History of Sex in Cinema:
|Movie Title/Year and Film/Scene Description|
Darling (1965, UK)
Director John Schlesinger's film was shocking and cutting edge in its day with scenes involving loose sexuality, betrayal, bisexuality/transvestism, serial bed-hopping and infidelity, age difference, pregnancy and abortion.
It told the life story, in flashback and voice-over (in an article being prepared for a women's magazine), of jet-setting Italian princess Diana Scott (Best Actress Oscar-winning Julie Christie) living at an Italian villa after marrying a prince. She had an upper middle-class upbringing, and grew up spoiled because she was always considered a beautiful "darling."
A carefree, hedonistic London Swinging 60s amoral fashion model and playgirl after being discovered on the street by a reporter, the cool, emancipated beauty was married to immature Tony Bridges (Trevor Rowen) - it was a failed marriage (he sought an official divorce in the midst of the many affairs she was having) - during which time she met and fell in love with married, cultured, hard-working television journalist Robert Gold (Dirk Bogarde). They had a secretive affair and first slept together in a hotel room, when he told her: "It's the first time I've felt real for a long time." He left his wife Estelle (Pauline Yates) and children and moved into a London apartment with her.
During this time, she also experienced a flirtatious fling with dissolute horror movie executive Miles Brand (Laurence Harvey), who gave her a bit part in his movie Jacqueline. Soon after, however, she became pregnant with Robert's child - and then aborted ("I realized it was going to be the ruination of my career, messing up people's lives: you know, mine, Robert's, everybodys") - and told Robert: "I don't want anything to do with sex again as long as I live." She separated from him briefly while recuperating in the country with relatives, and then returned to him, but found herself bored and unfulfilled.
Diana had sex with playboyish Miles in his plush apartment (although appeared to take discomfort in oral sex), and then accompanied him as a jet-setter to Paris for one of his wild decadent parties with his transvestite cross-dressing friends (the participants played a "truth game" - dancing in a circle in the light of a projector, while disrobing). When she returned to London, possessively-jealous Robert was angered by her lying and infidelity, and told her in the film's most famous line:
After Robert broke up with her and moved out, calling her "trivial and shallow," she platonically partnered with homosexual photographer Malcolm (Roland Curram), becoming the "Happiness Girl," and soon was in Italy filming candy company commercials at the villa of refined Italian widower Prince Cesare Della Romita (José-Luis de Vilallonga), a rich yacht owner with seven children. During her stay in Italy, she went on a holiday to Capri with Malcolm, and cautioned him: "We are not complicating our holiday with any disgusting sexcapades" (although they both had separate one-night flings with a male waiter). Later, she confided in Malcolm: "I could do without sex. Don't really like it that much."
The Prince vainly proposed marriage to her, but after her return to London, she broke her sleazy association with Miles and decided to accept the Prince's marriage proposal. She found her loveless married life in the villa affluent, but utterly boring and frustrating - she walked through the many rooms to her bedroom, stripping as she went (viewed nude from the backside), and unhappily threw herself on her bed. [It was the first Oscar-winning performance with a nude scene for an actress.]
During her husband's business trip (?) to Rome, she contacted Robert and returned to London one last time to sleep with the "easily seduced" love of her life. She fancifully told him:
But he dashed her dreams of reuniting: "We're not going back to anything, you know. This was just for old times' sake." He rejected her profession of love and request for "one more chance." As he drove her back to the airport, she half-heartedly threatened to commit suicide by throwing herself from the moving car: "If I can't be with you, I don't want to be alive," but resumed her princess-duties upon arrival.
The film ironically ended with her life story on the cover of IDEAL WOMAN magazine, on sale at corner news-stands in London.
The Defilers (1965)
Director-cinematographer Lee Frost's disturbing, low-budget, definitive grindhouse "roughie" film (by producer David F. Friedman, now split from Herschell Gordon Lewis) was deliberately made to counter the "nudie-cutie" films of the time with added violence and griminess.
It was reportedly based on a true story - about two wealthy, immoral, spoiled, misogynistic and hedonistic men, Carl Walker, Jr. (Byron Mabe) and Jameison Marsh (Jerome Eden): ("There's only one thing in this whole crummy, square-infested life that counts...KICKS!"). As misogynistic Walker led one of many sex partners, brunette Kathy (Linda Cochran), down into a dark basement of an abandoned warehouse (a "secret dungeon") where he joked that he kept "love prisoners," he also downplayed the less than romantic, dingy accommodations:
He slapped and assaulted her, and although she valiantly fought him off, he ripped off her clothes, telling her she needed "old-fashioned discipline" (a vicious spanking of her bare bottom after pulling down her black panties). And then surprisingly, she surrendered: "Don't stop," and kissed him as the camera panned upwards before they had sex.
