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The Golden Age of Pornography 
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Post The Golden Age of Pornography
Ah, porno. Now life is so rush rush rush that we only get a moment or two to download a clip, take in 2-3 minutes of staged fellatio and all this before returning to our job interview. Smart phones: they just make life easier.

But there was a time when pulling out when's genitalia in the middle of a job interview was considered inappropriate, the kind of thing only "perverts" and "excellent candidates" did. Long ago, in an America far more comfortable with dinner conversation about Linda Lovelace's epiglottis, we would venture into a theater in order to see brilliantly staged sexual theatrics. We could take in the shameful behavior and, perhaps if Jack Horner's vision came to light (HILARIOUS PUN, ME!), stay until the end while stewing in our spent bodily fluids.

I've a soft spot for 70s porno. It's a simple pleasure that doesn't just include watching people have sex with one another. There's a fundamental level of film enthusiasm that can be glimpsed in such X-rated classics as the excellent Devil in Miss Jones, 3D-extravagasma Hot Skin and art-fuck-chic Behind the Green Door. It isn't just unprotected anal shenanigans but a dedication, as real as what the 90s Indie Avalanche offered, to telling a story. A story with unprotected anal shenanigans.

I submit the fine example of Debbie Does Dallas, a movie more often chatted about than properly watched, as the greatest of what Boogie Nights claimed was so. Should you factor in the story of Bambi Woods, she who played Debbie in the Dallas-fucking film, you eventually come around to the sad second half of beloved Boogie Nights. So, for the moment, let's forget about our cares for the well-being of naked actors and actresses and find a way to celebrate Debbie Does Dallas.

The story is deceptively simple: Debbie wants to be a cheerleader for the Dallas Cowboys (called, brilliantly, the Texas Cowgirls for the sake of copyright) and she and her girlfriends will stop at nothing to get her to the tryouts. That's it! That's the story! Try parsing your words for an accurate description of Citizen Kane. Not so easy, is it?

What spurts Debbie Does Dallas into the hall of fame is director Jim Clark's marriage to trying every technique under the sun. You never know what you're missing until you see it done right -- when people make fun of 70s porno THIS is what they're making fun of. The camera moves, tilts, goes for the close-up but never before trying to find some dramatic heft for the inevitable penetration. It's weirdly lacking obscenity when the town librarian unloads a nation of potential scholars onto an actress's nipples. But why? Because stakes are high: Debbie needs to get to that tryout.

Alright, enough with the low-brow. The truth is that Debbie Does Dallas works because it doesn't fake the romance. Sure, it's a stupid comedy but it's no more stupid than The Brothers Solomon. It's done with aplomb and a real drive to make A Film for the Ages. The scenes are obviously staged, the acting (outside of the sex) is bad, and the lighting is just terrible. But you can feel the effort of the performers and the crew -- they really wanted to make a movie that could be watched in a comfortable theater, popcorn close at hand. They clearly had a good time and convey this convincingly, not through endless "oh yeah"s and "that's right"s. It's damn near chaste. Except for all the fucking, licking, and ceremonial blowing of the loads.

But, chaste though it may not be, it is remarkably innocent. And that's what 70s porn had going for it -- not Hollywood but not exactly short, unconnected orgasms. As amateur filmmaking goes, this is good stuff that wasn't just made for a random audience of 15-75. Porn films from this era had an intended audience of more than open-mouth-breathing trenchcoated men: they were after couples. They used silly comedy (Deep Throat), European drama (Devil in Miss Jones), and art-house surrealism (Behind the Green Door) as templates for entertaining a populace and, holy muffins, getting people to talk. It used to be the thing to do... everyone had to see Deep Throat. Am I nostalgic for a time I never knew? Obviously.


Sat Nov 20, 2010 7:05 pm
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Post Re: The Golden Age of Pornography
That was a lot of fun to read

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Sat Nov 20, 2010 7:10 pm
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Post Re: The Golden Age of Pornography
I hope the "Golden age" doesn't involve watersports.


