History of Sex in Cinema:
The Greatest and Most Influential
Sexual Films and Scenes



The History of Sex in Cinema
Title Screens
Movie Title/Year and Film/Scene Description

(Norman Lindsay's) Age of Consent (1969, Australia)

UK director Michael Powell's last theatrical feature film (after he was scandalized and blacklisted for his voyeuristic film Peeping Tom (1960)) was this erotic, escapist romantic comedy-drama that was similar, in part, to Shakespeare's play The Tempest. The screenplay by Peter Yeldham was based upon Norman Lindsay's 1938 autobiographical novel of the same name.

With gorgeous cinematography, including some stunning underwater photography, the film was shot on the small, remote and peaceful Dunk Isle in Australia's Great Barrier Reef area in North Queensland. It was advertised with the taglines:

  • "There Is A Time Of Beauty... There Is A Day Of Yearning... There Is An "AGE OF CONSENT""
  • "Let yourself go...they do!"

The film appeared at a time when a new MPAA ratings system had just been adopted, and the floodgates were opened to more liberated cinematic works. During the opening credits, a nude painting of an island girl (identified later as Cora) stood in for Columbia Pictures' familiar lady with a torch logo.

The plot was about bearded oil painter Bradley Morahan (James Mason) who had become disillusioned and unfulfilled in New York City and decided to return to his native Australia to paint and live an idyllic life in a shack on an offshore island. [Note: Morahan was modeled after real-life, sexually-frank Bohemian artist and writer Norman Lindsay who was the subject of the later film Sirens (1994). Mason's positive role here with an underaged female was in sharp contrast to his appearance as a perverted older man opposite a young nymphette in Stanley Kubrick's Lolita (1962).]

Bradley Morahan (James Mason) in NYC

Arriving at Island With Dog Godfrey

First View of Cora in a Wet Purple Dress - Stealing Food From Bradley at the Dock

The main co-star was young Helen Mirren (22-23 years old at the time of filming) who was appearing in her first major film role. She took the role of teenaged, full-bodied, free-spirited orphan and granddaughter Cora Ryan. The non-pornographic film was not the first major studio feature film to have nude scenes (with full-frontal female nudity), but it was definitely one of the earliest examples.

Cora's Naked Sand Sculpture

Cora Admiring Herself Naked in Front of Mirror

[Note: In the closing credits, Helen Mirren was rightfully identified as a "member of the Royal Shakespeare Company" - she had appeared in its earlier 1968 film production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.] The film's distributor Columbia Pictures edited out most of the topless nudity, and also replaced Peter Sculthorpe's original score, although the film was restored to its original form in 2005 (and released on DVD in 2009).

The half-wild, conniving, uninhibited Cora met Bradley at his shack - and offered to sell him fish she had caught. Later, he caught her stealing (from him and others) and compelled her to promise not to steal anymore ("I want you to promise not to steal anymore!...If you stick to your word, I'll try to help you...I might even get you to pose...half a dollar an hour, take it or leave it") - by suggesting that he would pay her to be his artistic model. His first creative work with her was a sand sculpture of Cora, complete with reddish seaweed pubic hair and coral-shell nipples.

The unabashed Cora posed as his inspirational artistic muse, and was featured in several revealing nude scenes. When she was swimming with her dress on in the ocean - snorkeling (and spear-fishing), Bradley bargained to increase her pay to "a dollar and a half an hour" to strip down while swimming. He painted her nude figure as he watched her from the boat through a square glass viewing box.

Cora (Helen Mirren) Snorkeling and Spearfishing in the Nude

Later, when she was standing in waist-deep water first with her purple dress on, he was dissatisfied with her pose and commanded: "It's the dress. Take it off" - she stripped off her dress to comply and was completely naked as she posed for him. He responded: "That's better. That's good." He was very pleased with the finished painting: "It's better than good, it's alive - and it's all you. You're a great girl, Cora. It's all on account of you." He claimed it was the "best work" he ever did.

In the story, Bradley ran into trouble with Cora's controlling and often gin-swilling, drunken and witchy grandmother Ma Ryan (Neva Carr-Glyn), who accused him of posing the 'underage' Cora in the nude and secretly having Cora prostitute herself. He rightly claimed that it was all innocent: "She posed for me and nothing else" although she threatened blackmail and vowed to turn him into the authorities. Cora's ultimate dream goal was to finance her escape to Brisbane to become a hair stylist, but then found that her grandmother had located her cache of money's hiding spot and stolen it. As Cora struggled with her drunken grandmother to get her money back, Ma Ryan fell off a cliff and broke her neck. Her death was officially regarded as an accident.

Now without her guardian and believing that Bradley was broke, Cora offered him her entire savings ("You need it, it's for you, you've got none left"), but he rejected her liberal offer of both herself and the money: ("You earned it, you're the best model I've ever had - it's got to be the best work I ever did too"). She was upset: "You only want me for the pictures!" - and ran off. He pursued her as she dove into the nighttime surf and screamed out to her:

Bradley: "You've given me back my eyes. You've taught me to love things again, how to be part of life... I'm alive. I'm a part of - it's all because of you, Cora! Cora! And it's all because of you. Don't you understand? Don't you?"
Cora: "What are you going to do about it? (laughs) Aye?"

She popped out of the water, lunged at him to embrace him, and took him under the water with her, as they rolled around together - the film concluded.

Columbia Pictures' Lady With Torch - a Nude Painting

Painting of Nudes Under Title Card

Cora's Drunken Grandmother Ma Ryan

Cora Playfully Posing on the Beach

Sketches of Cora Swimming Naked

Cora (Helen Mirren)

Cora With Her Stolen Money Bag Taken Back From Her Now-Dead Grandmother

Film's Conclusion

(Andy Warhol's) Blue Movie (1969) (aka F**k)

During Andy Warhol's heyday in the 1960s and early 1970s (an era sometimes dubbed as "The Golden Age of Porn" and known for the rise of 'porno chic'), this controversial film was a prime example. The low-budget feature (at about $3,000) was the first erotic, adults-only film with explicit, unsimulated sexual scenes that played in mainstream US theatres. When it was projected in mid-1969 in Warhol's own Garrick Theatre in Greenwich Village for its debut theatrical release, it was seized by police authorities (and charged with being obscene), and three of the staff were arrested.

"Blue Movie" was followed by a second erotic adult film, producer Bill Osco's Mona (1970) (aka Mona: The Virgin Nymph) (see later entry) with a more distinct storyline. Warhol considered his film an inspiration for Bernardo Bertolucci's Last Tango in Paris (1972), another controversial film with a similar plot about a couple who often met for dialogue and sexual intimacy.