To satiate their cravings for kicks, the two decided to kidnap young, naive yet sexy blonde Los Angeles newcomer and aspiring actress Jane Collins (Swedish actress Mai Jansson). At first, they spied on her as she took a bubble bath in her apartment. They then kidnapped her, held her prisoner in the basement where they made the defenseless woman their sex slave and psychologically and physically abused her. They talked about her as enslaved: "She belongs to me like a slave. I can use her as I will."
Doctor Zhivago (1965)
Director David Lean's magnificent epic featured one potent, twisted scene in which the womanizing, brutal lawyer Victor Komarovsky (Rod Steiger) commanded beautiful 17 year-old Lara (Julie Christie) to turn around so he could admire her shapely form in a striking red dress he had bought for her to wear ("You've grown up a lot, haven't you?"). He wished to seduce her to enter into an illicit affair with him as his mistress.
Later, a brutal scene occurred after Victor had met Lara's fiancee, idealistic revolutionary Pasha Antipova (Tom Courtenay) - Victor slapped her and told her: "You are a slut" and violently forced himself on her to dissuade her from marrying Pasha. Victor snidely commented after he had assaulted her: "And don't delude yourself this was rape. That would flatter us both."
Soon afterwards, the guilt-ridden Lara tracked Victor down and shot him at a Christmas party.
Victor (Rod Steiger) with
Lara (Julie Christie)
Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965)
Russ Meyer's best and most popular work was an overly dramatic, trashy, semi-fantastical, and violent (but without nudity) sexploitation film that originally failed at the box office. Although a flop and initially reviled by feminists as "juvenile sexism", this cult film has been reassessed as a pro-feminist "female empowerment" epic.
It starred three buxom go-go dancers by night who went on a murderous desert rampage by day on motorcycles:
Varla memorably growled at a dumb gas station attendant when he said he wanted to 'see' America while looking at her chest: "You won't see much of it lookin' there, Columbus!"
The female characters were cunning, powerful, supercharged, aggressive and sexually predatory, while the males were either weak, decrepit, sexually impotent or mindless brutes.
A timid, bikini-clad woman named Linda (Sue Bernard, Playboy's December 1966 Playmate) was drugged, kidnapped and taken hostage-captive after witnessing the karate-chopping, back-crunching murder of her cleancut racer boyfriend Tommy (Ray Barlow) in the salt flats.
The finale included a knife throwing/stabbing and Linda running Varla over with her sportscar.
(l to r): Billie, Linda, Rosie
Juliet of the Spirits (1965, It./W.Germ/Fr.) (aka Giulietta Degli Spiriti)
Italian director Federico Fellini's first color film was a surrealistic, garish marriage drama that starred his own wife Giulietta Masina as the title character of Juliet.
Juliet learned that her husband of 15 years, Giorgio (Mario Pisu), was committing adultery with a fashion model mistress. As a result, she suffered the terrorizing torment of voices and images from the spirit world and of her past.
Juliet was offered sexual passion and temptation, provided by her hedonistic, buxom party-girl neighbor Susy (Sandra Milo) in a bordello-styled mirrored bedroom (with a chute-slide to a nearby heated pool) with her studly nephew. The wronged Juliet denied herself the pleasures of the flesh after experiencing a frightening, fiery vision of a martyr.
Through self-discovery and an examination of her own emptiness by film's end, she found emancipation and independence (or loneliness) as she walked off toward the nearby woods.
Susy and Juliet
Orgy of the Dead (1965)
This was an prime example of schlocky scriptwriter Ed Wood's notoriously bad, low-budget nudie horror films. The sexploitation film was advertised as being shown "In Gorgeous Astravision" and in "Shocking Sexicolor" and featuring NAKED Spirits and TOPLESS Dancers.
Director Wood's buddy Criswell appeared in the prologue as The Emperor of the Dead, the rambling leader of the 'twilight people.' He was accompanied by his undead consort, Vampira/Elvira clone Ghoulita (Fawn Silver), the Black Ghoul with a black beehive hairdo. The Emperor served as the emcee and provided absurdist and odd commentary, such as: "Torture! Torture! It pleasures me!", "To love the cat is to be the cat!", and "A kitten was born to be whipped."