Sat Nov 20, 2010 7:33 pm
Post Re: The Golden Age of Pornography
JamesKunz wrote:
That was a lot of fun to read


Completely agree. Very nice.

When I was a teenager there was no internet or VHS / DVD. Our source of porn was magazines that you had to go into a store and buy and worse still, movies at the cinema.

I am still scarred by the moment where I plucked up courage to go see the double bill Hot Bed of Sex and Sex Italian Style in about 1972. I was 14. My friend and I quickly went to the ticket desk only for me to discover that on Sundays one of my mom's best friends worked the ticket counter at the Colony Cinema in Torquay.

Rob


Sat Nov 20, 2010 9:39 pm
Post Re: The Golden Age of Pornography
JamesKunz wrote:
That was a lot of fun to read


Thank you!

mailedbypostman wrote:
I hope the "Golden age" doesn't involve watersports.


*Fuckity yawn yawn*. I mean: HA HA HA! Oh... oh my sides! GOOD ONE!

Robert Holloway wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
That was a lot of fun to read


Completely agree. Very nice.

When
I was a teenager there was no internet or VHS / DVD. Our source of porn
was magazines that you had to go into a store and buy and worse still,
movies at the cinema.

I am still scarred by the moment where I
plucked up courage to go see the double bill Hot Bed of Sex and Sex
Italian Style in about 1972. I was 14. My friend and I quickly went to
the ticket desk only for me to discover that on Sundays one of my mom's
best friends worked the ticket counter at the Colony Cinema in Torquay.


Rob


Thank you, too. I liked your story -- very Woody Allen.


Sun Nov 21, 2010 12:28 am
Post Re: The Golden Age of Pornography
majoraphasia wrote:
Ah, porno. Now life is so rush rush rush that we only get a moment or two to download a clip, take in 2-3 minutes of staged fellatio and all this before returning to our job interview. Smart phones: they just make life easier.

But there was a time when pulling out when's genitalia in the middle of a job interview was considered inappropriate, the kind of thing only "perverts" and "excellent candidates" did. Long ago, in an America far more comfortable with dinner conversation about Linda Lovelace's epiglottis, we would venture into a theater in order to see brilliantly staged sexual theatrics. We could take in the shameful behavior and, perhaps if Jack Horner's vision came to light (HILARIOUS PUN, ME!), stay until the end while stewing in our spent bodily fluids.

I've a soft spot for 70s porno. It's a simple pleasure that doesn't just include watching people have sex with one another. There's a fundamental level of film enthusiasm that can be glimpsed in such X-rated classics as the excellent Devil in Miss Jones, 3D-extravagasma Hot Skin and art-fuck-chic Behind the Green Door. It isn't just unprotected anal shenanigans but a dedication, as real as what the 90s Indie Avalanche offered, to telling a story. A story with unprotected anal shenanigans.

I submit the fine example of Debbie Does Dallas, a movie more often chatted about than properly watched, as the greatest of what Boogie Nights claimed was so. Should you factor in the story of Bambi Woods, she who played Debbie in the Dallas-fucking film, you eventually come around to the sad second half of beloved Boogie Nights. So, for the moment, let's forget about our cares for the well-being of naked actors and actresses and find a way to celebrate Debbie Does Dallas.

The story is deceptively simple: Debbie wants to be a cheerleader for the Dallas Cowboys (called, brilliantly, the Texas Cowgirls for the sake of copyright) and she and her girlfriends will stop at nothing to get her to the tryouts. That's it! That's the story! Try parsing your words for an accurate description of Citizen Kane. Not so easy, is it?

