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

(Illustrated)

1978



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

(National Lampoon's) Animal House (1978)

This very popular, low-brow, 'gross-out' anarchistic comedy from National Lampoon and director John Landis was the first big-studio comedy of its kind aimed specifically at the teen and college demographic. It was Landis' follow-up film to the previous year's Kentucky Fried Movie (1977). It set the standard for many subsequent teen comedies in the 1980s and after. Following the film was a TV series titled Delta House (1979).

The 'guilty pleasure' R-rated film was an unexpected major hit - and the first of many other successors. It provided star-making roles for many young actors (John Belushi, Kevin Bacon, Tom Hulce, Tim Matheson, Stephen Furst, and Karen Allen).

The quintessential college frat party film was set at fictional Faber College in 1962. It portrayed the rivalry between the prestigious Omega frat house (presided over by jock athlete Greg Marmalard (James Daughton)), and the misfit Delta Tau Chi fraternity house - known for debauchery, drinking, and other misadventures (including a toga party, which soon became a raging phenomenon).

The Delta fraternity, represented by Delta's Sgt-at-Arms John "Bluto" Blutarsky (John Belushi, a Saturday Night Live regular), was pitted in a madcap war against some ROTC members and the main Faber College administrator - the school’s Dean Vernon Wormer (John Vernon).

One of its classic scenes was the 'Peeping Tom' scene of prankster "Bluto" perched on a ladder outside a sorority house top story window, watching a topless pillow fight. He glanced backwards to share a conspiratorial glance with the voyeuristic film audience behind him when he began spying on an undressing Mandy Pepperidge (Mary Louise Weller), Marmalard’s girlfriend. She momentarily touched herself, and in the excitement, Bluto's ladder tipped backwards.

"Peeping Tom" Scene on Sorority Coed Mandy Pepperidge (Mary Louise Weller)

A few of the other Delta fraternity members also scored with other females, in a few of the best film segments:

  • slimy and suave Eric "Otter" Stratton (Tim Matheson), the Delta rush chairman, made out in a car with Shelly Dubinsky (Lisa Baur), a student from nearby Emily Dickinson College, after convincing her that he needed sympathy because he was her deceased roommate's fiancee.
  • new Delta recruit Larry "Pinto" Kroger (Tom Hulce) debated with a devil and angel figure (his conscience) on his shoulders about whether to take advantage of passed-out coed Clorette dePasto (Sarah Holcomb), a young grocery store cashier - not knowing that she was Mayor Carmine DePasto's (Cesare Danova) 13 year-old daughter:

Devil: "F--k her. F--k her brains out. Suck her tits. Squeeze her buns. You know she wants it."
Angel: "For shame! Lawrence, I'm surprised at you!"
Devil: "Aw, don't listen to that jack-off. Look at those gazongas. You'll never get a better chance."
Angel: "If you lay one finger on that poor sweet helpless girl, you'll despise yourself forever... I'm proud of you, Lawrence."
Devil: "You homo."


"Otter's" Car Make-Out Scene with Shelly Dubinsky (Lisa Baur)


Passed Out Co-Ed Clorette dePasto (Sarah Holcomb) with "Pinto"

"Pinto's" Dilemma: The Choices Proposed by an Angel and Devil

Behind Convent Walls (1978, It.) (aka Interno di un Convento, or Interieur D'un Couvent)

Director Walerian Borowczyk's erotic, well-photographed arthouse film was based upon notorious French author Stendhal's Roman Walks (or Promenades Dans Romanes). The soft-focus drama was one of a number of "Convent Erotica" sexploitation (or nunsploitation) films.

It told about an early 19th century nunnery run by a fervent sword-cane-wielding disciplinarian Mother Superior, Abbess Flavia Orsini (Gabriella Giacobbe). The pale-faced, sexually-repressed nuns reveled in rousing organ music in the chapel, danced to violin, performed sexy acrobatic leg exercises, and engaged in same-sex breast fondling in a confessional booth. The Mother Superior was appalled by the sensual urges of her charges, fearing that the "King of Darkness" had overtaken them.

To suppress their behaviors, she punished their hysterical, sacrilegious actions and sins against the Lord by forbidding them, although it was a vain effort, and forcing the guilty to repent and beg for forgiveness. She also resorted to searching rooms for contraband materials (including mirrors, love letters, dirty pictures, etc.).

The film's most notorious scene was one in which one of the nuns (Olivia Pascal) found a piece of wood (a large round dowel) on some broken window-pane glass, deflected from a woodcutter below. She took the wood and shard of glass back to her room and - while naked under her gown - she carved herself a large wooden dildo. She held the round stick of wood over a large bowl where the shavings were collected as she whittled. She commissioned another artistic nun (who was in the midst of drawing a figure of a man with an erect penis!) to draw a small image of the bearded face of Jesus Christ to glue to the handle base of the carved wooden phallus - for blasphemous masturbatory purposes to induce religious ecstasy. In the hard-core versions of the film, she pleasured herself with the Jesus-headed wooden dildo, while watching the image of Jesus in a hand-held mirror, and causing bloody injury to herself.

When caught using the bloody instrument which she had just rinsed in a white bowl, she claimed it was only a "stick...that fell from heaven as I came down the hall. It crashed right through the window at my feet." The Mother Superior was incensed that the nun also had a mirror in her possession, and asked: "What was going on?...Show me what was going on here!" The nun complied and demonstrated above her clothes, causing the shocked Mother Superior to call her "shameless."

