Holocaust-surviving Jewish pawnbroker/husband Sol Nazerman (Rod Steiger) haunted by his Nazi prison camp experiences. It was the first US film to show a woman nude from the waist up that was granted a Production Code seal - ultimately breaking the back of the Production Code's restrictions. In the dated British film Darling (1965), Julie Christie portrayed a cool, emancipated beauty who at one point walks naked through an Italian palace.

Blowup - 1966Another landmark was reached with a significant amount of nudity in Michelangelo Antonioni's stylish murder/thriller Blow-Up (1966, UK/It.), in which mod London photographer David Hemmings seductively pointed his camera at model Verushka, bargained with topless Vanessa Redgrave for a roll of film, and playfully wrestled and romped with two teenage wanna-be models - all scenes that the censors fought over. This was the first instance of clear glimpses or revealing flashes of female pubic hair for American audiences.

The blasphemous profanity (such as "goddamn," "for Christ's sake," "screw," "bastard," "Hump the Hostess," and "son of a bitch") in Mike Nichols' debut film adaptation of Edward Albee's play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) with its brutal sexual tensions between the four characters (and the sado-masochistic, loving-hating, vulgarities-spewing couple of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor) in an all-night drinking fest became a direct challenge to the anti-profanity clauses of the Hays Code. The MPAA ratings board gave the film a seal of approval after Warner Bros. appealed and made a few cuts of the most extreme profanity (such as "Screw you"). It was the first film to be released with a "Suggested for Mature Audiences" warning.

In 1967, a number of mainstream films helped spur the development of a ratings system, with their excessive amounts of explicit profanity. Two films claimed to be the first film to use the four-letter F word: director Joseph Strick's Ulysses (1967) and Michael Winner's I'll Never Forget What's 'Isname (1967, UK) when singer Marianne Faithfull said 'f--k' on-screen. The latter also included a scene that implied oral sex, as did Charlie Bubbles (1967).

The Graduate - 1967Mike Nichols' next film The Graduate (1967), featured a young Dustin Hoffman's illicit and sexy seduction by an older predatory Mrs. Robinson and a simultaneous love affair with her daughter (Katharine Ross) - combining adultery, nudity, and anti-establishment subject matter. Humorously, the young 'graduate' innocently confessed to his girlfriend's mother: "I think you're the most attractive of all my parents' friends." At around the same time, the imported British film Alfie (1966) with Michael Caine (in his first starring role) as a playboyish womanizer also caused a stir regarding its abortion scene. John Huston's Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967) starred Marlon Brando as an impotent (and latent homosexual) Army officer married to Elizabeth Taylor.

Barbarella (1968, Fr/It), a sci-fi fantasy (comic-book) sex-capades comedy from Roger Vadim (featuring his new wife Jane Fonda), was edited to receive a PG rating. It opened with an infamous credits sequence that teasingly stripped 41st century French comic-strip heroine Barbarella (Jane Fonda) of her space-suit outfit in zero gravity. In another scene, the title character made love with the aid of an Orgasmatron - and was sentenced to death by orgasm (delivered by the lethal 'Excessive Machine'). Durand Durand (Milo O'Shea) unsuccessfully attempted to kill Barbarella with pleasure by orgasmically "playing" her with a euphemistic pipe organ ("Sonata for Execution of Various Young Women") - with his aghast reaction to her defeating the machine ("What kind of girl are you?! Have you no shame?!").

Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice - 1969The notorious, fireside nude wrestling match between Alan Bates and Oliver Reed in Ken Russell's homo-erotic D. H. Lawrence adaptation, Women in Love (1969) was remarkable for its time. It was the first explicit scene revealing male genitals in a commercial film. Paul Mazursky's Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969), a 'free-love' sex comedy during the height of the late 60's hedonistic, counter-cultural and sexual revolution, humorously portrayed the subject of open marriage and spouse-swapping. It posed the question: "Consider the Possibilities" and told about encounter groups, permissive sex, countercultural temptation and emotional openness among two affluent adult couples. Bob and Carol Sanders (Robert Culp and Natalie Wood) and their best friends Ted and Alice Henderson (Elliott Gould and Dyan Cannon) had their marital vows of fidelity (and monogamy) challenged during a weekend swinging trip to Las Vegas. Dyan Cannon urged "Orgy, have an orgy" after being asked what she wanted to do. The film was noted for its publicity - a view of couples in bed together discussing either group sex or seeing Tony Bennett. The film ended with the Burt Bacharach song "What the World Needs Now (Is Love, Sweet Love)."

The semi-pornographic Candy (1968), from Buck Henry's and Terry Southern's script, starred Marlon Brando, Richard Burton, Ringo Starr, Walter Matthau, James Coburn, John Huston, and more - as well as nubile blonde Ewa Aulin in a series of sexual exploits, experiments, and strange erotic encounters with men.
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