The film's title "Blue Movie" had two connotations:

  • a controversial or censored movie
  • a reference to the film's bluish-green tint, due to use of an improper film stock (it was film designed for night-time use or indoor use, but the abundant afternoon sun in the apartment caused the color tinting) - some reproductions turned out brownish-sepia toned

The basically plotless film (with improvised dialogue interrupted by sex scenes) was shot in one locale (a NYC apartment's bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen during one afternoon). It starred two of Warhol's followers, playing themselves:

  • Viva - a prominent Warhol super-star (or "art-worker"), and a frequent guest at Warhol's NYC art studio known as The Factory
  • Louis Waldron

Random topics discussed by the two protagonists included the on-going Vietnam War, air pollution, President Nixon, the police, campus reform, NYC's mayor John Lindsay, and even obtuse subjects such as the use of strychnine in drugs, Franz Kline's paintings, oral sex, praying mantises, vivisection, termites, stamp collecting and the causes of athlete's foot (and gonorrhea).

The heterosexual sex scenes were undoubtedly considered a form of political (and cultural) protest - a sign of the times. They also showered, shared a hamburger meal, horse-played in a bathtub, and watched TV.

The film ended with a profile of Waldron repeating an affirmation of love to Viva (who was in the background): "I love you, I love you, I love you."

Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969)

Co-writer and director Paul Mazursky's social comedy (his directorial debut film) with witty dialogue reflected the 'free love' era of the late 60s sexual revolution. The satirical film was noted for its publicity - a view of couples in bed together readied to experience group sex. Budgeted at $2 million, it was both a critical and commercial success at the box office. Its four non-winning Academy Award nominations were Best Supporting Actor (Elliott Gould), Best Supporting Actress (Dyan Canon), Best Original Screenplay, and Best (Color) Cinematography.

The tagline "Consider the Possibilities" referred to its literate story of:

  • weekend encounter groups and liberalizing group therapy at "The Institute" (a California, Esalen-like retreat center with hot-tubbing, naked yoga and sun-worshipping nudity)
  • permissive and casual sex and a no-guilt approach
  • mate-swapping
  • countercultural temptation
  • emotional openness among affluent adults

At first, the forward-thinking, upper-middle-class married couple of Bob and Carol attended an Esalen-type 'sensitivity training' weekend workshop (along the California coast) and were enlightened by its free and liberated approach to life and sex.

With their best friends, another more stable, uptight and staid married couple (Ted and Alice), they began to challenge their marital vows of fidelity (and monogamy) during a weekend swinging trip to Las Vegas:

  • Bob Sanders (Robert Culp), a Pasadena documentary film-maker
  • Carol Sanders (Natalie Wood), Bob's brunette wife
  • Ted Henderson (Elliott Gould), a lawyer
  • Alice Henderson (Dyan Cannon), Ted's blonde wife

Once they arrived in a shared hotel suite, the two couples decided to have a lengthy discussion about love and sex, and break down their barriers. Although urged not to, Alice drunkenly stated as she started to undress down to her pink bra and bikini panties in the living room - to carry everything to its logical conclusion - that they would have an orgy and sleep together:

"I am being honest! I am doing what I feel like doing...I feel like doing what we came up here to do...Orgy, have an orgy. Orgy. Orgy. Orgy!"

However, Carol noted that they were hindered by being best friends: "Alice, listen, I don't want to sleep with Ted, and Bob does not want to sleep with you." Taking the dare, Alice directly challenged Bob to make love to her: "Would you like to go to bed with me?...Do you want to go to bed with me?...Bob, Bob, could you make love to me? Don't cop out. Can you? Could you?" Ted was also challenged by Bob to take his wife Carol to bed - but he refused: "Absolutely not! Absolutely not! Under no condition!...Of course I find her attractive, and I love her very much, but like my sister."

Carol began to get herself undressed and urged them to pursue their sexual inclinations, arguing that she was getting aroused: ("Alice is absolutely right. We have to be straight about this. Now, I'm beginning to feel something. I'm beginning to feel excited. Now, do you want me to deny that?"). She urged her husband Bob to show his own sexual desire for Alice, as they continued to discuss their anxieties and hopes before proceeding further - but soon were all down to their underwear:

Bob: "Alice I could go to bed with you."
Ted: "Well, I'm not going to bed with anybody."
Carol: "Why Ted, why not?"
Ted: "I know you too well."
Carol: "If Bob says it's all right, and Alice says it's all right, and I say it's all right."
Ted: "It just seems wrong."
Carol: "Oh, It's not. Look, it's just nice feelings, it's something that we've never done before. It's physical fun, it's just sex. Oh, come on, it'll be fun."
Ted: "Well, I do feel aroused. I can't deny that. It would be purely physical."
Carol: "Purely. It would be purely physical. Come on, it'll be fun." (Carol started to undress Ted)
Bob: "She's right, man. It's beautiful. But what the hell is the big deal? We're supposed to experience everything..."
Ted: "First, we'll have an orgy and then we'll go see Tony Bennett."

In the bedroom, Bob had the two women to himself on the bed for awhile, as Ted slowly and nervously prepared himself in the bathroom with mouthwash and deodorant.

After he joined the others, the foursome sat quietly in bed, all naked under the covers (after Ted spent a lot of time shedding his black socks and underwear). They appeared awkwardly nervous and very hesitant, as the camera slowly zoomed in. After a long pause, Ted asked Bob about a financial investment and stock market prices: "Did you put any money into Pitston, Bob?" But then, Bob tentatively kissed Alice, and Ted kissed Carol - although after a few moments of preliminary kissing, both men lost interest and stopped.

They were unable to proceed with their mate-swapping plan - and basically admitted by their actions that they were not very liberated or as 'modern' as they thought. Abruptly, the camera cut to the couples leaving the hotel room.

The Awkward, Climactic Mate-Swapping Encounter in the Same Bed

Repercussions resulted from the liberated sexual experimentation (more disenchanting than genuine), and in the film's much-criticized sappy ending, the couples didn't trade partners or have sex after all, following an abortive attempt (with only brief kissing). The ensemble film ended with the very familiar Burt Bacharach song: "What the World Needs Now (Is Love, Sweet Love)."

Alice (Dyan Cannon)

"Orgy, have an orgy"

Alice Propositioning Bob

Carol (Natalie Wood)

The Foursome in Bed Together

Camille 2000 (1969)

'Porn chic' director Radley Metzger's colorful, glamorous and arty, wide-screen Panavision, sexploitation feature (dubbed, without subtitles), his sixth feature, was an updated, futuristic soft-core version of Alexandre Dumas' 1948 novel and 1852 play -- "The Lady of the Camellias", using the character's names. The nudity in the film did exist, but was mostly tasteful and not explicit - and over-stylized.