Nun (Olivia Pascal) Carving Herself A Wood Dildo and Using It

The Mother Superior found herself forced to deal with more serious forms of sexual experimentation - masturbation, lesbianism, and illicit sex. Her own niece - the love-starved, chaste nun Sister Clara (the director's wife Ligia Branice) began to regularly meet up and be seduced by the Father Confessor's (Mario Maranzana) virile, and she had ecstatic sex with ne'er-do-well nephew Rodrigo Landriani (Howard Ross). The visits of the local meat butcher Silva (Alessandro Partexano), the "meat man," were restricted after he was found having a secret affair with pale-faced Sister Martina (Loredana Martinez).

One of the nuns, Sister Veronica (Marina Pierro) inflicted stigmata on herself with a bouquet of thorny roses attached to the crown of a crucifix.

Stigmata Wounds

The film ended with the Mother Superior accidentally dead of a poisoning overdose of laudanum, and a few of the distraught nuns had committed suicide.





Sexy Leg and Body Exercises

Breast-Fondling

Pregnancy



A Flurry of Sexual Activity

Coming Home (1978)

Director Hal Ashby's late 1970s liberal, well-acted anti-war treatise which ultimately cost about $7.2 million, grossed $32.7 million in the U.S. The successful film depicted the effects of the Vietnam War - in the intimate, steamy and provocative relationship (both sexual and romantic) between:

  • Sally Hyde (Best Actress winner Jane Fonda, also an activist who opposed the war), a V.A. Hospital volunteer and conservative military wife
  • Luke Martin (Best Actor winner Jon Voight), a combat-injured, paraplegic enlisted Vietnam War veteran, and Sally's former classmate

Her deranged, war-captain Marine husband Capt. Bob Hyde (Bruce Dern) was on a lengthy tour of duty in Vietnam, and formed the third part of a dangerous romantic love triangle.

As Luke was rehabilitated, he developed a strong and sensitive emotional relationship with Sally, and eventually they made love together. According to reports of the film-making, the sex scene was fraught with anxiety. Although Sally was on top during traditional intercourse, Luke was able to accurately gauge her sexual needs and provide her with her first orgasm through oral sex. Her pleasurable reaction was recorded on her face and in her squirming legs wrapped around his back. It was a very lengthy, milestone scene for a 1970s film.

Sally's (Jane Fonda) Adultery with a Paraplegic (Jon Voight)

When Hyde returned home from the front with a self-inflicted accidental injury, he confronted the two lovers with menacing anger, but ended up committing suicide by walking naked into the ocean where he presumably drowned.


Sally (Jane Fonda) with Luke (Jon Voight)
Fairy Tales (1978)

Independent filmmaker and director Harry Hurwitz (aka Harry Tampa) made a career out of three low-budget comedies:

  • Fairy Tales (1978), a sexed-up fantasy version (in both hard-core and soft-core varieties) of traditional children's tales
  • Auditions (1978), a porn documentary
  • Nocturna (1979), the vampire disco sex-comedy

In the mid-1970s, there had been a trend to release alternate sexy versions of full stories, such as Alice in Wonderland (1976), and Cinderella (1977).

Fairy Tales was a low-brow, smutty, and vulgar musical sex comedy, an X-rated parody composed of various Mother Goose nursery rhyme characters. They were randomly placed into the plot, spouting leering and dirty sex jokes littered with double entendres, voyeurism, simulated sex, and some full-frontal nudity. The naughty film's tagline was: "Some Day Your Prince Will Come."

On his 21st birthday, an impotent Prince (Don Sparks) was not interested in a very-willing Naked Girl (Idy Tripodi) given to him by his advisors as a birthday present in his bed (she complained: "You're no fun!"). The Prince's manic sex expert Dr. Eyes ("Professor" Irwin Corey) joked: "They only make semen white and urine yellow so that you know whether you're comin' or goin'" - and "My moon is in Scorpio, and my Venus is five inches below my belly-button. Well, it's better there than in Uranus."

The Prince sought to find the virginal Princess Sleeping Beauty in the Land of the Fairies to "sire an heir" to the throne with her, before forfeiting his royal throne in only a few days. Sexually attracted to her painting ("I'm sure it would work with her"), the horny Prince set out on a quest to impregnate his comatose dream girl Sleeping Beauty (future 80's scream queen and Queen of the B's Linnea Quigley).

Dream Princess Sleeping Beauty (Linnea Quigley)

The fractured fairy tale elements included numerous characters during the Prince's journey:

  • Little Bo Peep (Angela Aames), a tap-dancing, screeching, animal-loving buxom blonde with lost sheep who asked the Prince: "What's your trouble? Tell me...What's the matter? Can't you come?" with his naive reply: "Where are ya goin'?" - she stripped for him but to no avail, and suggested that she go see the Old Lady in a Shoe
  • the Old Lady (Brenda Fogarty as Gussie Gander) with her Shoe converted into a brothel advertised by smarmy barker-doorman Little Tommy Tucker (Robert Staats)
  • Shoe Elevator Girl (Mariwin Roberts), naked and with only one line of dialogue: ("Going down?")
  • Sirus (Sy Richardson), a flamboyant 70s black pimp with an enormous red codpiece
  • Snow White (Anne Gaybis) with seven real munchkin sex-dwarfs ("each no taller than my titties...seven hungry little mouths to kiss," she sang)
  • Jack (Jeff Douchette), a gay male and his partner Jill (Lindsay Freeman), a promiscuously-insatiable female ("Wanna fool around?")
  • Ol' King Cole (Bob Leslie), both randy and lecherous who watched a lengthy strip-tease by undulating, oil-covered belly dancer Sheherazade (Nai Bonet)
  • S&M dancers (Marita Ditmar, Evelyn Guerrero and an unknown), a masked trio in a dungeon who sang the chains-whips number "Beat Me Daddy Eight to the Bar"
  • another trio of masked naked females who sang part of the chorus for the production number: "Been a Virgin Too Long"

Finally by film's end, after Gussie Gander failed to arouse the Prince, he came upon the awakening virginal Sleeping Beauty who asked: "I've been waiting for him to kiss me. What took you so long?" Soon after, the Prince made love to his Princess, and they drove off in a horse-drawn carriage to his castle where they constantly were in bed and refused interruptions.

