History of Sex in Cinema:
|Movie Title/Year and Film/Scene Description|
Big Bad Mama (1974)
B-movie producer Roger Corman's low-budget, R-rated exploitation cult film, shot in only 20 days, was intended as one of many Bonnie and Clyde knock-offs of its era. The trashy road film was a fast-moving, 'woman on the run' follow-up film to the earlier low-budget Corman-produced Bloody Mama (1970) with Shelley Winters. The film's tagline described the plot:
It told about Depression-era East Texan gangster moll Wilma McClatchie (43 year-old Angie Dickinson who wasn't yet famous for her TV role in Police Woman). She wished to protect and provide for her equally nubile and promiscuous daughters, conniving blonde Billy Jean (Susan Sennett) and infantile brunette Polly (Robbie Lee). In the film's opening, after she interrupted Polly's marriage to a white-trash hillbilly and caused a brawl, they took off in the car of Wilma's bootlegging lover, Uncle Barney (Noble Willingham). When he was killed by FBI agents during a chase, she took over his business.
She became desperate after she mismanaged the bootlegging moonshine enterprise, and her daughters tried out as exotic strippers. She was forced to resort to crime, including armed heists and thefts. During their Midwest flight to California, she hooked up with fellow bank robber Fred Diller (Tom Skerritt). Numerous sex triangles formed when she jumped in-the-sack (an infamous scene) with Southern hustler-gambler William J. Baxter (TV Star Trek's William Shatner). He made love to Wilma from behind as she grabbed the bedstand, while Fred peeped on them. Jilted, Fred had sex with jealous Billy Jean, and then a three-way that also included Polly.
Once in California, they kidnapped for ransom bratty rich daughter Jane Kingston (Joan Prather), with whom Fred attempted to have sex, although when he let his guard down, she kicked him in the groin and escaped.
Wilma (Big Bad Mama) with William Baxter
The Bunny Caper (1974, UK) (aka Games Girls Play, or Sex Play)
This Arthur Marks Presentation, an exploitational, nudity-only sex comedy directed by Jack Arnold, boasted the tagline: "Some have the urge...Some have the touch...These girls have it all!" There were four starring girls:
The film's thin plot enabled the four main female stars to keep very undressed for about half the film. Promiscuous and sex-crazed 17 year-old Bunny O'Hara (Christina Hart) persuaded her Ambassador-father Randolph O'Hara (Gordon Sterne) to get reassigned to a position in London. To keep her sexual libido dampened, Bunny was enrolled in an elite female boarding school, with corruptible roommates: blonde Jackie (Jane Anthony), brunette Sal (Drina Pavlovic) and red-headed Chris (Jill Damas).
The school was run by detestable headmistress Miss Grimm (Eunice Black) and lesbian gym teacher Harriet (Sarah Brackett). The challenge or goal of each of the girls was to compete with the others to see who could bed down an older male partner - each a high-ranking public official attending a London conference on nuclear disarmament -- a Russian diplomat, the star of a Chinese ping pong team member, an American foreign affairs expert, and a member of British royalty.
(l to r): Chris, Jackie, Bunny, and Sal
Caged Heat (1974)
Director Jonathan Demme's first feature made for producer Roger Corman's New World Pictures was a low-budget, B-grade campy sexploitation classic. Demme's film is generally considered one of the best of its type - an "innocent females in prison" film, advertised as:
It showcased various attractive and empowered tough women in prison and was designed for the 'drive-in' crowd. Various punishments included illegal electro-shock experimental therapy (and lobotomies), assembly-line group showers, torture, and nude solitary confinement for black inmate Pandora (Ella Reid).
Its most notorious character was sadistic McQueen (scream queen veteran Barbara Steele) - the wheelchair-bound, repressive, and semi-lesbian prison warden. The prison's perverted and twisted Dr. Randolph (Warren Miller) performed full cavity searches, raped drugged prisoners - and took Polaroid pictures of one naked conquest, kleptomaniac Belle Tyson (Roberta Collins).