Metzger's other well-known 'adult' films included:

  • Therese and Isabelle (1968)
  • The Lickerish Quartet (1970)
  • Score (1974)
  • The Opening of Misty Beethoven (1976)
  • Barbara Broadcast (1977)

This steamy, highly-stylized romance was set in the year 2000 in the hedonistic world of the wealthy in the Italian Mediterranean (in the city of Rome) and involved two lovers:

  • Armand Duval (Nino Castelnuovo), a straight-laced eligible bachelor controlled by his wealthy father (Massimo Serato); Armand insisted on absolute fidelity
  • Marguerite Gautier (Danièle Gaubert), a sensuous, social-climbing, libertine, and alcohol- and drug-using party girl with many suitors to suit her promiscuous nature

In the film's most iconic sequence, after a jet-setter party, Armand and Marguerite began to make love on her circular bed in her mostly-white bedroom with mirrors and clear plastic, inflatable furnishings. The view changed to a top, mirrored-ceiling, reflective vantage point, as the two lay motionless after kissing and making love - possibly metaphorically suggesting her duplicity.

When Armand woke up, he slithered over onto Marguerite's naked body and began to pleasure her with oral sex. The camera began with the focus on her face only (on the left side of the screen in the background). This was juxtaposed with the view of a nearby bouquet of blooming whitish camelias (on the right side in the foreground). The two images went in and out of rack-focus - expressing her delirious, pulsating sexual response (along with the sounds of her heavy, rhythmic breathing).

Mirrored-Ceiling View of the Lovers

The In-and-Out Rack-Focus Orgasmic Scene

Problems arose for the couple when bachelor Armand demanded a monogamous and faithful relationship from the 'kept', evasive and non-committal courtesan Marguerite. He sent her a threatening message written in lipstick on a female Messenger's (Dominique Badou) naked back-side:

"You are a whore! I was an idiot."

The film also featured a very elaborate S&M party, with bedrooms set up as dungeons or jailrooms, and men and women chained to each other.

Participants in S&M Party

Marguerite met her end in the film's tragic conclusion in a white hospital room within an oxygen tent.

Marguerite Gautier (Daniele Gaubert)

Olympe (Silvana Venturelli)
at Decadent Jet-Setter Party

Marguerite Before and During Love-Making Scene

Marguerite Discovered by Armand Cheating with Someone Else

Message For Cheating Marguerite: "YOU ARE A WHORE! I WAS AN IDIOT"

The Damned (1969, It./W.Germ.) (aka La Caduta Degli Dei, or Fall of the Gods)

Director Luchino Visconti's controversial film (originally rated X due to its subject matter) told a melodramatic story, with many allegorical historical connections to sexual perversions and destructiveness (incest, pedophilia, immorality, homosexuality, murder, drug addiction and suicide).

The drama told its story through a soap opera chronicling of the moral disintegration and dysfunctionality of one wealthy, upper-crust industrial family during the Nazi's rise to power in the early to mid 1930s. The main characters related to the Von Essenbeck family were:

  • Baron Joachim Von Essenbeck (Albrecht Schonhals), involved with the Nazis and murdered in the early stages of the film
  • Sophie Von Essenbeck (Ingrid Thulin), the widow of the Baron's only son, a scheming, ruthless and power-hungry matriarchal figure
  • Martin Von Essenbeck (Helmut Berger), a decadent, over-the-top anti-hero character, and the future heir; he was a dope-addicted, degenerate, sexually-aberrant pedophile, and transvestite teenager (he performed a drag routine on-stage, imitating Marlene Dietrich in Blue Angel in one early sequence, at his father's birthday party concert)
  • Constantin Von Essenbeck (Rene Koldehoff), Sophie's brother, Brown Shirt SA Officer
  • Frederick Bruckmann (Dirk Bogarde), Sophie's lover, the opportunistic manager of the Essenbeck's steelworks business

When Sophie made love to Frederick, she expressed her wish to get married very soon: "You and I together, forever."

Martin molested a poor young Jewish girl named Lisa (Irina Wanka) after kissing her (off-screen) (ahd she tragically hanged herself). He also incestuously raped his own mother Sophie after telling her of his tremendous hate for her: "I will destroy you, Mother." He threw off his own clothes, then ripped her dress from her body. Afterwards, they laid in each other's arms and caressed each other.

The centerpiece of the film was the restaging of the historical bloodbath massacre of Brown Shirt SA soldiers (in June 1934) called "Night of the Long Knives." It occurred after a surreal drunken orgy (equated with Nazi evil) of the homosexual soldiers - who had been skinny-dipping in the lake during the day, wildly carousing with naked women, dancing in female underwear at a lakeside resort, and then retiring to various bedrooms to sleep naked together. The soldiers were dragged from sleep and gunned down in large numbers.

The Decadent Orgy and Bloodbath Massacre

Martin (in drag) (Helmut Berger)

Martin (with young Lisa)

Sophie (with Frederick)

Sophie (with Martin)

Easy Rider (1969)

The generation-defining, youth-oriented, counter-cultural road film classic Easy Rider (1969) by director Dennis Hopper (his debut film) was a late 1960s tale of a search for freedom (or the illusion of freedom) in a conformist and corrupt America, in the midst of paranoia, bigotry and violence. The story contained sex, drugs, casual violence, a sacrificial tale (with a shocking, unhappy ending), and a pulsating rock and roll soundtrack reinforcing or commenting on the film's themes.

It told about two motorcyclist biker outlaws (drug-dealers), who embarked on a coast-to-coast odyssey across America:

  • "Captain America" Wyatt (Peter Fonda), cool and introspective, riding on a gleaming, silver-chromed low-riding bike with a 'stars-and-stripes' tear-drop gas tank, wearing a tight leather pants held at the waist by a round belt-buckle and a black leather jacket with an American flag emblazoned on the back; also with a 'stars-and-stripes' helmet
  • Billy the Kid (Dennis Hopper), mustached and shaggy, long-haired with a tan-colored bush hat, fringed buckskin jacket, shades, and an Indian necklace of animals' teeth

The film featured many views of alternate or radical lifestyles:

  • marijuana smoking
  • hippie life in a Southwest commune, including skinny-dipping with Sarah (Sabrina Scharf) and Lisa (Luana Anders)
  • sex in a New Orleans bordello with hookers, and a psychedelic trip in a nearby graveyard with two prostitutes: Karen (Karen Black) and Mary (Toni Basil)
Skinny-Dipping with
Commune Members

Sarah (Sabrina Scharf)

Lisa (Luana Anders)

New Orleans Prostitute Mary (Toni Basil)

Karen (Karen Black)

The Gypsy Moths (1969)

Director John Frankenheimer's and MGM's fairly-slow action-melodrama was titled for its trio of amateur barn-storming skydivers, in a tale based upon James Drought's novel. The tagline emphasized the danger and risk of the sport for the troupe of 'gypsy moths' - allegorically drawn to a burning flame:

"When the ground comes up at you like a sledge-hammer...when the sweat freezes on your brow...when jumping isn't only a way to live, but a way to die, too... you're a Gypsy Moth."

During a Fourth of July weekend during a hot summer (with plentiful thunderstorms), a daredevil acrobatic troupe entertained and thrilled residents of the small Midwestern town of Bridgeville, Kansas with a spectacular air-show (filmed with dazzling aerial cinematography).