The concluding epilogue featured the doorman strangely hawking three items: a love potion, an "official fairy tale Little Bo Peep sheep" for single lonely fellas, and "the official codpiece as worn by Sirus in this motion picture."



Naked Girl (Idy Tripodi)

Little Bo Peep (Angela Aames)

Shoe Elevator Girl (Mariwin Roberts)

Snow White (Anne Gaybis)

Jill (Lindsay Freeman)


Masked S&M Dancers

Get Out Your Handkerchiefs (1978, Fr./Belgium) (aka Préparez Vos Mouchoirs)

Writer/director Bertrand Blier's R-rated odd and unconventional comedy farce (the Best Foreign Film Oscar winner!) told about an unusual sexual awakening. Its tagline was:

"The Delicious Anarchy of Love and Devotion"

It told about a long-suffering husband and wife's strained relationship:

  • Raoul (Gerard Depardieu), burly, well-meaning and frantic
  • Solange (Carole Laure), knitting-loving, depressed, unresponsive, and almost mute

Raoul went to great and drastic lengths to sexually satisfy his bored wife. He first tried to enlist other lovers to have sex with her and possibly get her pregnant. The first failed candidate was bearded, glasses-wearing schoolteacher Stéphane (Patrick Dewaere), a Mozart lover who also was meticulous about arranging his complete collection of Pocket Books.

Solange (Carole Laure) With a 13 Year-Old Boy

However, success finally came through a match-up with underaged, high-IQ, precocious, socially-awkward 13 year old virginal boy, Christian Boloeil (Riton Liebman). After Solange rescued the boy from bullies' hazing, she brought him to her bed where he peeked at her beneath her nightgown as she slept. Although she was shocked by his explorations, she soon gave herself to him and ended up becoming pregnant by him.



Solange (Carole Laure)

Halloween (1978)

Director John Carpenter's low-budget slasher film Halloween (1978), at its time, was the most profitable independent film in industry history, with a domestic box-office gross of $47 million.

The landmark film set in motion the Puritanical, psycho-pathological principle that surviving murder by a psychopathic killer was directly related to the degree of one's sexual experience. It also asserted the allegorical idea that sexual awakening often meant the literal 'death' of innocence (or oneself).

In the film's opening sequence (filmed from the POV of the young killer wearing a Halloween mask) - after teenaged Judith Myers (Sandy Johnson) had sex with her boyfriend Tommy (David Kyle), the six-year-old killer Michael Myers (Will Sandin as boy) took a large butcher knife, entered his near-naked sister's upstairs bedroom where he found her sitting and brushing her hair in front of a vanity table. After he surveyed her bedsheets, she turned and recognized her brother: "Michael!" The act of illicit sex stirred him to commit a hideous crime. Although she tried to defend herself, he furiously stabbed her to death in a brutal murder, and her bloodied body tumbled to the floor.

In this film, the murders often occurred after sexual encounters when victims were distracted and off-guard. The dark silhouette of the serial killer Michael Myers was slightly visible to the right as teenaged Lynda (P.J. Soles) and her boyfriend Bob (John Michael Graham) made love in a bed next to a jack-o-lantern. Shortly later, Bob was killed by stabbing and Lynda was strangled with a phone cord.

The virginal baby-sitting main character Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) was able to escape mostly unscathed (as did the asexual Dr. Loomis, the young pre-teen Tommy Doyle, and asexual Myers himself!), but others who were more promiscuous and sexually-charged were less fortunate and suffered deadly consequences as stalked victims.



Judith Myers (Sandy Johnson)


Lynda (P.J. Soles)

I Spit on Your Grave (1978) (aka Day of the Woman)

Director/writer Meir Zarchi's low-budget vengeance story was a notorious gang rape/vigilante film with exploitative splatter-horror film elements. The film was banned outright in many countries, and vilified by critics everywhere.

It told about thin NYC socialite/aspiring short story writer Jennifer Hills (Camille Keaton, married to director/writer/producer Zarchi at the time of filming) who rented a remote and woodsy, upstate NY lakeside dwelling in upstate NY (filmed in Connecticut) for the summer, to write her first novel. When she first arrived at the home, she went skinny-dipping.

She inadvertently met aimless locals at a gas station:

  • Johnny Stillman (Eron Tabor), a gas station manager
  • Stanley Woods (Anthony Nichols) and harmonica-playing Andy Chirensky (Gunter Kleeman), Johnny's two unemployed friends
  • Matthew Lucas (Richard Pace), a mentally-slow supermarket delivery man, who brought bags of groceries to the house

Johnny Stillman

Matthew Lucas

Andy Chirensky

Stanley Woods

Next were two entirely painful-to-watch rape sequences that were graphic and lengthy (30 minutes in a 100 minute film!), and particularly vicious and heinous, and included both a vaginal and brutal anal rape in the muddy forest, and then more sexual assault in her house. She was aggressively harrassed, confronted, and repeatedly violated by the four locals, who used the excuse that they were aiding Matthew in losing his virginity. ("The broad's all yours. Come on....We got her for you"). So they stripped her of her bathing suit and offered her up, but when Matthew chickened out ("I can't do it now, not now!"), Johnny raped her in a meadow in degrading fashion. She vainly struggled against them as she was held down and violated.