What spurts Debbie Does Dallas into the hall of fame is director Jim Clark's marriage to trying every technique under the sun. You never know what you're missing until you see it done right -- when people make fun of 70s porno THIS is what they're making fun of. The camera moves, tilts, goes for the close-up but never before trying to find some dramatic heft for the inevitable penetration. It's weirdly lacking obscenity when the town librarian unloads a nation of potential scholars onto an actress's nipples. But why? Because stakes are high: Debbie needs to get to that tryout.

Alright, enough with the low-brow. The truth is that Debbie Does Dallas works because it doesn't fake the romance. Sure, it's a stupid comedy but it's no more stupid than The Brothers Solomon. It's done with aplomb and a real drive to make A Film for the Ages. The scenes are obviously staged, the acting (outside of the sex) is bad, and the lighting is just terrible. But you can feel the effort of the performers and the crew -- they really wanted to make a movie that could be watched in a comfortable theater, popcorn close at hand. They clearly had a good time and convey this convincingly, not through endless "oh yeah"s and "that's right"s. It's damn near chaste. Except for all the fucking, licking, and ceremonial blowing of the loads.

But, chaste though it may not be, it is remarkably innocent. And that's what 70s porn had going for it -- not Hollywood but not exactly short, unconnected orgasms. As amateur filmmaking goes, this is good stuff that wasn't just made for a random audience of 15-75. Porn films from this era had an intended audience of more than open-mouth-breathing trenchcoated men: they were after couples. They used silly comedy (Deep Throat), European drama (Devil in Miss Jones), and art-house surrealism (Behind the Green Door) as templates for entertaining a populace and, holy muffins, getting people to talk. It used to be the thing to do... everyone had to see Deep Throat. Am I nostalgic for a time I never knew? Obviously.


Major

I actually think that Behind the Green Door is a fine film, irrespective of it's porn background. I've also seen Debbie Does Dallas, but many many years ago and thought it was instantly forgettable, beyond the title. Deep Throat has a great concept but is poorly executed.

So I'd recommend Behind the Green Door to anyone interested in the outlying reaches of cinema. Maybe James should write a review.

Rob


Sun Nov 21, 2010 2:49 pm
Post Re: The Golden Age of Pornography
Robert Holloway wrote:

I actually think that Behind the Green Door is a fine film, irrespective of it's porn background. I've also seen Debbie Does Dallas, but many many years ago and thought it was instantly forgettable, beyond the title. Deep Throat has a great concept but is poorly executed.

So I'd recommend Behind the Green Door to anyone interested in the outlying reaches of cinema. Maybe James should write a review.

Rob


I wish James would review one of those staples of 70s porn -- he should join Ebert as one of the few film critics to consider porn as a legitimate form.

Deep Throat was a joke and has a production history that has become apocryphal thanks to Linda Lovelace finding her aging self influenced by feminist dogma. Add to that a criminal trial around Harry Reems... it's hard to see the movie for what it was. And it was a goofy joke. Not a good joke, either.

Behind The Green Door is indeed a good film -- not quite the height of Devil in Miss Jones but, for porn masquerading as art, it worked. It's basically an experimental film.

Debbie Does Dallas isn't brilliant cinema but it ranks as one of the best examples of 70s porn I can name. Hot Skin, too. They're both too sincere to disregard.


Sun Nov 21, 2010 3:43 pm
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Post Re: The Golden Age of Pornography
majoraphasia wrote:
Robert Holloway wrote:

I actually think that Behind the Green Door is a fine film, irrespective of it's porn background. I've also seen Debbie Does Dallas, but many many years ago and thought it was instantly forgettable, beyond the title. Deep Throat has a great concept but is poorly executed.

So I'd recommend Behind the Green Door to anyone interested in the outlying reaches of cinema. Maybe James should write a review.

Rob


I wish James would review one of those staples of 70s porn -- he should join Ebert as one of the few film critics to consider porn as a legitimate form.


Heh. Don't want to hijack your thread or undermine the work you put into it, but i don't view pornography as being a legitimate art form, so I sure hope James doesn't do that. Pornography is imo more a substantially destructive cancer on American society (and pretty much every other society too) than anything else--it disrupts and destroys marriages, insults women, alters expectations in relationships, etc.