It featured frequent exploitative shower sequences, showing off some of the imprisoned females, including waifish blonde Lavelle (Cheryl Rainbeaux Smith) and Jacqueline Wilson (Erica Gavin, Russ Meyer's favorite), who was bullied by black Maggie (Juanita Brown).
After a successful prison break and bank robbery, the two escapees (the unlikely pairing of Jackie and Maggie) joined up with a third friend Crazy Alice (Crystin Sinclaire), and decided to return to the prison and free their fellow inmates.
Intimidated by Maggie
Crazy Alice/Lynda Gold
Candy Stripe Nurses (1974)
This R-rated soft-core sexploitation film was a mid-70s cult comedy - the fifth and last of the New World-Roger Corman variety of nurse pictures, and a formulaic entry in New World Picture's unofficial series of drive-in flicks. The multi-part "nurse" series was composed of these four previous films:
This final film was advertised with the tagline: "Playing doctor was never like this!" and "They'll give you fast-fast-fast relief!" The trailer introduced the film: "Welcome to Oakwood Hospital, where pleasure is the best medicine."
It told about the under-age misadventures and sexploits of three different high school girls working as volunteer hospital candy-stripers. Most of the film involved their action-based encounters: juvenile delinquent Latina Marisa with a wrongly-accused Hispanic after a gas-station robbery, Sandy with a wasted, long-haired rock star Owen Boles (Kendrew Lascelles) accompanied by two mostly unclothed groupies April (Kimberly Hyde) and ZouZou (Elana Casey), and aspiring doctor Dianne with local drug-taking Valley State Matadors basketball player Cliff Gallagher (Rod Hasse).
The pink and white-striped nurses experienced many things:
Opening Animated Credits Sequence
In the neo-noirish Roman Polanski film Chinatown (1974), private detective J.J. Gittes (Jack Nicholson) and Mrs. Evelyn Mulwray (Faye Dunaway) leisurely smoked after having sex (off-screen). Shared cigarette smoking between a couple on screen had often been symbolic of the sex act in films during the Hays Code era.
In a non-censorship time period, on-screen couples could share a cigarette and be shown enjoying a smoke together following actual sexual intercourse.
The post-coital scene showed them naked in bed, as she said: "I want to know more about you," but realized he was reluctant to talk about his past: "You really don't like to talk about the past, do you?...Why does it bother you to talk about it?" As he took another drag from his cagarette, he mentioned that in his past, Chinatown where he worked was "bad luck," because "you can't always tell what's going on. Like with you."
She slightly turned and took a long puff on her own cigarette, and then asked: "Why was it bad luck?" He answered (with portentious foreshadowing): "I was trying to keep someone from being hurt. I ended up making sure that she was hurt." Evelyn noted (partially in French) and half-smiled: "Cherchez la femme. Was there a woman involved?" He replied: "Of course." When she asked: "Dead?", the telephone loudly rang and interrupted them.
She answered it with worry and concern in her voice after being told something troubling. Anguished, she replied cryptically to the caller: "Look, don't do anything. Don't do anything till I get there." After hanging up the phone, she insisted that the call had "nothing to do" with Gittes, but that she had to leave immediately (the call divided them irrevocably because he didn't trust her) - she withheld her destination and her reasons for a hasty exit.
Female Trouble (1974)
A second quintessential John Waters film, after Pink Flamingos (1972), was this shocking and raunchy NC-17 rated camp comedy. The dialogue was often unbelievable (Taffy Davenport (Mink Stole): "I wouldn't suck your lousy dick if I was suffocating, and there was oxygen in your balls!").
One of the dark and trashy film's notorious characters was overweight, 58-year old gap-toothed Aunt Ida Nelson (Edith Massey) who in one scene orgiastically fondled her large, bare breasts. In another scene, she was confined and locked up in an over-sized bird-cage, wearing a white gown and a hook-prosthetic for her left hand after it was amputated by Dawn with an axe.