It was reported that traditional English star Deborah Kerr decided to go topless in this film, during the era of "The New Hollywood" - (with greater permissiveness), to allegedly compete with younger actresses who were willing to bare it all. Her disrobing was remarkable and notable -- it was the first feature film in which an established and respected actress nearly 50 years of age was performing a nude scene.

[Note: It was famous for being a 'quasi-reprise' of a scene filmed 16 years earlier between the same two stars Lancaster and Kerr, when they were making adulterous love in the Hawaiian surf. Now, the two were 56 and 48 years old respectively.]

One-Night Stand on Sofa Between Mike (Burt Lancaster) and Elizabeth (Deborah Kerr

In the sex scene (after a long meandering walk through town to a playground), brooding, stoic and quiet lead skydiver Mike Rettig (Burt Lancaster) ended the evening with a one-night stand on the sofa in the living room of Elizabeth Brandon (Deborah Kerr). The repressed, bored middle-aged woman was stuck in a loveless and unhappy marriage with her cold-hearted husband John Brandon (William Windom). She was also the married Aunt of the youngest skydiver in the group, a 22 year-old local boy named Malcolm "The Kid" Webson (Scott Wilson). She told how 12 years earlier, she had reluctantly given Malcolm up for adoption when his parents died in a car crash - Elizabeth had wanted to keep Malcolm, but her husband refused ("John didn't want him").

Slightly earlier in the film, the skydivers' talkative business manager Joe Browdy (a young Gene Hackman) was at the local Paradise Club with his two buddies having beers, and flirting with the waitress Mary (Sheree North). Then after she ascended onto the stripper stage and began performing a Go-Go Girl number topless (with pink pasties on her busty figure), he watched her intently. Afterwards, they had a quickie in a motel, although she fell asleep after sex when he began talking about his future:

"One of these days, I'm gonna cut out, I'm gonna go out to Hollywood. I'm gonna get me a job as one of those stuntmen - and make good dough. I know that for a fact....I'm not gonna be doin' this forever. I have plans."

The film's startling and unsatisfying conclusion was ambiguous, unclear, and unexplained - there was no reason for Mike Rettig to fall to his death when he opted to not open his chute during the Cape Stunt on Sunday, July 3rd, in full view of the stands of spectators, except that he possibly had an inexplicable suicidal 'death wish' or became delirious and thought he was flying. In Rettig's honor during a memorial show the next day on the July 4th holiday, "The Kid" performed the same stunt in front of the crowd, and scared audiences when he pulled his rip-cord at the last possible moment.

In the film's denouement, Mike's two partners decided to part ways - Malcolm was awaiting a train at the station, while Browdy was headed westward: ("I thought I might head west"). Elizabeth had been unwilling to forsake her life and marriage to 'fly' away with Mike during their affair as a way out of her life, and in the last scene (in the film's final lines) confessed to her husband:

Elizabeth: "He wanted me to go with him."
John: "Did he?"
Elizabeth: "The thought terrified me."
John: "And me."

Elizabeth (Deborah Kerr) with Mike (Burt Lancaster)

Go-Go Girl Stripper (Mary) (Sheree North) with Browdy (Gene Hackman)

Death of Mike Rettig - Accident or Deliberate?

Elizabeth: "He wanted me to go with him...The thought terrified me"

Language of Love (1969, Swe.) (aka Ur Kärlekens språk, or Swedish Marriage Manual)

This 80 minute long European film by director Torgny Wickman, a subtitled X-rated pornographic film, was an educational 'sex documentary.' It was part of a trend in the late 1960s to circumvent censorship laws by presenting explicit sexual content in the guise of a documentary or science-oriented educational film.

However, it was a very controversial film (judged as obscene) when it was banned and protested against worldwide, and seized by US Customs officials in October of 1969.

The Swedish-made film featured a panel of well-known serious sex-experts or sexperts (modeled after researchers Masters and Johnson):

  • Dr. Sture Cullhed (as Himself), a Swedish gynecologist
  • Dr. Maj-Brith Bergstrom-Walan (as Herself), a Swedish psychologist-educator
  • Inge and Sten Hegeler (as Themselves), Danish psychologists-authors

They directly spoke about a number of explicit but educational sexual matters, including male and female sexual organs (and their functioning), petting, masturbation, reproductive contraceptives, and more (some scenes in split-screen).

Willing volunteers (filmed discreetly with hidden cameras) provided views of the experts' dialogue - some very hard-core. There was a lengthy segment about a gynecologist's normal practice, and some preaching about the role of sex in society and how a healthy sex drive shouldn't be considered prurient.

The vilified film became noteworthy, because it was the film that Robert De Niro inappropriately chose for his date with Cybill Shepherd in Taxi Driver (1976).

Ur Karlekens Sprak
(aka Language of Love, or Swedish Marriage Manual (1969))

Last Summer (1969)

Director Frank Perry's insightful, probing, and realistic beach film (unlike the Beach Party films earlier in the decade) was about angst-ridden, self-doubting adolescent youth. The tagline described:

"Last summer was too beautiful to forget...and too painful to remember."

The film daringly explored teenage interest and curiosity about sex (and petting), pot experimentation, and revealing games of 'absolute truth or dare.' It was originally rated X by the MPAA when it was first released, but after some cuts were made to the infamous rape scene, the film's rating was changed to an R.

It told about three affluent teens (a teen love triangle) who first met during a Fire Island, New York summer vacation, while the female was tending to a wounded, half-dead seagull:

  • Sandy (Barbara Hershey), a tanned and pretty brunette, domineering, promiscuous and independent
  • Peter (Richard Thomas), sensitive
  • Dan (Bruce Davison), brash

In one scene while relaxing on a boat out on the water, frustrated Sandy chided Peter - annoyed with his sexual obsession over her breasts and how he incessantly stared at them:

Sandy: "God, if you're gonna be thinking about my breasts all the goddamn time!"
Peter (defensively): "I don't think about them all the goddamn time. I was just thinking about 'em now."

He asked her to take off her top - she obliged - and then after getting a brief glimpse of her breasts, he told her to put the top back on.

The trio was forever altered with the arrival of a troubled late-comer, 15 year-old outsider Rhoda (Oscar-nominated Catherine Burns), a slightly plump, homely and self-conscious awkward teen. During the film's best acted scene, Rhoda delivered a monologue recalling her mother's death by drowning.

Sandy Sexually Challenging Rhoda

During a scene of sexual challenge and coming-of-age after Rhoda was tested to buy and wear a new bikini, everyone was in a forest clearing drinking Heineken beer. Bikinied Sandy poured beer over her breasts (exclaimed: "That's better"), and then defiantly removed her bikini top and took another swig of beer. Her subsequent conversation with rival Rhoda was combative and daring:

Sandy: "What's wrong?"
Rhoda: "Nothing."
Sandy: "You look like you're gonna choke."
Dan: "Is she gonna swallow her braces?" (Rhoda and then Sandy stood up.)
Sandy: "Where are you going?"
Rhoda: "Home."
Sandy: "Don't go, we want you to stay. Peter wants you to stay."
Rhoda: "Here, put your top on, Sandy."
Sandy: "Why?"
Rhoda: "They can see."
Sandy: "So what?"
Dan: "Why don't you take yours off, Rhoda?"
Sandy: "That's a super idea." (Rhoda was blocked from leaving)
Rhoda: "Peter?"
Sandy: "Do it, Rhoda."
Rhoda: "Peter?"
Peter: "Do it, Rhoda."
Rhoda: "Peter, please."
Peter: "Do it."
Sandy: "Let me see what you've got to show."