The story really began when horror book writer Bob (William Bates) and his buxom red-haired girlfriend Shirley (Pat Barringer or Pat Barrington) suffered a car wreck in the fog - fortuitously, they crashed next to a cemetery. They were forced to spend the night there, helping to serve Bob's writings as inspiration on the topics of necrophilia and ghost stories ("It's on a night like this when the best ideas come to mind"). They were tied to gravestone posts and watched as a bevy of topless and naked zombie-like, graveyard 'creatures of the night' (hired LA strippers) performed ten interminable stripteases (with uncoordinated shimmying) in the fog.
The actress portraying Shirley also doubled as the buxom Gold Girl (with a platinum blonde wig), seen in the credits, as her red-headed alter-ego watched.
Ghoulita, the Black Ghoul
The Raw Ones (1965)
Producer/director John Lamb's nudist film (with a narrator extolling the virtues of a naturist lifestyle) was the first to openly show genitalia -- now allowed after a 1963 legal decision that ruled such displays of private parts were not obscene.
This was an essential linkpin between the non-genital 'nudie-cutie' films of the late 50s, and the hard-core porn films of the 70s.
The film was the first major nudist film to show extensive full male and female nudity, although all of the settings were non-sexual:
Repulsion (1965, UK)
Roman Polanski's first English language film starred Catherine Deneuve as Carol Ledoux - a virginal, fragile and repressed young Belgian beautician left alone in an apartment who began to have psychosexual hallucinations:
Reportedly, the film was the first to feature an orgasm heard on-screen (in a scene in which Carol heard her sister Helen's (Yvonne Furneaux) love-making to a married lover through the wall).
Hands in Hallway
The 10th Victim (1965, It.) (aka La Decima Vittima)
Marcello Mastroianni and Ursula Andress (famous for her appearance as the first "Bond girl" in Dr. No (1962)) were paired in this futuristic satire and science fiction cult film from director Elio Petri.
The buxom star played the role of Caroline Meredith who was noted for her double-barrelled brassiere. It concealed twin guns which she fired during a striptease act in a masochist's club, on her way to racking up her 10th victim to achieve a perfect score in a sanctioned and organized murder hunt-game called "The Big Hunt." The idea was to engage in 10 hunts (5 as hunted, and 5 as the hunter), and the grand prize was winning ten hunts was $1 million.
The Agony of Love (1966) (aka From Lady to Tramp)
Director William Rotsler's B-movie - a grim, soap-opera-ish sexploitation film that pre-dated Luis Bunuel's Belle De Jour (1967, Fr/It.) starring Catherine Deneuve, had a similar tawdry plot. It was advertised as "An Adult Venture Into a Woman's Inner Most Being..."
This 'nudie-roughie,' told in flashback, was about lonely and frustrated affluent, black-wigged suburban housewife Barbara Thomas (Pat Barrington). She was bored, neglected and desperate for sex, money and affection from her handsome, workaholic businessman husband Barton (Sam Taylor).
She secretly rented a private city apartment and turned to prostitution (calling herself "Brandy"), threesomes, and S&M ("Do it, do it, hurt me... dirty me!"). One of her threesome partners was the Beatchick (Joy Lowe), and she joined another callgirl (Sherry Shannon) in a party with two rowdy conventioneers.
As a callgirl, the self-loathing female indulged in her cravings for sex, money (in an erotic fantasy nightmare sequence, later copied by other filmmakers), and attention until her husband became one of her escort service clients for an orgy. The film had a tragic ending when he pursued her in a nighttime chase in Hollywood.
Alfie (1966, UK)
This was the original Alfie film - Lewis Gilbert's sex-comedy/drama about a hedonistic, misogynistic, Cockney ladies' man title character (Michael Caine in his first major lead role, an Oscar-nominated one). [The film was remade in 2004, starring Jude Law as the title character.]
He portrayed smug, working class anti-hero playboy/Casanova Alfie Elkins, a "free agent" who bedhopped, loved (and left) many women (or "birds"), including:
It was considered daring and shocking in its time, with an examination of taboo subjects and the consequences of the sexual revolution in the swinging 1960s.
Some of his setbacks included his bout with tuberculosis, the abortion (and sight of his stillborn child's fetus), and the revelation that Ruby had taken another younger lover.
The Bible...In the Beginning (1966, US/It.)
John Huston's epic Old Testament film didn't cover the entire Bible - just the first 22 chapters of the Book of Genesis, including the creation story (Adam and Eve) and the expulsion from Eden, Cain and Abel, Noah and the Ark/the Flood, and the story of Abraham (wife Sarah, handmaiden Hagar, and son Isaac). The story of the Nimrod and the Tower of Babel and Sodom and Gomorrah were also featured.