The main plot was a biography of the film's main star, 300 lb. transvestite Divine, who was featured as Dawn Davenport - a feisty Baltimore HS teenage runaway delinquent on Christmas day. While hitchhiking, she was picked up by a driver of an Edsel station wagon and raped. [In the self-rape scene, Divine played both parts of the sexual assault performed on a dirty mattress on the ground]:
Divine often wore a series of unusual outfits during the film, including grotesque, skin-tight, leather dominatrix outfits, as she worked a succession of jobs, including waitressing, go-go-dancing, prostitution, and petty criminal activity.
She was duped into becoming a face-disfigured fashion model (to test the theory that "Crime is Beauty") when acid was thrown in her face by Ida. The media-obsessed, glory-seeking troubled female was sponsored by Donna and Donald Dasher (Mary Vivian Pierce and David Lochary), the perverted owners of The Lipstick Beauty Salon, to perform a night-club act.
After murdering her daughter Taffy by strangulation, she went on stage with a bizarre, freakish "nightclub act," when she was introduced as the "most beautiful woman in the world." During her act, she jumped up and down on a trampoline, tore up a book, rolled around on stage, sat in a small crib and pretended to masturbate, fondled her body with a dead fish, and made some lewd gestures with a gun. Then, she yelled out to the audience: "Who wants to be famous? Who wants to die for art?" When an audience member lept up and replied: "I do!", she shot him, and when the audience fled, she continued to fire on them maniacally.
Arrested and brought to trial, she was sentenced to die in the electric chair. In jail before she was executed, she made lesbian love with female inmate Ernestine (Elizabeth Coffey). Strapped in the chair in the final scene, she delivered a 'thank you' speech, similar to an Academy Award acceptance, in which she gave a shockingly prescient speech on the cult of media criminal celebrity:
Aunt Ida Nelson
Rapist Earl Peterson (Divine)
Flesh Gordon (1974)
This was a mildly bawdy and silly, soft-core campy sci-fi film (X-rated however), so successful and humorous that an edited R-rated version was released for wider distribution to appeal to varied audiences and make more profits for the producers. The original version was rampant with toilet humor, sexual innuendo, and frequent nakedness - warranting an X-rating.
Its taglines described: "The Space Age Sex Spoof that is out of this World!" and "An Outrageous Parody of Yesterdays' Super Heros!"
The film's action sexually spoofed the 1930s superhero Flash Gordon serial and its characters (with appropriately-named spoofed characters). It took place on a planet named Porno held by Emperor Wang the Perverted (William Hunt). Wang's sex-ray caused sex-crazed behavior on Earth, to be investigated by Flesh Gordon (Jason Williams), his love interest Dale Ardor (Cindy Hopkins), and Flesh's pal Dr. Flexi Jerkoff (Joseph Hudgins).
They took off in a penis-shaped Stratos-ship, and soon were battling a long-necked one-eyed dinosaur-like Penisaurus, dildo-wearing she-beasts, rapist robots with mechanized and spinning pointed genitals, as well as a cavern full of lesbians led by topless, one-eyed, hook-handed space queen Chief Nellie (porn star Candy Samples).
Freebie and the Bean (1974)
Director Richard Rush's un-PC, R-rated parody of Dirty Harry cop films was an action-comedy, and a precursor of the buddy cop films to come, such as 48 Hrs. (1982), Beverly Hills Cop (1984), Running Scared (1986), and Lethal Weapon (1987).
The two macho partners in this film were San Francisco rogue and unorthodox buddy-cops:
They were in search of racketeer Red Meyers (Jack Kruschen), until they found out they had to protect him from Detroit hit-men, and the showdown was to occur on Super Bowl weekend.