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Sun Nov 21, 2010 3:48 pm
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Post Re: The Golden Age of Pornography
firefly wrote:
majoraphasia wrote:
Robert Holloway wrote:

I actually think that Behind the Green Door is a fine film, irrespective of it's porn background. I've also seen Debbie Does Dallas, but many many years ago and thought it was instantly forgettable, beyond the title. Deep Throat has a great concept but is poorly executed.

So I'd recommend Behind the Green Door to anyone interested in the outlying reaches of cinema. Maybe James should write a review.

Rob


I wish James would review one of those staples of 70s porn -- he should join Ebert as one of the few film critics to consider porn as a legitimate form.


Heh. Don't want to hijack your thread or undermine the work you put into it, but i don't view pornography as being a legitimate art form, so I sure hope James doesn't do that. Pornography is imo more a substantially destructive cancer on American society (and pretty much every other society too) than anything else--it disrupts and destroys marriages, insults women, alters expectations in relationships, etc.


Austrian humorist/filmmaker Michael Haneke writes the same thing. Something to the effect that "watching pornography is like watching someone die". As for the claim that it's a "more a substantially destructive cancer on American society (and pretty much every other society too) than anything else"... that's arguable. But I've never been one to reduce the destructive cancers on American society to one culprit, three culprits, or 100 culprits. Pornography, in its current form, isn't helpful. Pornography in the 70s was indeed a legitimate form whether or not it was a respectable form. I'd argue that pornography today is a legitimate form even if it isn't a good form. I'd also claim that a toddler filming his urine stream with a cell phone's camera is a legitimate form -- it's all in the eyes of the viewer. Tethering porn to America's moral decay is taking porn as a source of problems... it surely isn't. One might be tempted to think that the ideals leading up to pornography are the problem, porn being the symptom.


Sun Nov 21, 2010 3:56 pm
Post Re: The Golden Age of Pornography
Robert Holloway wrote:
So I'd recommend Behind the Green Door to anyone interested in the outlying reaches of cinema. Maybe James should write a review.

Rob


Yeah, too bad that there isn't a competition where the winner gets to make JB review a movie of their choice. :lol:


Sun Nov 21, 2010 4:08 pm
Post Re: The Golden Age of Pornography
Patrick wrote:
Robert Holloway wrote:
So I'd recommend Behind the Green Door to anyone interested in the outlying reaches of cinema. Maybe James should write a review.

Rob


Yeah, too bad that there isn't a competition where the winner gets to make JB review a movie of their choice. :lol:


It's a good fantasy choice but, man, if someone burned up their Force James To Review Stuff selection on a porno... better that than Let's Go To Prison, I suppose.


Sun Nov 21, 2010 4:11 pm
Post Re: The Golden Age of Pornography
Uh oh, the porn debate. I'm just not going there.

However, many horror movies are even worse as they simply show women being hacked to pieces by men.

I think Major makes good points and whilst most porn is hardly art, there are examples where it pokes it's head up and does a great job.

Ebert takes it seriously and his review of behind the green Door is interesting.

http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbc ... 10301/1023

of course, Roger was involved in, shall we say, some odd films from Russ Meyer

Rob


Sun Nov 21, 2010 4:12 pm
Post Re: The Golden Age of Pornography
Robert Holloway wrote:
Uh oh, the porn debate. I'm just not going there.

However, many horror movies are even worse as they simply show women being hacked to pieces by men.


Bingo. Not just horror movies... check out that exploitation thread (SHAMELESS!) for further examples of things worse than filmed sex.

Bobby Holloway wrote:
I think Major makes good points and whilst most porn is hardly art, there are examples where it pokes it's head up and does a great job.


Define "art".


Sun Nov 21, 2010 4:19 pm
Post Re: The Golden Age of Pornography
majoraphasia wrote:
Robert Holloway wrote:
Uh oh, the porn debate. I'm just not going there.