It included a highly-anticipated, 20-minute opening sequence detailing the story of Creation of 'mankind' from reddish-brown dirt in the golden-lighted Garden of Eden with two fair-skinned humans:
Both characters were modestly and prudishly nude, one of the first instances in a mainstream US feature film in which there was full-frontal nudity from both sexes) - although they were discreetly and strategically photographed with long shots and out-of-focus buttocks. To avoid outright nudity, knees were often bent to cover the genitals, and Eve's hair always covered her breasts. They were positioned behind bushes or tropical leaves to shield their private parts.
After the pair ate the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge (tricked by the serpent), they were banished - clothed and no longer innocent.
Adam and Eve
Blow-Up (1966, UK/It.)
Michelangelo Antonioni's first English-language film Blow-Up (1966) was set in mod-Swinging 60s London. When Antonioni refused to cut the few glimpses of female nudity in the film, it was released without the MPAA's seal of approval, and engendered even greater popularity for the arthouse film. It received Academy Award nominations for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.
This breakthrough film was often noted for introverted fashion-glamour photographer Thomas' (David Hemmings) orgasmic, frenzied camera-shoot scene with various 'birds' including skinny, writhing model Veruschka as he straddled her on the floor and pointed his phallic camera at her ("Give it to me now, come on. That's good...Now, now, yes, yes, yes!").
The film also featured Vanessa Redgrave as the Girl, persistently begging (and eventually offering sexual favors when she went topless - more revealing in some full-frame video versions) and bargaining for Thomas' roll of incriminating film that he had shot of her in a public park with an unidentified, middle-aged man. The enlarged photos eventually showed possible evidence of a murder.
The most notorious scene was Thomas' teasing sex with two naive, teenaged groupies or "dolly birds" (blonde Jane Birkin and brunette Gillian Hills) who stopped by his studio for their second visit. While trying on clothes, the skinny blonde was stripped of her clothes by Thomas, and then wrestled her dark-haired friend to also strip her, claiming: "She's got a better figure than me." They ended up in a threesome orgy with him on a extended roll of purple backdrop paper. The scene featured the first fleeting views of pubic hair in a mainstream film for American audiences.
In another love-making scene, he watched as his unhappily-married next-door neighbor Patricia (Sarah Miles) was underneath her husband, who was on top making love to her. She wordlessly entreated Thomas in their flat to stay in view nearby so she could achieve orgasm - his presence aroused her passion.
Georgy Girl (1966, UK)
Originally considered bold and ground-breaking (but now only self-conscious, tame, and dated), this Swinging 60s "free love" comedy film from the UK starred Best Actress-nominated Lynn Redgrave. It was notable as the first film to carry the label "suggested for mature audiences" - or M rating, only a month after the Production Code was revised.
Its bittersweet, adult-oriented tale told of the morally-ambiguous title character Georgina "Georgy" Parkin, a plump, homely and virginal misfit. Georgy found herself propositioned to be a mistress of rich and older benefactor, unhappily-married Mr. Leamington (James Mason) while she was involved in an affair with Jos Jones (Alan Bates). Jones was the randy Cockney husband of her pretty yet amoral and self-interested roommate Meredith Montgomery (Charlotte Rampling).
After two previous abortions, Meredith was bitchy about her current pregnancy: "I'll tell you what this little episode has taught me. It's taught me what it feels like to look like the back end of a bus, and sit around every night with nothing to do."
When Meredith gave birth - but wanted to put the child up for adoption, Georgy opted to care for and serve as the baby's mother with Jos. When their affair cooled and he moved out, Georgy brought conveniently-widowed Leamington to the rescue to marry her and help provide financial support.
Georgy (Lynn Redgrave)
with Jos (Alan Bates)
A Man and a Woman (1966, Fr.) (aka Un Homme et Une Femme)
French New Wave director Claude Lelouch's simple and pleasant romance was the Palme d'Or winner at Cannes and Oscar-winner of Best Foreign Language Film.
It was a beautifully-filmed, impressionistic story of the slow-building affair between two single parents who had both lost their spouses. They happened to meet when visiting their children at a Deauville boarding school:
Eventually by film's end, they consummated their love in a non-explicit, bitter-sweet scene that alternated between B/W and color images (including flashbacked, haunting guilt-ridden, melancholic memories of Anna's husband of her past). She could not fully give herself and thought that would be the end of their relationship when they silently parted.
But then, in the open-ended conclusion, they joyously met again at the train station in Paris when she arrived there.
|Mondo Topless (1966) (aka Mondo Girls, Mondo Top)
Russ Meyer's pseudo-documentary (or mockumentary) was notable as the "nudie" sleaze king's first color film, advertised with the tagline: "Too much for one man!"