She crawled away and ran off, only to be tracked down again by harmonica-playing Andy - and then brutally and anally raped by Andy while restrained over a large boulder - and letting out a horrendous scream!

There was a second rape in her rental house by an impotent, slightly-drunken Matthew. He complained to his buddies: "I can't come, you're interrupting my concentration...I can't, not with people watching me." As Jennifer laid there helpless, Stanley told her: "Total submission. That's what I like in a woman. Total submission," then briefly bottle-raped her and thrust his crotch into her face, yelling: "Suck it, bitch!" as he repeatedly slapped her and called her a whore.

When ordered and coaxed into stabbing Jennifer to death in the heart to eliminate their only witness to the multiple crimes ("If she's dead, she can't point her finger at us"), Matthew faked the murder by spreading blood on the knife blade. Bruised and battered, the traumatized victim Jennifer knelt under a cleansing shower. Two weeks later after Jennifer was spotted on the lawn by the river, Matthew was beaten up for lying.

Afterwards, the traumatized victim Jennier visited a church and prayed for forgiveness (while vowing to seek angry-cold-blooded revenge) before the brutal and bloody counter-assault she had planned against each of the four attackers. Two of the killings involved sexually seducing and distracting the men beforehand, in order to lower their defenses:

Matthew's Seduction Before Noose-Hanging
  • Matthew's seduction before noose-hanging from a tree near the house
  • Johnny's lethal bloodletting castration conducted nude in her warm bathtub with a conveniently-placed carving knife (see below)
  • Andy's axing
  • Stanley - while drowning, was disemboweled with an outboard boat motor
Vengeful Retaliation of Jennifer (Camille Keaton) Against Johnny by Bathtub Castration

She enticingly invited him back to her rented summer house, promising: "Come on, I'll give you a hot bath." Naked in the warm bathtub with him, she manually stimulated him as he closed his eyes and relaxed ("You've got great hands - God bless your hands. Oh yeah, that's fantastic"). She conducted a lethal bloodletting castration - a literal bloodbath with a conveniently-placed carving knife (his first reaction: "That's so sweet, it's painful"), causing him to bleed to death in the locked bathroom ("What have you done to me? Oh, God! Oh, s--t!...I can't stop the bleeding...It won't stop bleeding!").

In the living room, she calmly sat in a rocker and listened to a Puccini opera on the phonograph as he screamed in the background and died. She burned his clothes in the fireplace, cleaned up the blood-splattered bathroom, and dumped his body on the basement stairs.


Jennifer Hills (Camille Keaton)

Jennifer: Skinny-Dipping





Jennifer's Two Rapes in the Woods

Rapes in the House

Matthew's Attempted Rape

Bottle Rape by Stanley

Matthew Faking Jennifer's Death


Cleaning Up after Rapes

Visit to Church



Andy Axed in Back

Stanley Disemboweled by Motorboat

Malibu Beach (1978)

The quintessential 70s teen beach sexploitation film by writer/director Robert J. Rosenthal and Crown International Pictures had the taglines:

  • "Before There Was 'Baywatch,' There Was ... 'Malibu Beach'"
  • "Everything Can Happen on Malibu Beach"

The simplistic R-rated film was very forgettable and bland, although typical of late 70's and early 80's teen-beach movies of the time, with a sprinkling of T&A shots. The mostly-plotless beach film was set at Malibu in S. California, and had all the typical ingredients of teen sex comedies, including a non-stop disco-inspired soundtrack and:

  • beach parties at night with skinny-dipping and marijuana smoking
  • sexy lifeguards of both sexes
  • wild summer nights including pool, dancing, and boozing at the local bar
  • a hot-rod race
  • a bikini top-stealing dog

The film's recurring gag was of a dog (owned by Ms. Plickett) stealing a different female sunbather's bikini top SEVEN times.

Some of the Victims of Bikini-Stealing Dog

The main plot was about four Malibu California teenagers after the end of the school year, who looked forward to many days of surf and sex on the Malibu Beach:


Dina (Kim Lankford)

Bobby (James Daughton)

Sally (Susan Player)

Paul (Michael Luther)
  • Dina (Kim Lankford), a hot dirty-blonde bombshell, also shy, who began work as a Malibu Beach lifeguard
  • Sally (Susan Player), Dina's care-free, dim school pal
  • Bobby (James Daughton), a blonde-haired, blue-eyed beach-bum hunk with an open light blue Jeep; paired up for a short while with horny, ex-girlfriend Glorianna (Tara Strohmeier)
  • Paul (Michael Luther), Bobby's friend

Although Bobby made love to both Glorianna and to Sally on the same day, while Paul hooked up with Dina that evening, Bobby became particularly interested in Dina after a midnight skinny-dip swim, and Paul paired up with Sally. Dina's and Bobby's mutual interest in each other led to a pair of love-making scenes on the beach and in her bedroom.

Bobby's Love-Making with Dina on Beach and in Her Bedroom

Also competing for Dina's attention (against Bobby) was muscle-bound, motor-cycle riding, older trouble-maker Michael Dugan (Stephen Oliver), who eventually ended up with schoolteacher Ms. Plickett (Flora Plumb).