The group held her down, completely ripped off her bikini, and Rhoda (who vainly begged Peter to stop them) was forced to endure a collective rape by Dan. Afterwards, as Rhoda laid motionless on the ground, the other three dressed, and stood facing away from their victim. The film ended ambiguously and abruptly, with the group walking up the beach - during their last summer of innocence.

Sandy (Barbara Hershey)

The Collective Rape of Rhoda (Catherine Burns)

Love Camp 7 (1969)

This sleazy "women in prison" sexploitation film by director Lee Frost, inaugurating a new subgenre of Nazi prison camp sexploitation films, emerged in the era of greater permissiveness after the abolition of the Production Code in the late 60s. This film inspired other WIP films of the next decade, all taking the perversions to greater heights:

  • Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS (1975, Can.), the infamous first film in a series, bigger-budgeted
  • Salon Kitty (1976, It./W.Germ./Fr.), by director Tinto Brass
  • The Gestapo's Last Orgy (1977, It.) (aka Last Orgy of the Third Reich)
  • Nazi Love Camp 27 (1977, It.) (aka La Svastica Nel Ventre)

Supposedly based on fact, the movie told of a Nazi concentration camp during WWII with a sadistic Commandant (the film's producer Bob Cresse). The film's marketing described the love camp: "A Place of Total Despair. All the Youthful Beauty of Europe Enslaved for the Pleasure of the Third Reich." It was replete with full frontal female nudity (advertised as "the film that goes beyond X").

The story told about an attempted rescue mission by two big-busted WAC officers, Lt. Grace Freeman (Kathy Williams) and Lt. Linda Harman (Maria Lease). The duo volunteered to become inmates, suffer the indignities and horrors of the prison, and help break Jewish prisoner - female scientist Dr. Martha Grossman out of the camp, and then be rescued by the French Resistance.

When new female prisoners were inducted into the prison, they were forced to strip, then medically inspected and humiliated. They were held down and spread-eagled, as the commandant sarcastically asked the newest inmate, before whipping her:

"What seems to be the matter, Ms. Strasburg. You don't like your first day in Love Camp 7? I promise you, it's going to be a lot worse than this. This is only a beginning."

Its sensational content included orgies, bondage, S & M, rape, floggings (Linda was ferociously strung up by her wrists and whipped with the Commandant's (Bob Cresse) riding crop), brutalities with a fire hose in the shower, and forced lesbianism, due to the fact that the inmates were made to be prostitutes for off-duty German officers of the Reich's Front Line. They were also tortured and compelled to engage as unpaid sex slaves in perverse experiments and sexual depravity, including engaging in a nude, lesbian-love orgy for the officers' entertainment.

Torture and Humiliation of the Inmates: Linda Harman's (Maria Lease) Inspection and Whipping

The film ended with the inmates' escape, as they brutally killed their captors by stabbing, blinding by broken glass, bashing by liquor bottle, and gunshot.

WAC Lts: Linda (Maria Lease) and Grace (Kathy Williams)

Medium Cool (1969)

Director Haskell Wexler's fictional, experimental, and groundbreaking cinema verite docudrama film told about John Cassellis (Robert Forster) - a jaded news cameraman who worked against the backdrop of the actual 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago.

The absorbing political drama about current events (at the time) and the role of the media was originally rated X (later re-rated to R a year later) because of violence, language and brief nudity.

It was the first mainstream American feature film to show full male and female nudity - although the director battled Paramount and the censorship board. He allegedly believed the film was Rated X for its controversial political tone and frequent obscenities rather than specifically for its nudity.

In the frequently-noted scene with very brief full-frontal nudity, John romped and ran nude around an apartment with sultry nurse and girlfriend Ruth (Marianna Hill).

Later, he became involved with widowed Eileen (Verna Bloom), a single mother from Appalachia who lost her husband in the Vietnam War, and soon was transformed from complacency to socially-conscious and aware.

Ruth (Marianna Hill)

Midnight Cowboy (1969)

Director John Schlesinger's film Midnight Cowboy (1969) was a major milestone - this was the first (and only) X-rated (for adult-oriented, not porno) mainstream film (later reduced to R) to be voted Best Picture, with its A-list stars.

Its adult-themed story told of a naive, swaggering, transplanted male Texan named Joe Buck (Jon Voight) who struggled in the sordid 42nd Street area of NY to become a successful hustler or gigolo. Upon his arrival in the big city, he vainly posed shirtless in front of his hotel room's mirror, and pasted up a beefcake poster of Paul Newman from Hud and a picture of a topless woman.

Sex with Joe Buck's First "Trick" - Cass (Sylvia Miles)

His first 'trick' was fast-talking society girl Cass (Best Supporting Actress nominee Sylvia Miles) in a comedic sex scene in which they humorously activated channels with the TV remote control beneath their bodies - the climax came with the closeup view of the winning results of a slot machine jackpot - spewed-out coins.

The Texas stud was befriended by a limping and coughing homeless thief named Ratso Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman) and they experienced an unspoken homosexual relationship together which included frequent bickering.

Joe's first homosexual client was a religiously fanatical and homosexual Jesus-freak Christian named Mr. O'Daniel (John McGiver) - during the encounter, Joe flashbacked to his boyhood when he was baptized in a river, and an incident when rednecks viciously assaulted him and his former girlfriend Annie (Jennifer Salt) - he was held down (and anally raped?) as his naked girlfriend was also attacked.

Another homosexual client was a bespectacled young student (Bob Balaban) in a movie theatre. While experiencing oral sex from the client, Joe had memories of kissing and making love with Annie ("You're the only one, Joe...Kiss me, Joe, kiss me"). In another nightmare regarding Annie, he also remembered her saying - as the authorities arrived: "He's the one. He's the only one" - implying something more sinister.

Homosexual and Heterosexual Images Juxtaposed
Joe with Young Student
Joe with Annie

Joe took stoned socialite Shirley (Brenda Vaccaro) to bed for his first successful heterosexual score with a paying female client ($20). At first, though, he suffered sexual inadequacy until angered when she teasingly suggested that he was gay: ("Gay, fey. Is that your problem, baby?") - and then he performed vigorously. Afterwards by phone, she recommended his studly services to an unhappily-married female friend.

Joe Buck (Jon Voight)

Joe with Ratso

Joe with Mr. O'Daniel

Annie (Jennifer Salt)

Joe with Shirley (Brenda Vaccaro)

100 Rifles (1969)

This late 60s western from director Tom Gries featured a strikingly-beautiful star - Raquel Welch as rebellious Yaqui Indian guerrilla leader Sarita.