Throughout, an off-screen narrator (John Furlong) would hilariously comment upon the titillating action of the "unrestrained female anatomy" and "the world's loveliest buxotics." The thrown-together film included screen-test footage of Lorna Maitland, the title character of previous film Lorna (1964).
The sexploitation film began as a travelogue in San Francisco (where the phenomenon of gyrating toplessness first appeared, supposedly, before sweeping across the country), led by naked 44" stacked Babette Bardot driving around stark naked. Even Coit Tower was photographed to look like a phallic symbol.
Ultra-buxotic females spoke about their lives as topless go-go girls/strippers, along with many topless dances amd swinging breasts, performed in various locales - in the desert and at the base of a high-voltage electric tower (Pat Barrington), beside a roaring locomotive train (Babette Bardot), in a woodsy forest (Darla Paris), in front of a water-basin and in an abandoned shack (Sin Linee), on a beach (small-breasted Diane Young), etc. They usually gyrated to the wild beat of a nearby radio or tape player.
The sights were also viewed in various strip-joints in Europe (footage from Meyer's long-unseen Europe in the Raw (1963)), in Belgium, Hamburg, Copenhagen, and Paris, where strippers performed on indoor stages.
Some of the dancers spoke about their views of men, about disrobing, bra sizes and about the difficulty of buying clothes for the big-busted woman, etc.
One Million Years BC (1966)
This British-made adventure sci-fi film (shot in the Canary Islands) by director Don Chaffey and Hammer Films was a remake of the earlier Hollywood film, One Million B.C. (1940), starring Victor Mature and Carole Landis, two love interests during caveman times (an anachronism since dinosaur creatures and humans never co-existed).
The film's realistic prehistoric creatures (created with stop-motion animation) were the work of Ray Harryhausen: a giant lizard and spider, brontosaurus, an Archelon (giant turtle), an Allosaurus, a battle between a Ceratosaurus and Triceratops, and a flying Pteranodon.
Likewise, this one conjured up the iconic image of a shapely, white-skinned, Amazonian cavegirl and a caveman:
At one point, Loana (who had only a few sparse lines of dialogue) had to fight off the advances of competing love-interest, Tumak's ex-lover Nupondi (Martine Beswick).
The reigning sex queen's 'primeval woman' poster was a major best-seller at the time, and adorned many college room walls.
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
Mike Nichols' acclaimed debut film Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) was an adaptation of Edward Albee's Broadway play, with a screenplay by writer/producer Ernest Lehman. It acquired an astounding 13 Oscar nominations and 5 wins - including its entire Oscar-nominated cast of four (also including George Segal and Sandy Dennis). In addition, it was a direct challenge to the anti-profanity clauses of the Hays Code.
The drama contained lots of things that the Production Code felt were violations:
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, at a time when the new president of the MPAA, Jack Valenti, was implementing a new ratings system - to help handle sensitive and "mature" subjects.
It displayed brutal sexual tensions between its four characters in an all-night drinking fest, especially its sado-masochistic, loving-hating, vulgarities-spewing couple and their two dinner guests:
Nick (George Segal)
and Honey (Sandy Dennis)
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 | 1965-66 | 1967 | 1968 | 1969
1970 | 1971 | 1972 | 1973 | 1974 | 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979 | 1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989
1990 | 1991 | 1992-1 | 1992-2 | 1993 | 1994-1 | 1994-2 | 1995-1 | 1995-2 | 1996-1 | 1996-2 | 1997-1 | 1997-2 | 1998-1 | 1998-2 | 1999-1 | 1999-2
2000-1 | 2000-2 | 2001-1 | 2001-2 | 2002-1 | 2002-2 | 2003-1 | 2003-2 | 2004-1 | 2004-2 | 2005-1 | 2005-2 | 2006-1 | 2006-2
2007-1 | 2007-2 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012
Index to All Decades, Years and Features
- History of Sex in CinemaA year-by-year look at the films, scandals and changing laws.
- History of Erotic FilmsEverything you ever wanted to know from the first sex symbol to the birth of porn.
- Movies That Challenged RatingsA ranked movie list of 10 milestone sexy films that challenged the ratings.
- Sexy Hollywood BombshellsA brief history of Hollywood's sirens including Monroe, Mansfield, and Mamie.
- Top 100 Controversial MoviesMany of these included controversial sex and violence.
- Sexiest Films of All-TimeOver 75 of the hottest films in movie history.