There were the requisite car chases (and a dirt-bike pursuit through traffic) and destructive crashes (one off a raised freeway into a third floor apartment's bedroom where an elderly couple was in bed).
Racial and sexist slurs were rampant, and homosexuals were portrayed derisively and as cliches. In the film's twist ending often enthusiastically applauded by audiences, a gay character (Christopher Morley) turned out to be an evil transvestite assassin wearing a print dress. He shot Bean and then held a young girl hostage in the ladies restroom at Candlestick Park.
Before entering, Frebbie mumbled to an objecting female: "Lady, I've spent half my life in toilets, probably die in one." Confronted by Freebie, the karate-kicking cross-dressing male had the upper hand, but then was repeatedly shot until dead. Afterwards, Freebie broke open the sanitary napkin dispenser and used one of the absorbent pads to tend to his own left arm wound.
Going Places (1974, Fr.) (aka Les Valseuses)
Bertrand Blier's French-style Easy Rider (1969) road comedy (the title literally meant 'The Waltzers; or more colloquially, "testicles") was the director's first feature film. Approximately five minutes of the misogynistic and nihilistic picture were edited/censored for its US release. Its stars were two offensive, loutish small-time bohemian crooks sought by police who engaged in stealing cars, and robbing and brutalizing victims:
Both were obsessed with abusive sex during a wild, raucous, aimless, joy-riding journey in the French countryside. The pleasure-seeking duo had sexual experiences with four females:
The film ended with their stolen Citroen speeding and disappearing into a dark tunnel.
Immoral Tales (1974, Fr.) (aka Contes Immoraux)
Polish director Walerian Borowczyk's X-rated soft-core anthology film contained four different erotic historical tales/segments:
(Paloma Picasso with Pascale Christophe)
Inserts (1974, UK)
First time writer/director John Byrum's originally X-rated dark, odd-ball sex comedy (re-rated NC-17 for its DVD/video release, due to crude language, a violent near-rape scene, and full-frontal female and male nudity) was little seen due to its harsh rating. Although filmed in the UK in 1974, it didn't open in the US until 1976, after star Dreyfuss had appeared in the mainstream blockbuster Jaws (1975).
Its poster proclaimed: "A DEGENERATE FILM, WITH DIGNITY," and "Now they make pornos. But they're brilliant pornos."
Set in 1930s Hollywood, the stage-bound film starred Richard Dreyfuss as unshaven, alchoholic, robe and pajamas-wearing silent film-maker Boy Wonder. He had resorted to making more explicit, low-budget, silent black and white hardcore stag/porno loop films in his crumbling and decaying mansion when the talkies arrived.
Screechy-voiced, red-haired former silent film starlet and flapper junkie Harlene (Veronica Cartwright) was one of the 'stars' of his erotic films, appearing with gay stud co-star Rex, the Wonder Dog (Stephen Davies), a disillusioned aspiring actor who worked a day job at a funeral parlor. Harlene was viewed spreading her legs during the opening credits, during a stag film sequence.
When Harlene overdosed on heroin, the impotent filmmaker prodigy Boy Wonder realized he must finish the film he was making by shooting body parts 'inserts' (extreme close-ups of genitals and penetration shots). Another aspiring dark-haired actress - Miss Cathy Cake (Jessica Harper), the virginal, silly and naive girlfriend-fiancee of Rex's financier - mob boss Big Mac (Bob Hoskins), proposed that she could appear in the 'inserts' shots required in the stag films (she also had aspirations of being an actress). In a foreshadowing, Big Mac's plans were to open a chain of gas stations and hamburger stands on an LA freeway.
During filming, he advised Cathy Cake about getting down "into the valley of indecency," telling her: "The trick, Miss Cake, is not to look at it at all, but simply limp to the edge of patience and let yourself fall." At the same time, she attempted to seduce and taunt impotent Boy Wonder. She believed his inability to get aroused was curable, and tried to get his limp "rope to rise," while he told her: "Unwrap the meat!" - referring to her private parts.