The curvaceous sex-star was featured in a steamy inter-racial love scene (reportedly the first of its kind) - a 60's era issue brought to the screen, with former National Football League player/Hall-of-Famer Jim Brown as Arizona lawman Lyedecker.

In another scene, she showered from a railroad water tank through her skin-tight, bra-less clothing to create a diversion during an ambush upon a trainload of distracted Mexican soldiers.

Sarita (Raquel Welch)

Ride a Wild Stud (1969)

This 'adults-only' sexploitation western set in the Civil War era, directed by Revilo Ekard (reversed as Oliver Drake) was an odd cult film that was one of only three-produced films from the short-lived studio Vega International. Its well-distributed poster showed the naked backside of a woman (with garter belt and stockings) who was being carried by cowpokes and forcibly placed on a table.

It was advertised with the tagline:

"When Men Were Men and Women Didn't Forget It."

The graphic, soft-core film told about how Confederate outlaw bandit William "Colonel" Quantrill (Bill Ferrill) and his raiders in Kansas and Missouri during the Civil War kidnapped, forcibly raped and imprisoned women in a brothel (the infamous "Pleasure House of Quantrill").

In the opening scene - a pursuit and shoot-out, Quantrill cornered gang traitor Burt Wilson (Chuck Alford), then kidnapped his virginal young daughter, heroine Marsha Wilson (Josie Kirk). After Wilson was shot dead, Marsha's older sister (Helga Hanshue) was stripped, assaulted and held down on a bed and raped. When she resisted, she fled outside to mount a horse and escape, but was shot in the back and killed. The gunslinger calmly told his gang: "All right, men, the fun's over. Let's go!"

Forcible Rape and Murder of Wilson's Older Sister

Nightly in the whorehouse, there were exotic dancers, wild parties, and orgies. In the brothel, Marsha was told what was to be expected by Quantrill's madame Irene (C. C. Chase) and one of the other abductees:

"We're all brought here to entertain him and his men, some by choice, some by force like you...There's no way to escape, the hideout is too well-guarded."

Those girls who wouldn't 'adjust' would be taken out to the desert and "they just never came back."

In the middle section of the western in a very lengthy and gratuitous sequence, Quantrill pursued a busty female in the desert, eventually forcing her to succumb to his rape-attack. At one point, she appeared to be enjoying his man-handling, until he strangled her to death, and left her nude body on a blanket.

Shortly later, Marsha suffered a vicious and threatening sexual attack by one of Quantrill's gang members, Bill Doolen (Frenchy Le Boyd) at the Pleasure House. When Irene intervened to save her, Irene was murdered. After being raped, Marsha was able to steal and horse for her escape. During the film's most publicized rape scene, Doolen again pursued Marsha on horseback, caught up to her, and raped her in a mountain stream.

Two Rapes of Marsha by Doolen
In Pleasure House
In Mountain Stream

Eventually, she was rescued by her cowboy boyfriend Mike McDermott (Hale Williams) and the females were able to fight off Doolen and stab him to death in the abdomen, before Marsha ended up in Mike's arms.

Kidnapping of Marsha Wilson (Josie Kirk)

Whoring in Quantrill's Pleasure House

Gratuitous Nudity and Rape-Murder Sequence

Ending: Marsha Rescued by Mike

Satyricon (1969, It./Fr.) (aka Fellini Satyricon, or The Degenerates)

Best Director-nominated Federico Fellini's R-rated fantasy epic was a colorful, visually-rich, and bizarre depiction of pre-Christian, 1st Century Rome and its pagan debauchery and sexual decadence (based on a satirical, degenerate and bawdy work by Petronius). Events and individuals were depicted in a series of fragmented mythical tales. The opening image was of a wall covered with ancient Roman graffitti and crudely drawn naked women.

The visually-excessive story (told in a fractured series of episodes) was essentially the detailed homoerotic and contentious adventures of two young Roman men (who were students and roommates) - and both sexual rivals for their slave boy as they traveled across the Mediterranean (Roman Empire). The love triangle was composed of:

  • Encolpio (Martin Potter), blonde, blue-eyed - the film's principal narrator
  • Ascilto (Hiram Keller)
  • Gitone (Max Born), comely, androgynous
Encolpio (Martin Potter)
Ascilto (Hiram Keller)

As it turned out, Ascilto had sold Gitone to a famous actor named Vernacchio (Fanfulla) and his theater company, and Gitone was performing in a play titled "Emperor's Miracle." In the play, a real life slave had his hand cut off with an axe, fortunately replaced with a golden one.

The fragmentary film was filled with repulsive and often grotesque characters and images during Encolpio's odyssey, including:

  • the public amputation of the hand of a slave, in Vernacchio's staged play
  • after the reclaiming of Gitone by Encolpio, their stroll to their tenement building through a subterranean Roman brothel named the Lupanare, with many prostitutes selling wares, including an obese jiggly female
  • after arriving in the tenement, a scene of homosexual love-making between Encolpio and Gitone
  • the scene of an earthquake that destroyed the tenement
  • the excessive, debauched banquet feast at the villa of wealthy host and amateur poet Trimalchio (Mario Romagnoli) (and plagiarist) where revelers in unison jumped up and down naked in a bath (surrounded by candles), and the host suicidally enacted his own death in a ceremony (soon after followed by his dutiful wife)
  • after being imprisoned on a pirate-slave ship owned by evil slave trader Lica (Alain Cuny), Encolpio's Greco-Roman wrestling match with Lica; then, the sequence of Encolpio's mock same-sex marriage to Lica (dressed as a female) in an elaborate ship-board ceremony, blessed by Lica's wife Trifena (Capucine)
  • the stabbing-suicide of teenaged, reclusive Roman Emperor (a woman in drag)
  • an eating binge, bath-wrestle, and sexual threesome romp in an abandoned villa - while served and waited upon by a receptive, topless Ethopian slave girl (Hylette Adolphe), but then followed by homosexual love-making between the two lads Encolpio and Alcilto
A Young Ethiopian Slave Girl (Hylette Adolphe)
  • the scene of Ascilto partnering up with a sickly, crazed and sexually-insatiable nymphomaniac tied down and spread-eagled in a covered wagon by her distraught and forlorn husband wishing to placate her
The Sickly Insatiable Nymphomaniac Tied Inside Back of a Wagon
  • the kidnapping of an albino, pallid-looking hermaphrodite ("He little girl, but boy too"), worshipped at the Temple of Ceres as a healing demi-god and fortune-teller; after the god was kidnapped, he/she died of thirst in the desert
  • Encolpio's fight with a gladiator's costumed and masked Minotaur during the festival of Momus, the God of Laughter; the crowd in the arena rewarded the pardoned Encolpio with the gift of copulation with a whore-priestess Ariadne on an altar
  • due to his punishment for the demi-god's death, Encolpio became impotent and was unable to make love to the frustrated Ariadne on a large altar ("Hey, what are you doing? You might as well be dead?"); he was called a "squashed worm," was kicked off and humiliated before spectators, and punished via the whipping of his buttocks
  • after drinking a potion and praying ("I have to succeed"), Encolpio was brought to a cursed young woman whose genitalia kindled fires; Encolpio was cured when he recovered his male sexual virility and became erect with her, and subsequently made love to the corpulent old Earth Mother black sorceress Oenothea (Donyale Luna), a sex therapist; triumphant, Encolpio walked off through a field with a giant stone phallus
The Angry Whore Priestess Ariadne
Flaccid Encolpio Kicked Off Sex Altar
Buttocks Whipping As Punishment

The film's last voice-over ended mid-sentence followed by a freeze-frame, and a pull-back shot to view frescoes-paintings of the film's major figures on large vertical fragmented and crumbling slabs of rock.