Antics throughout the film included a game of chicken in cars, two incompetent cops (a drunk and a pothead), a long bumper-cars sequence, and a swimming race involving both a fake and real shark.



Bobby's Ex-Girlfriend Glorianna (Tara Strohmeier)



Sally (Susan Player)
Skinnydipping with Paul


Foursome Skinny-Dip


The Dog's Collection of Seven Colorful Bikini Tops

Midnight Express (1978)

Director Alan Parker's harrowing drama was factually-based upon the main character's account - an American student who described his experience in a 1977 book and told about his brutal imprisonment in a hellish Turkish prison for hash possession.

The screenplay was written by Oliver Stone, who took some cinematic liberties with the facts. When the film was accused of presenting anti-Turkish sentiment, Stone apologized (many years later) for his tampered celluloid version.

In the fall of 1970, young Billy Hayes (Brad Davis) was arrested at the Istanbul, Turkey airport when security guards found bricks of hash taped to his body. He was sentenced for drug possession to over four years in prison.

Over the years, he was stripped at gunpoint, and forced to endure beatings, rape (although fictionalized), and torture by sadistic guards. He was finally able to successfully escape in 1975.

In one scene during his incarceration, the sexually-desperate Billy asked his prison-visiting girlfriend Susan (Irene Miracle) to show him her breasts. She pressed them against the partition's glass so he could kiss them and pleasure himself. She sobbed: "I wish I could make it better for you."

Touching Susan (Irene Miracle) Separated by a Glass Partition

[Note: The prison visitation scene was humorously reinterpreted in Jim Carrey's The Cable Guy (1996).]


Susan (Irene Miracle)

Nicole (1978) (aka Crazed, or The Widow's Revenge)

Writer-director István Ventilla's poorly-made erotic thriller from Troma Productions was at one time an impossible-to-find relic. However, it was released on DVD to capitalize on its rarity - to showcase 'one of a kind' topless nudity by one of its characters. It also tried to highlight the comeback of An American in Paris and Gigi's musical star Leslie Caron in the 1950s, now 47 years old, with the tagline:

Gigi's all grown up...and she's a sicko!

In this case, it was the appearance of 24 year-old Catherine (credited as Kathy) Bach, and the film touted: "Her (Catherine Bach's) only nude scenes."

[Note: She would become famous in coming years as Daisy Duke in the classic TV show The Dukes of Hazzard, on the air from 1979-1985.]

The suspenseful film's plot allegedly resembled one of the lost works of William Shakespeare, named Cardenio.

A slightly mad, wealthy and reclusive Nicole (Leslie Caron), a decadent and lustful bisexual widow, lived in a luxurious mansion with her strange and burly, live-in chauffeur-butler Malcolm (Ramon Bieri). In a flashback (the film's opening scene), he murdered his adulterous wife (Patrice Bough) and her male partner.

Lesbian Groping of Sue (Catherine Bach) by Nicole (Leslie Caron)

Socialite Nicole also became obsessed over young and innocent aspiring dancer Sue (Catherine Bach) in a ballet class, and befriended her by offering minor plastic surgery and a place to live at the mansion.

They shared a brief breast groping and cupping (possibly with a body double), as Nicole attempted to draw Sue into her plans for a threesome with dashing gentleman suitor Fletcher (Bruce Graziano), a car salesman whom she had seen on TV ads.

The film concluded with Fletcher's death (executed by Malcolm) and Sue's death - mauled by Nicole's trained Great Dane guard dogs.



Sue (Catherine Bach)

Threesome

Pretty Baby (1978)

Louis Malle's provocative R-rated American debut film - a semi-scandalous picture upon its release, was criticized for being child porn. It debuted at a time when there was public uproar over child abuse, child pornography, and child prostitution. Malle had hired a female scriptwriter (Polly Platt) to insure that the film was dealt with in a sensitive manner. Some worried that young Brooke Shields would be traumatized by her 'adult' role in the film - yet the entire film was basically free of explicit scenes or language. Today, the historical drama would be considered fairly tame. However, the film was banned in various countries, or censored versions were the only ones allowed.

Various versions were edited (with dark shading, readjusted formats or closeups), and a G-string shield was worn to avoid portraying the underage nudity of the budding, prepubescent Brooke Shields. Two scenes of Shields' nudity were removed from some versions of the film in various countries. Some critics recognized that the film possibly portrayed Brooke Shields as a defenseless and naive daughter used by her manipulative mother - similar to her publicity-fueled image in real-life.

The fictional yet historically-inspired drama was based on Al Rose's 1974 non-fictional book Storyville, New Orleans: Being an Authentic, Illustrated Account of the Notorious Red-Light District. The tagline described the film's point of view:

"The image of an adult world through a child's eyes."

It was gorgeously photographed by Bergman-cinematographer Sven Nykvist, and realistically set in a 1917 New Orleans bordello in the legalized red-light district of Storyville during the Great War. Customers were entertained with ragtime music in the brothel by cathouse piano player "The Professor" (Antonio Vargas).

The erotic, slice-of-life drama told the plodding, tragic coming-of-age story of a virginal, jaded 12 year-old Violet (former child model Brooke Shields in her breakthrough role) - a pre-teen child prostitute who lived with her languid New Orleans brothel mother Hattie (Susan Sarandon). Ernest J. Bellocq (Keith Carradine) often frequented the bordellos to photograph the working girls.

During one of Bellocq's photo sessions with Hattie (while Violet watched inquisitively), she bragged about her body:

My breasts are very nice. They're nicer than any of the other girls'. Do you think maybe I should just show 'em a little bit?