However, many horror movies are even worse as they simply show women being hacked to pieces by men.


Bingo. Not just horror movies... check out that exploitation thread (SHAMELESS!) for further examples of things worse than filmed sex.

Bobby Holloway wrote:
I think Major makes good points and whilst most porn is hardly art, there are examples where it pokes it's head up and does a great job.


Define "art".



Wow, a small question that is also a very big question. I have sitting staring at your question for a few minutes and wondering. thanks for making me think.

You're question raises the point that it's a word we use without much thought.

So - Art is creativity that effects our emotions.

Do you agree?

Rob


Sun Nov 21, 2010 4:31 pm
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Post Re: The Golden Age of Pornography
Robert Holloway wrote:
Uh oh, the porn debate. I'm just not going there.

However, many horror movies are even worse as they simply show women being hacked to pieces by men.

Yeah, I agree with you there. There are plenty of horror films that can essentially be interpreted as a form of pornography.

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Sun Nov 21, 2010 4:42 pm
Profile
Post Re: The Golden Age of Pornography
firefly wrote:
Robert Holloway wrote:
Uh oh, the porn debate. I'm just not going there.

However, many horror movies are even worse as they simply show women being hacked to pieces by men.

Yeah, I agree with you there. There are plenty of horror films that can essentially be interpreted as a form of pornography.



It's interesting how the recent release of the remake of I Spit on Your Grave has been a disaster for the producers. made for $2m it has not even taken $100k at the box office. of course, it will make a killing on home video.

Rob


Sun Nov 21, 2010 5:06 pm
Post Re: The Golden Age of Pornography
The AV Club recently offered this:

http://www.avclub.com/articles/stocks-blondes-1984,47689/


Mon Nov 22, 2010 2:05 pm
Post Re: The Golden Age of Pornography
Ah, porn chic. Perhaps the last pioneering genre of film, now long gone. Porno sucks now (no pun intended).

The Jade Pussycat (1977) is a fun blue flick if you can find it. It also helped influence Boogie Nights. The private detective Johnny Wadd (played by John Holmes) was the basis for the Brock Landers character. Put this in the so-bad-it's-good camp.

I'd also like to mention a French flick called La Femme Objet aka The Female Object (1980). It's about a sci-fi writer with an out of control libido. When his lady friends can't keep up with his desires he builds robots to service himself. How these robots are made is never touched upon, they just show up. In the end his creations abandon him and indulge is lesbian robot sex, leaving this poor writer out in the cold. Fun times.


Sun Jan 09, 2011 11:52 am
Post Re: The Golden Age of Pornography
Bondurant wrote:
Ah, porn chic. Perhaps the last pioneering genre of film, now long gone. Porno sucks now (no pun intended).

The Jade Pussycat (1977) is a fun blue flick if you can find it. It also helped influence Boogie Nights. The private detective Johnny Wadd (played by John Holmes) was the basis for the Brock Landers character. Put this in the so-bad-it's-good camp.

I'd also like to mention a French flick called La Femme Objet aka The Female Object (1980). It's about a sci-fi writer with an out of control libido. When his lady friends can't keep up with his desires he builds robots to service himself. How these robots are made is never touched upon, they just show up. In the end his creations abandon him and indulge is lesbian robot sex, leaving this poor writer out in the cold. Fun times.


Thanks for the BUMP and recommendation of The Female Object. I'll second the thumbs-up for The Jade Pussycat and would like to add that PT Anderson actually uses some of Holmes' improvised choreography in several of the action scenes.


Sun Jan 09, 2011 7:50 pm
Post Re: The Golden Age of Pornography
Not really related, but:

Pete's porn thread was gone too soon. I didn't even get to post there! And this thread really doesn't seem like the location to extol the virtues of Sativa Rose.


Mon Jan 10, 2011 3:40 pm
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