Final Freeze-Frame Images

Actor Vernacchio (Fanfulla) with Gitone

Amputation of Slave's Hand in Staged Play

Obese Prostitute in Brothel

Homosexual Love-Making Between Encolpio and Gitone

Revelers in Bath in Banquet Feast Scene

Ship-Board Wedding

Death of Caesar

Homosexual Love-Making After Romp With Slave Girl

The Hermaphrodite

The Minotaur Gladiator

Young Cursed Woman With Genitalia That Kindled Fires and Encolpio's Virility

Earth-Mother Sorceress Oenothea

Giant Phallus

The Stewardesses (1969)

This gimmicky sexploitation film from writer/director/producer Al Silliman Jr. was the first soft-core (actually hard-core adult film) 3D (Stereovision) feature film. In some cases, body parts (often breasts) literally jutted off the screen.

It was followed by the sequel The Naughty Stewardesses (1975).

Its tagline was:

"See the lusty stewardesses leap from the screen onto your lap"

The comedy was an instant success and even had mainstream appeal for mixed audiences. The sketchy plot was about an 18-hour layover of a 747 crew after a Los Angeles-Honolulu trip. It mostly featured the sexual activities (partying, sleeping around promiscuously, taking drugs, etc.) of various perky actresses in often poorly-acted scenes. First shown in 1969 and unique for any film, it was reshot and edited as it was shown for a few more years.

The Stewardesses (off-duty)
Tina (Paula Erikson)
Wendy (Janet Wass)
Cindy (Beth Shields)
Karen (Patricia Fein)

It became the most profitable 3-D film in history (a budget of about $100K brought in box-office of approx. $25-30 million), although eventually superseded by Avatar (2009). It was originally released with a self-imposed X-rating (although it was actually only soft-core), then re-cut for an R, and finally released again in 1981 as a porno film with hardcore inserts of completely different actors.

With the requisite heterosexual love scenes and gratuitous nudity, as well as acid-dropping and nude yoga, there was also one steamy lesbian scene between head stewardess Jo Peters (Angelique De Moline) and Cathy (Kathy Ferrick), and blonde stewardess Karen (after a shower and while under the influence of acid) made love to a Greek god bust-headed lamp!

The film had a startling moralistic ending -the murder-suicide of aspiring actress Samantha (Christina Hart) who believed abusive ad executive Colin Winthrop's (Michael Garrett) false promises about a career as a model for toothpaste. She smashed in his skull with a statuette while he slept and then jumped to her death from his high-rise balcony. The conclusion saw the group of stewardesses back at work.

Ursella (Monica Gayle) - Nude Yoga

Cathy (Kathy Ferrick) -
Nude Lesbian Massage and Seduction by Jo
(Angelique De Moline)

Karen (Patricia Fein) - Sex with a Lamp

Venus in Furs (1969, UK/W.Germ./It.) (aka Paroxismus)

Trashy director Jesus Franco's erotic, campy thriller/horror film was a lushly-visualized, dreamlike, psycho-sexual film noted as "A Masterpiece of Supernatural Sex." The bizarre film told about a vengeful and malevolent femme fatale in a zone between life and death who came back from death to avenge her own murder - a film that undoubtedly had a great influence on David Lynch:

The opening bookending sequence was set on an Istanbul Black Sea beach, where jazz musician trumpeter Jimmy Logan (James Darren) was searching for his buried musical instrument case in the sand. In voice-over, he told his story:

"It all began last year her in Istanbul on the shore of the Black Sea, or at least I think it did, because at the time, I wasn't quite sure what was real and what wasn't. (He dug up his trumpet case from the sand). I tried not to remember why I buried my horn. It was like burying my life. But I had to find it, and dig it up and keep running. Musicians will understand. A guy like me without a horn is like, well, a man without words."

After he found his trumpet and began playing it, he discovered in the surf the naked, mutilated blonde female corpse of Wanda Reed (Maria Rohm), wearing only panties and purple garters. He dragged her to the sand from the water and noted: "She was beautiful, even though she was dead." He observed a deep slicing cut above her left breast. He tried to recall when he had last seen her:

"There was a connection between us. Maybe it was that jet-set party? Was it last week... or last month... or last year? When you don't know where you're at, man, I'll tell ya, time is like the ocean. You can't hold onto it."

He remembered a jet-set party in a hotel lounge where he had regularly played in the band. He recalled that he was mesmerized by her when she arrived in a fur coat with a sexy red dress underneath ("I really dug that chick") but she was out of his league, and was involved with a trio of bourgeois individuals. During a decadent rough party and sex game held in the basement, he watched at a distance as the unwilling Wanda was stripped and mercilessly whipped. Jimmy thought to himself in voice-over: "Man it was a wild scene, like if they wanted to go that route, it was their bag. I told myself it was none of my business but maybe I split because I was just as sick as they were, but couldn't face up to it." He realized that he had seen the prelude to her murder. Ahmed first cut her with a long dagger, vampiristically drank her blood, and then stabbed her to death.

Her sadistic killers and brutalizers, three of the hotel's glamorous guests, were:

  • Percival Kapp (Dennis Price) - a middle-aged pianist and art dealer
  • Olga (Margaret Lee) - a bitchy, lesbian fashion photographer
  • Ahmed Kortobawi (Klaus Kinski) - a kinky, millionaire playboy (the one who stabbed her)

Jimmy even pondered as he played his trumpet on the beach that he himself might be dead - because he hadn't stepped in to save Wanda: "How can you run from a dead person unless you’re dead yourself?" He escaped, wandered about with the thought of the murder on his mind, and traveled to Rio de Janeiro (during Carnivale), to play a gig in a nightclub and to be with his dark-skinned, soul singer girlfriend/lover Rita (Barbara McNair).

There, he became entranced after he witnessed the mysterious, supernatural return of a doppelganger who resembled Wanda - she appeared naked under a mink coat ("Venus in Furs"). He made love to her, and spoke about her strange behavior when she said she didn't know who or where she was: "Oh, I see. No names, no dates, and no stories. This is the beginning of the end." She responded: "For me, everything ended a long time ago" - referring to her murder in Istanbul. Jimmy asked himself: "Was I dead or was I alive?"