Bellocq requested that she sprinkle white powder on her shoulder and her exposed breast. Hattie dusted herself, and then provocatively wiped the powder from her nipple with a moistened finger. Violet attended the entire shooting, and was accused of getting in the way of the day's work by Bellocq.

Photo Session: Hattie (Susan Sarandon) with Violet (Brooke Shields) Watching

Once Violet turned 12, the brothel madam - cocaine-sniffing Madam Nell (Frances Faye) encouraged brothel patrons to bid in an auction for the matter-of-fact honor of taking Violet's virginity ("Remember, gentlemen, she's as fresh as a baby's lips"). Violet's first night as a prostitute went to the highest bidder ($400 cash). After Violet's deflowering, the buyer (Don Lutenbacher) scurried off and left Violet lying motionless and quiet on an upstairs bed. Everyone rushed in with worry: ("Get a doctor! She's been murdered!"), but after a long delay, Violet stirred and rebuked everyone by joking: "Well, I'd like to know where the hell y'all been? I been lying here forever! You don't care about me at all." However, she did wince when she sat up - evidence that the experience was painful.

Later, in one of the film's more contested scenes, Madam Nell offered the naked Violet in her bath to a dumb-founded farmer - a prospective customer:

"Now, how about it? Pure as the driven snow."

During a Bath, Violet (Brooke Shields) ("Pretty Baby") Was Offered to Farmer

To better herself and become more respectable, Hattie decided to marry one of her rich clients, Mr. Alfred Fuller (Don Hood) and move to St. Louis. Violet refused to go with her mother, and Hattie gave her future husband the impression that Violet was her younger sister, not her daughter! As Hattie left, she promised to return at some time to retrieve Violet (once she told her husband the truth).

In the meantime, the abandoned (or deserted), coquettish and headstrong Violet (after a run-in with Madam Nell) decided to move in with Bellocq to get away from the brothel. Bellocq took the young girl into his residence - signifying the complete loss of her innocence. At one point earlier, Violet naively told him: "I love you once, I love you twice, I love you more than red beans and rice!" Their relationship (with such an age gap) was highly unusual and often contentious, more like a squabbling parent-child.

In one sequence, when Violet reclined for a long period of time on a chaise lounger as the obsessed and voyeuristic Bellocq fiddled with his camera for more picture-taking of his nude model (similar to sessions with her mother), the very childish Violet became restless, irritable, and frustrated. She lept up and approached the camera angrily and rebelliously:

"I'm tired of lyin' here....It's always one second more with you, and why do you want to take my picture again and again and again?...I don't have to stay here and listen to you yell at me. Well, I'm leaving, and you won't have anyone to photograph anymore."

Violet Posing for Ernest Bellocq For Nude Photographs

To spite him, she smashed a photographic plate and scratched out the image on another. He viciously slapped her across the face, ordered her out of his house, and locked her in one of the rooms - treating her like a child:

"Get out, get out Violet, before I kill you if you destroy any more of my pictures."

After quarreling with Bellocq, Violet returned to the brothel although by now, the Storyville brothels were no longer legal and were closing down. Violet had little choice, now abandoned, but to marry Bellocq. A license was acquired before a judge and the ceremony was officiated in a church.

Two weeks later, Hattie arrived to take back Violet, when she unexpectedly arrived from St. Louis with her new husband Mr. Fuller, a pavement contractor. She claimed: "I told him all about you, Violet, and he insisted that we come and get ya....And he wants you to come home with us." The marriage was considered illegal and null at her age, without Hattie's consent: "It is not legal without my consent."

Mr. Fuller argued that Violet would thrive with a more conventional and proper life and a chance at being schooled:

Now, Mr. Bellocq, be sensible. Now, I want to send Violet to school, and she has to be raised right. Now, I know that in a lot of ways we've got no right to get up on a high horse. But now, Mrs. Fuller has overcome her past, and she wants the same for Violet.

Although Bellocq was adamant and refused: "Well, you cannot take her! I can't live without her... that's all," he had no choice in the matter, and neither did Violet. At the train station before departure, Mr. Fuller took a few family snapshots - the last film image was an ambiguous freeze-framed image of Violet - not really a child anymore.


Pretty Baby (Brooke Shields)

Frequest Brothel Visitor: Photographer Ernest Bellocq (Keith Carradine)

One of Bellocq's Actual Turn-of-the-Century Portraits


Brothel Madam Nell (Frances Faye)


Bidding on Violet During Auction


After Deflowering: "Where the hell y'all been?"


(l to r): Violet and Her Mother Hattie - Who Wished to Leave the Brothel


Violet to Bellocq: "I love you once, I love you twice, I love you more than beans and rice"


Violet (Brooke Shields) with Photographer-Husband Ernest Bellocq (Keith Carradine)



Marriage to Bellocq

Hattie's Return to Take Violet


Family Picture at the Train Station

Film's Final Ambiguous Freeze-Framed Close-Up of Violet

Sextette (1978)

One of the worst turkey films (or flops) ever made was "sin-sational" Mae West's final film (her first film was in 1932, 46 years earlier) - it was an embarrassing and campy effort directed by Ken Hughes and distributed by Crown International Pictures. The sex comedy was based on her own Broadway musical, titled Sextet. The bawdy Mae West maintained her sex-kitten persona while parodying herself at the age of 85.