Stage dancer and choreographer Bob Fosse directed the Best Picture-nominated biopic of the life of 1960s foul-mouthed, self-destructive night-club stage comedian Lenny Bruce (Dustin Hoffman), chronicled through flashback.
It told of his trouble-filled, deeply-flawed life when he began as a struggling Jewish stand-up comic artist in the Catskills, and his romantic courting of a steamy stripper named "Hot" Honey Harlowe (Valerie Perrine) whom he called his "shiksa goddess."
Their relationship provided the framework for the entire film, with the opening scene being a close-up of Honey's lips as she reminisced about Lenny. The ground-breaking, revolutionary performer was un-PC for his time and crudely honest as he used taboo words and fearlessly took on many of society's sacred cows: the establishment, politicians, relationships between men and women, religion, etc., portrayed in episodic documentary-style interviews filmed in black and white.
When Lenny first met Honey, she was a headline stripper (wearing pasties and a thong) - shown in a lengthy introductory scene as she disrobed in front of an audience - and eventually she became Bruce's wife.
At one point, Lenny romanced Honey in a hotel room decorated with hundreds of flowers - and as she posed naked in the sea of flowers, he exclaimed: "Oh man, is that an album cover?" She replied in an exaggerated voice: "Why don't ya come in, big boy, and pick a few flowers?"
However, their lives began to degenerate, exemplified by unfaithful Lenny's extra-marital affair with a blonde nurse, and when hedonistic Lenny expressed an interest in having a threesome with unwilling but bisexual Honey and another woman (Kathryn Witt).
Afterwards, Lenny hypocritically castigated Honey for doing exactly what he begged her to do, and made unsubtle jabbing insults at her in his act (the "I like dykes" scene). The couple's lives fell tragically apart when they both became drug junkies and alcoholics, she was imprisoned for drug possession, and the two thereafter separated. Drug-addicted Bruce died of a heroin overdose, lying naked on the floor in his house.
The Night Porter (1974, It./USA) (aka Il Portiere di Notte)
Co-writer and director Liliana Cavani's shocking and dark adult arthouse drama was typical of the boundaries-breaking films coming from Europe at this time.
Its theme of obsessive sexual behavior brought outrage and controversy by Jewish leaders, feminists, and Nazi concentration camp survivors who opposed the idea of seeking sexual gratification by abuse from a Nazi captor.
It told about the unhealthy, twisted, sado-masochistic, co-dependent relationship between abused sexual-slave/victim and her oppressor during the Holocaust in a concentration camp:
They relived, rekindled and reawakened their sordid past and master/slave relationship by reestablishing their tragic love affair. It was twelve years later after a startling chance meeting in post-war Vienna after a 1957 opera performance of Mozart's Die Zauberflote. She learned that he was in-hiding and working as a night porter at the Opera Hotel where she was staying as a hotel guest with her famous American conductor husband.
In one sexually-provocative, visually-stunning scene (a flashback), Max had perversely forced a bare-breasted, topless Lucia to dress only in pants (with suspenders), lengthy black leather gloves, and SS-Nazi headgear (subsequently a Nazi fetish costume often duplicated), and perform a seductive cabaret number (to the tune of a Marlene Dietrich song) for a group of concentration camp Nazi guards. During the narrated flashback, Max had promised Lucia that he would transfer away from her an abusive prisoner named Johann, if she would do the dance for him. However, instead of transferring the other prisoner, the depraved Max had Johann decapitated and presented Lucia with his severed head in a box (a reenactment of the Salome biblical tale).
Their relationship (of submission and subjugation) was now freely re-established until Max's former SS colleagues feared discovery by Lucia's threatening existence. As a potential war criminal, he was being pressured by the ex-Nazis to rid themselves of guilt for their complicity in the Holocaust, by turning in Lucia. When he refused, the lovers hid out in his apartment, and were soon after executed. They were shot after they both left Max's apartment, parked their car, and walked across a bridge together - the film abruptly ended..