Wanda's Three Murders to Avenge Her Own Death

Wanda Mysteriously Reappeared to Percival in a Dark Wig and Fur Coat

Guilt-Ridden Olga Slitting Her Wrists in Bathtub

Wanda as Slave Girl Torturing and Murdering Ahmed

It was revealed in the supernatural sub-plot that the ethereal Wanda - "Venus in Furs" (wearing a dark wig and fur coat, but at times reverting to her true, dead and mangled, mutilated post-mortem state), was a lethal, 'avenging angel.' Three appearances of Wanda seeking revenge were envisioned:

  • in his piano-playing mirror-lined room, Percival watched as Wanda touched her own breasts and nipples under her fur coat; he died from sexual over-stimulation and a heart attack
  • Wanda and Olga engaged in a topless photo-shoot and lesbian love-making scene, when Wanda suddenly reverted back to her mortal state; guilt-ridden about killing Wanda, Olga slit her wrists in a bathtub (and folded her arms over her breasts) and bled to death while begging for forgiveness from Wanda for murdering her: ("Please forgive me, please"); afterwards, there was the haunting image of Wanda walking down stairs after Olga's avenged murder, dragging her fur coat behind her
  • Wanda and Jimmy (without Rita) returned to Istanbul, where Jimmy promised her: "I'll never leave you, ever"; there, Ahmed told a tale to Wanda, seen in re-enactment, about an ancient Turkish caliph or sheik in his palace who became enamoured by an ancient slave girl from another province; he enjoyed torturing her until she made a deal with him - she reversed the situation and sado-masochistically tortured him as her slave for 24 hours: ("Now, you have to obey me"); as Wanda and Ahmed acted out the tale of master/slave, Ahmed was bound up and was masochistically hanged to death by a rope (after also seeing a vision of Wanda's dead face)
  • in the cheap plot twist ending, it was revealed that Wanda was indeed dead; Jimmy located her burial cemetery and grave site, with a sad eulogy etched on her gravestone (and her fur coat draped over it); the eulogy read: "WANDA REED: A young beautiful stranger washed on to our friendly shores, with only death as a companion. May she find peace in her final resting place"; there were also glimpses of Olga, Ahmad, and Percival locked in a red room with Wanda's savaged corpse on the floor
  • in a repeat of the opening sequence, as Jimmy was walking along the Istanbul beach-shore again while playing his trumpet, he discovered a body washed onto the sand - it was his own corpse (he exclaimed: "Oh, my God, it's me! I'm dead! I've been dead all the time!")
Twist Ending: Jimmy Discovering His Own Corpse on Beach
  • after a zoom pull-back, the final image - the use of John Donne's sonnet quote that ended Val Lewton's The Seventh Victim (1943):

    "I run to death, and death meets me as fast and all my pleasures are like yesterday."

Jazz Trumpeter Jimmy Discovered Wanda Reed's Corpse on Beach Near Istanbul

Wanda in Fur Coat - At Jet-Set Party Before Her Murder

Jimmy Witnessing Wanda's Stripping, Whipping & Murder by Olga, Percival, and Ahmed

Wanda's Love-Making with Jimmy

Wanda Appearing to Percival

Wanda's Photo-shoot with Lesbian Fashion Photographer Olga

Wanda as Avenging "Venus in Furs" After Olga's Death

Wanda as Slave Girl

Ending: Red-Lined Room Where Wanda Was Dead on the Floor

Women in Love (1969, UK)

Ken Russell's landmark, breakthrough film was adapted from D.H. Lawrence's 1920 novel by Larry Kramer.

This romantic drama featured the first explicit scene with a homoerotic context that revealed male genitals (full-frontal male nudity) in a commercial mainstream film - extremely daring for its time. The infamous sequence was an extended wrestling match, exhibiting nude male strength, in a locked room before a roaring fireplace between:

  • Gerald Crich (Oliver Reed), a local mine owner
  • Rupert Birkin (Alan Bates), a school master

After their match in which Gerald's strength overcame Rupert, the two sweaty men reclined on the floor side-by-side and talked:

Rupert: "But we ought to swear to love each other, you and I. Intimately. Perfectly. Finally, without any possibility of ever going back on it. Shall we swear to each other one day?"
Gerald: "We'll wait till I understand it better."

Their relationship was contrasted by their involvement with two sisters:

  • Ursula Brangwen (Jennie Linden), a teacher who Rupert eventually married; in one of their scenes, Ursula and Rupert ran naked through a wheatfield and made love together in a swirl of bodies and color
  • Gudrun Brangwen (Best Actress Oscar-winning Glenda Jackson), a 1920s emancipated, free-thinking, and ill-fated sculptress/artist; Gerald experienced a stormy and temperamental love affair with her

The film was notable because Glenda Jackson became the first performer to win an Academy Award for Best Actress for a role in which she appeared significantly nude (with full and firm breasts).

Gudrun Brangwen (Glenda Jackson)

[Note: Jackson was pregnant during the film shoot and commented about how her breasts ("wonderful bosom") had never before been so full. Earlier, Julie Christie (as Diana Scott) in Darling (1965, UK) had only briefly displayed her nude backside in a distant shot.]

One of the film's most memorable sexually-tinged monologues was in the outdoor picnic scene, when Rupert described how to eat a fig - fully describing the fig's vaginal symbolism:

"The proper way to eat a fig in society...is to split it in four...holding it by the stump...and open it...so that it is a glittering, rosy, moist...honeyed, heavy-petaled, four-petaled flower. Then you throw away the skin...after you have taken off the blossom with your lips. But the vulgar way...is just to put your mouth to the crack...and take out the flesh in one bite. The fig is a very secretive fruit. The Italians vulgarly say it stands for the female part, the fig fruit. The fissure, the yoni...the wonderful moist conductivity towards the center...involved, inturned....One small way of access only, and this close-curtained from the light. Sap that smells strange on your fingers, so that even goats won't taste it. And when the fig has kept her secret long enough...so it explodes, and you see, through the fissure, the scarlet. And the fig is finished, the year is over. That's how the fig dies...showing her crimson through the purple slit. Like a wound...the exposure of her secret on the open day. Like a prostitute, the bursten fig makes a show of her secret. That's how women die, too."

Gerald and Rupert - Nude Wrestling

Ursula Brangwen (Jennie Linden)

Rupert's Fig Speech

Sex in Cinematic History
History Overview | Reference Intro | Pre-1920s | 1920-26 | 1927-29 | 1930-1931 | 1932 | 1933 | 1934-37 | 1938-39
1940-44 | 1945-49 | 1950-54 | 1955-56 | 1957-59 | 1960-61 | 1962-63 | 1964 | 1965 | 1966 | 1967 | 1968 | 1969

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Index to All Decades, Years and Features

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