It was about aging Hollywood actress Marlo Manners (Mae West) who was in London, paired with her newlywed sixth husband, young British nobleman Sir Michael Barrington (32-year old Timothy Dalton), and now known as Lady Barrington. They were spending their honeymoon in a hotel suite which was also the site of an international conference composed of diplomats. The couple was constantly being interrupted by hotel personnel, requests for interviews, PR demands, fans, reporters, and fashion and photo sessions. There were a host of cameo and guest appearances by many celebrities, including Beatle Ringo Starr, Tony Curtis, George Hamilton, Alice Cooper, Rona Barrett, Regis Philbin, and George Raft.

One of the most improbable and awkward scenes found Lady Barrington in a gymnasium surrounded by studly, sex-hungry muscular men from the US Gymnastics Team.

She was in the process of dictating her scandalous memoirs, and often croaked uncomfortably unfunny double entendres or quips as she strutted around:

  • "I'm the girl who works for Paramount all day, and Fox all night"
  • "Well, marriage is like a book, the whole story takes place between the covers"
  • "Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?" - an old standby that she hadn't actually said in any of her earlier films

At one point, Sir Michael spoke/sang to her the disco hit and their signature tune Love Will Keep Us Together, which West lip-synched. At the end of the film, when she finally found herself in bed, Sir Michael complimented her, and she had a comeback:

Sir Michael: "You've done more for your country than Paul Revere."
Lady Barrington: "Well, I'm looking forward to saying the same thing he said. 'Oh, the British are coming! Hmm.'"




Marlo Manners (Mae West)

Stay As You Are (1978, It./Sp.) (aka Cosi' Come Sei)

This little known provocative European film from director Alberto Lattuada was released in the US in late 1979.

It told about a May-December romance (and possible incest) between:

  • Giulio Marengo (54 year-old Marcello Mastroianni), a middle-aged, Roman landscape architect who was unhappily married
  • Francesca (19 year-old Nastassja Kinski), a youthful, vibrantly beautiful, and nubile university student who was possibly Giulio's real daughter
Bed & Breakfast with Naked Francesca (Nastassja Kinski)

Giulio was sexually-tempted by Francesca, but worried about it because she resembled the woman he had an affair with two decades earlier - and she might be his own daughter. The film included full frontal female nudity, and scenes of various interludes of love-making and playfulness, including a notable bedroom and breakfast scene, in which she encouraged him to spank and then bite into her rear end, and another unusual scene in which she offered him a cup of her pee.

Kinski's role was the precursor to her role in director/lover Roman Polanski's Tess (1979).





Francesca (Nastassja Kinski)

The Stud (1978, UK)

This late 1970's camp sexploitation film from director Quentin Masters was a sordid tale of sexual lust and illicit love that concluded with the decline of the film's male "stud." The pretentious tale, enhanced on film by a disco-era soundtrack and the tagline "Satisfaction guaranteed...", was adapted from the 1969 book by Jackie Collins, the younger sister of the film's main star.

After the film's success (skyrocketing Collins to a part as a scheming ex-wife, beginning in the second season in TV's long-running show Dynasty from 1981 to 1989), a companion film sequel (actually a prequel) was released titled The Bitch (1979, UK), also based on another of her sisters' novels (from 1979), and it turned out to be a larger financial success. Its chronological time frame was earlier, although Collins played the same character in both films - basically a high-living, pleasure-seeking female.

Joan Collins in The Bitch (1979, UK)

Its main character, however, wasn't the stud but a nymphomaniacal and decadent Mrs. Fontaine Khaled (mid-40s Joan Collins), the wife of wealthy Middle-Eastern businessman Ben Khaled (Walter Gotell). She was employed as her husband's members-only London disco night-club hostess (at the Hobo), where she had made the club's virile and studly manager Tony Blake (Oliver Tobias) her personal plaything - she threatened his job if he didn't comply with her sexual needs. At times, she would humiliate Tony with lines such as: "Do you know when I first met him, Tony thought the 69 was a bottle of Scotch?"

A series of silly sex scenes (including elevator love-making) culminated in a notorious group orgy scene at a Parisian swimming pool. [Note: The scene was filmed in The Sanctuary in London's Covent Garden.] It involved her swinging on an ivy-coated swing and having sex at the same time with Tony. During the orgy, one of Fontaine's gay male friends delivered the memorable line as a put-down to women:

"As much as I appreciate the extra orifice, they bore me."

Alex Khaled (Emma Jacobs)

Tony also began an affair with Fontaine's manipulative and nubile step-daughter Alex Khaled (Emma Jacobs). Alex used Tony to seek revenge at Fontaine for cheating on her father. The husband learned of Fontaine's indiscretions, cut off his wife's support, and had his thugs beat up "the stud."






Fontaine Khaled (Joan Collins)

An Unmarried Woman (1978)

Director/writer Paul Mazursky's serious and groundbreaking (but dated) feminist film, a romantic drama, portrayed the character of a Upper East Side Manhattan wife who suddenly became insecure and "unmarried" when her long-standing marital relationship abruptly ended. The lengthy tagline foretold the plot:

She laughs, she cries, she feels angry, she feels lonely, she feels guilty, she makes breakfast, she makes love, she makes do, she is strong, she is weak, she is brave, she is scared, she is... an unmarried woman.

It told the story of NYC mid-30s wife/mother and part-time Soho art-gallery worker Erica Benton (Oscar-nominated Jill Clayburgh) who was suddenly dumped by her stockbroker husband Martin (Michael Murphy) of sixteen years for a much younger woman, a schoolteacher.

