SEXUALITY IN THE MOVIES by Thomas R.--Ed. Atkins


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Freud would have loved it; from as far back as 1893 when an enterprising businessman with a camera filmed the gyrations of a belly dancer named Fatima, the history of movies has been a pitched battle between the censors and the nitty-gritty. Even among the contributors to this collection of essays on cinematic sexuality, there seems to be an ideological split: is the frank treatment of once suppressed themes in such landmark films as I Am Curious--Yellow, Carnal Knowledge, Deep Throat and Last Tango an indication of how very far the screen has come since the days when the Legion of Decency uplifted the nation's morality--or are even these flicks ""not totally honest""? Evelyn Rengold, who served as a student intern on the Rating Board under the aegis of one Dr. Stern in 1971, offers some revelations on the arbitrary (not to mention political) assignment of the G, Gp, R and X ratings that indicate Hollywood has yet to emerge from the Dark Ages. Artsy eroticism is distinguished from titillation in the popular feature; and Wayne Losano deplores the passing of the halcyon days when flesh flicks reeked of evil and ""masculinity"" while Ellen Willis has more broadly cultural reasons for knocking the new suck-and-fuck genre. Homosexuality, overt and unconscious, is worked over in conjunction with adolescent fantasy, from The Wild Ones to Easy Rider--and even Dracula, Frankenstein and the werewolves get their turn on the critical couch. Flickering apercus on the furtive satisfactions and inherent sensuality of the medium which provides our cultural dreamlife.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1975
Publisher: Indiana Univ. Press