The Moment of Recognition
Vampyres (1974) (aka Vampyres: Daughters of Darkness, or Daughters of Dracula)
This ultra-erotic Euro-horror/vampire film, typical of a slew of similar exploitative films in the 1970s, was much more extreme than the stereotypical Hammer Studios film, such as The Vampire Lovers (1970, UK) and its sequels Lust for a Vampire (1971, UK) and Twins of Evil (1972, UK). This lesbian vampire film capitalized on the parallel connections between vampirism and sex, and eroticism and bloody gore.
This film's tagline clearly explained its ultimate appeal: "They shared the pleasures of the flesh, and the horrors of the grave!" Another proclaimed: "The Ultimate Lust. Their lips are moist and very, very red!"
Spanish director José Ramón Larraz's atmospheric film told about a pair of gorgeous lesbian-bisexual, blood-lusting vampires who haunted an abandoned castle in the British countryside and appeared in dark overcoats in the moors:
In the opening scene, the two were shot down in their bedroom by an unknown assassin - and the film brought up the possibility that the two bisexuals in the English countryside were ghosts of the murdered females haunting a gothic castle.
As the film proceeded, they hitch-hiked or waylaid passers-by on a nearby foggy country road. Transient travelers became lured male and female victims, who were taken to the castle, fed (wined and dined), offered carnal sex, and then wounded and drained of their blood. One such victim, Ted (Murray Brown), was kept alive by Fran to serve her needs, and another English couple, John and Harriet (Brian Deacon and Sally Faulkner), camping on the castle's grounds, were also targeted. The bloodlusting vampyres eventually murdered with knives in order to feast on fresh blood - although without fangs.
The Making of Two
Young Frankenstein (1974)
In writer-producer-director Mel Brooks' nostalgic, hilarious spoof-tribute to classic horror films titled Young Frankenstein (1974), there were a number of strong phallic references in its jokes.
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein's (Gene Wilder) frigid fiancee Elizabeth (Madeline Kahn) had an encounter with the over-sized Monster (Peter Boyle). After Elizabeth (with locks of white hair) was kidnapped from her bedroom, she was carried into the woods by the Monster, while he was being pursued by torch-bearing villagers. She awoke and tried to bargain with him when he grunted at her. But when she saw his "enormous schwanstucker," she changed her mind and barked out willinglly: "Oh, my God! Woof!"
She vainly attempted to convince him that she was engaged, as he crouched atop her for sex, and then gleefully warbled in falsetto the song from Naughty Marietta (1935):
Afterwards, she shared a post-coital cigarette with the Monster (actually, after an inhuman six bouts of sex), who lit two in his mouth and gave her one - an after-sex standard practice in 1940s films. As they smoked, she continued to deliver one-liners, such as: "A penny for your thoughts....(the Monster grunted) You're incorrigible, aren't you? You little zipperneck. Oh, all right, seven has always been my lucky number. Come over here, you hot Monster." But when he left abruptly, she quipped:
The spoof culminated with a transference operation (conducted by hunchback Igor (Marty Feldman)) in which Dr. Frankenstein transferred his intellectual brain to the Monster, while he received the Monster's enormous schlong. The operation was interrupted when the villagers attacked the castle and destroyed some lab equipment, but the Monster, now sophisticated and intelligent, was able to placate the mob.
Dr. Frankenstein ended up marrying his lab assistant Inga (Teri Garr), and the Monster had coupled up with Elizabeth. When in their honeymoon bed, Inga asked Frankenstein about the results of the sex operation:
Frankenstein responded with a long gutteral noise (inferring that he had acquired the Monster's giant penis), and as they had sex (off-screen), she also exclaimed:
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 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015
Index to All Decades, Years and Features