Erica was with Martin in the opening scene in their bedroom after making love ("a little quickie"), and then after he left, she performed a giddy dance in only her T-shirt and panties. Then that evening, she was casually nude as she changed her clothes and they chatted together. She was therefore entirely unprepared the next day after lunch together when he stopped on the street and began sobbing. She first asked: "Marty, Marty, come on, what is it, honey? What's the matter? What is this? What, tell me?" - he delivered a tearful admission about his year-long affair with another woman whom he met at Bloomingdale's: "I'm in love with somebody else. I'm seeing another woman, for over a year. At first, you know, I thought it was just a-a fling. But it isn't. I love her. I want to live with her. Oh God, I don't want to hurt you. I don't want to hurt Patti. But I-I can't...She's not a whore or anything. Her name's Marcia Brenner. She's, she's a teacher. She's twenty-six. I met her at Bloomingdale's, for Christ's sake. I was standin' there buying a shirt, you know, and she-she was standing next to me. She asked me if I liked this shirt that, uh, that she was buying for her father. Oh, God! I'm so sorry."

Erica's first stunned words were to have him confess to their precocious 15 year-old daughter Patti (Lisa Lucas) attending private school: "You tell Patti, you tell Patti that you're sorry." Martin repeated: "I'm in love with her." Erica asked a stony question: "She a good lay?" and then fled down the street and soon vomited into a garbage can.

Erica's Stunned Reaction - Throwing Up

Erica began to 'erase' Martin's memory (over 16 years of marriage) by removing his belongings and piling them into the living room, and also removing her gold-band wedding ring from her finger.

After the breakup, she continued to meet regularly with her gossipy girlfriends at an upscale bar, including bitter, man-hating divorcee Elaine (Kelly Bishop), Sue (Patricia Quinn) who was barely tolerating her asexual marriage, and another middle-aged divorcee Jeanette (Linda Miller) engaged in an affair with a "very mature" 19-year-old still living at home with his parents, and admitted that she had an eye massage with him: "There ain't nothin' wrong with a good, old-fashioned eyeball orgasm."

While seeking a divorce, she had a number of uncomfortable experiences including a "definite f--kin' pass" made at her by family physician Dr. Jacobs (Daniel Seltzer), who claimed he only invited her out for a drink. She sarcastically told others how it happened: "My husband left me for a younger woman. Ha, ha, ha....He was buying a shirt in Bloomingdale's and he fell in love." She felt depression, confusion, fear and loneliness, and was overwhelmed by having to see other men or to pursue dating, although she was open to it: "I'd risk it with some new men." A blind date with an infatuated and clueless Bob (Andrew Duncan) at a luncheon went poorly.

In ongoing therapy with lesbian psychiatrist Tanya Berkel (Penelope Russianoff), she was advised to continue on with her life, and that it was OK to feel angry, jealous, and depressed, but not guilty ("I would like to see you... take a vacation from guilt").

In a difficult and argumentative meeting with Martin, he noticed her bitterness and asked: "How can you hate somebody that you were in love with for 16 years?" Feeling demeaned by the break-up, she snapped back that they had made love almost 2,000 times during their marriage: "Did you fall out of love with my, my flesh, my body, or me - with Erica? Did you fall out of love with Erica?...I was your hooker, Martin. I was a bright, high-priced, classy hooker. Upper East Side by way of Vassar hooker, but I was your hooker."

She agreed to a one-night stand ("Take me to your loft, Charlie") with smooth, gold necklace-wearing co-worker and womanizing swinger Charlie (Cliff Gorman). At first, she nervously blurted out: "Charlie, let's just do it, okay? Now, before I change my mind." He set the terms for their relationship: "Let's just get something straight right off the top, babe, huh? I don't get involved with my women. I'm a short-term guy. I don't fall in love. I don't wanna get married.... The only thing you can count on me for is sex. I am what I am. I make no bones about it." And then she confided in him: "Charlie, I've only slept with one man in 17 years." He told her (as he felt her breasts) that she had a "beautiful body."

Erica's One-Night Stand With Charlie (Cliff Gorman)

Later, she found a more reciprocal loving relationship with handsome and respectful, divorced strong-willed English abstract artist Saul Kaplan (Alan Bates) and slept with him almost immediately, but noted that although the sex was "very good", it was "sort of empty": ("I just slept with a man that I barely know. I mean, casual sex is not my...I'm experimenting. I'm, well, I know it sounds a little cold, but that's the way it is these days. I just want to see how it feels to make love to someone that I'm not in love with") - she also added how she really felt: "As soon as the sex was over, I wanted to leave."

Toward the conclusion of the film, Martin confessed to Erica that he had broken up with his mistress: "I broke up with Marcia...Well, the truth of it is she left me. I don't know. I mean, the minute I moved in there, we stopped having fun" - he asked to come back, but Erica refused: "It doesn't work that way, you know?"

In the end (although she was "going steady" with Saul), she decided to part ways with him during the coming summer, when he proposed that she join him in Vermont. She finally realized that they were two very independent individuals, and she had to be in control of her life as an unmarried, self-fulfilling and independent woman.


Erica Benton (Jill Clayburgh) With Husband Early in Morning After Sex

Ballet Dancing After Martin Left


Erica Later in Evening Casually in Bedroom With Husband

Erica to Unhappy Husband Martin: "What is this? What, tell me?"


Erica Dumped by Husband

Conferring with Gossipy Girlfriends After Breakup
(l to r): Elaine, Erica, Sue, Jeanette

Consoling Her 15 Year Old Daughter Patti


Erica's Removal of Martin's Belongings



Sex and a Relationship with Artist Saul (Alan Bates)


Martin's Confession That His Affair Had Ended


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 | 1965-66 | 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 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020

Index to All Decades, Years and Features


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