Welcome to the second Leamington Underground Cinema Briefing. This time we are turning our focus to the potentially awkward subject of sex in the cinema – meaning sex as the subject of cinema, not having sex in the cinema – that would be antisocial, unhygienic (especially at the Leamington Vue) and quite probably illegal. Needless to say, some of the subject matter and links in this email are probably NSFW, but if you subscribed to this mailing list with your work address and are reading this when you should be working, then you probably don’t care.
The next briefing in two weeks time will be on the subject of: Games.
i. The Hays Code
From the 1930s to 1966, American Movies had to comply with the laugh-a-minute Hays Code, which governed exactly what could or couldn’t be depicted on screen in order to protect the moral values of the great unwashed. Here is the section dealing with matters of a sexual nature…
The sanctity of the institution of marriage and the home shall be upheld. Pictures shall not infer that low forms of sex relationship are the accepted or common thing.
1. Adultery, sometimes necessary plot material, must not be explicitly treated, or justified, or presented attractively.
2. Scenes of Passion
a. They should not be introduced when not essential to the plot.
b. Excessive and lustful kissing, lustful embraces, suggestive postures and gestures, are not to be shown.
c. In general passion should so be treated that these scenes do not stimulate the lower and baser element.
3. Seduction or Rape
a. They should never be more than suggested, and only when essential for the plot, and even then never shown by explicit method.
b. They are never the proper subject for comedy.
4. Sex perversion or any inference to it is forbidden.
5. White slavery shall not be treated.
6. Miscegenation (sex relationships between the white and black races) is forbidden.
7. Sex hygiene and venereal diseases are not subjects for motion pictures.
8. Scenes of actual child birth, in fact or in silhouette, are never to be presented.
9. Children’s sex organs are never to be exposed.
ii. Franco: The Unforseen Consequence Of The Cruising Controversy
William Friedkin’s Cruising caused all sorts of bother in 1980. The tale of undercover cop Al Pacino becoming enmeshed in the S&M gay scene while hunting a serial killer was, to put it mildly, considered insensitive to the gay community:
“The mounting negative publicity prior to Cruising’s release forced Friedkin to add a text scroll to the beginning of the film, essentially informing the audience that not all gay men wear heavy leather and chains and have anonymous sex in Central Park.”
(from an article evaluating the film at: http://www.fringeunderground.com/cruising.html)
Apparently around 40 minutes of (partially non-simulated) gay sex action was cut from the film to get it past the censors at an ‘R’ rating. The legend of this lost footage eventually led to James Franco’s dramatic reconstruction/artistic meditation Interior Leather Bar, which to put it mildly was considered rubbish by the film viewing community:
“Thus do we arrive at an even more annoying question: what does it mean that James Franco is playing with the fact that we know that he knows that we want to know whether or not he sucks dick?”
(from filmcomment.com: http://www.filmcomment.com/article/review-interior-leather-bar-james-franco-travis-mathews/)
iii. A Handy Sex In The Movies Infographic
Quickly and easily trace the history of crotch based action on the silver screen with this neat and succinct graphical summary on Fandor.
iv. Cleanflix – The Weird Tale Of Mormon Edited Movies
LUC recommends that you check out the excellent documentary Cleanflix, the story of how an industry sprang up around the idea of editing mainstream movies to make them suitable viewing for Mormon families.
Often editing out anything vaguely sexy, but leaving in more violent scenes, this wildly successful enterprise was effectively shutdown by Hollywood lawsuits after a while.
In a genuinely ironic footnote, one of the figures behind the movement was then convicted of child sex offences and turned out to be using his business as a front for some kind of nascent porn empire.
v. Lesbians React To Sex Scenes in Blue Is The Warmest Colour
(Video by Yeni Sleidi)
vi. Gilbert Gottfried reading 50 shades of Grey
As it seems the films based on the insanely successful ‘mummy-porn’ Fifty Shades novels are having all the erotic content heavily toned down (the next one is rumoured to have a ’15’ certificate in the UK) – here is a fully unedited blast of the sensual tones of comedian Gilbert Gottfried wrapping his tongue around some of the racier bits from the book…
(Video by Collegehumor)
vii. “The Thrill Of The Shunt”
There are many films that have (purposefully, or accidentally) depicted sexuality in a manner that could never be described as erotic or arousing, even to a particularly hormonal teenage boy. Films like Salo, Last Tango In Paris, Antichrist and Howard The Duck are all good examples of how cinema can use sex to disturb and repel.
However, for our money, the ultimate in movie turn offs is the bizarre orgiastic ritual at the end of Brian Yuzna’s gore strewn, the-rich-are-literally-eating-the-poor, satire Society. You can read all about it here. Consider yourself warned
(Article from http://colinjmccracken.com/)
viii. A CGI Shag With Shia Lebeouf
“We shot the actors pretending to have sex and then had the body doubles, who really did have sex, and in post we will digital-impose the two,” Vesth explained. “So above the waist it will be the star and the below the waist it will be the doubles.”