Friday, September 14, 2012

Girls on Film

Silvia Kristel in Emmanuelle

This blog originates from the suggestions of two of our particular friends: S in Vancouver and B from Germany.  In looking at erotic films it joins a very crowded part of the blogosphere but it is not, like some of its alternates, looking at any particular genre or type of erotic film.   It is just an extension of what we have done recently in Venus Observations, where we started a series, which will continue, examining some films we went to see with a girlfriend in the eighties.

Oral fun in Betty Blue 

Rather than looking at dramas with erotic scenes we have decided, on the whole, to look at films whose prime motivation was erotic effect; although we have to say that with some French films, in particular, the overlap is such between serious drama and eroticism that the distinction is difficult to make.  So we will just look at any erotic film that takes our fancy and some of the actresses in them.  In this way the blog will combine some of the themes of its companion blogs, Venus Observations (which looks at solo women) and The Seduction of Venus, which looks at their interaction with others.

Ingrid Pitt fails to resist the magnificent bust of Madeleine Smith in Hammer's The Vampire Lovers

Looking back in time to our early teens, mostly our burgeoning appreciation of the erotic in film had been confined to James Bond films and, in particular, Maurice Binder's enticing opening title sequences.  We didn't see any sexy scenes on film until we caught late night showings of some of the Hammer Horrors of the Seventies on TV.  Certainly The Vampire Lovers (1970) with its scenes of heretofor (at least for a teenage Triple P) undreamt of Sapphic seduction made a strong impression.

Ava Cadell in The Golden Lady (1979)

Whilst our memories of the first sexy film we saw on TV are somewhat blurred our memory of our first such film in a cinema is much clearer.  We went, alone, to a midweek matinee showing of a double bill of Flesh Gordon (1974) and The Golden Lady (1979) one rainy day in Oxford.  The film we wanted to see was Flesh Gordon, as we were interested in SF movies and had read about this in a book on science fiction films we had.  In those pre-video days we thought we would never be able to see it so grabbed this rare opportunity. It was The Golden Lady, a just-released, low-budget British erotic thriller, that made the greater impression, however.  One scene stuck in the mind, where a young, full-frontal Ava Cadell insouciantly walks towards the camera, a knowing smile on her face.  That tiny scene carried more erotic charge than the rest of the film put together and showed that it was not just explicitness per se that was important in creating an erotic moment but how it was done.  We will see more of Dr Cadell when we look at some of the films of Andy Sidaris in the future.

An unusual book rest in La Letrice

It was only when we first started going out with S in the late eighties that we started to seek out erotic films in the cinema.  Or, rather, S did, as she chose many of the continental films we went to see at the National Film Theatre of London's South Bank.  The NFT always had a good selection of racy European films on its monthly schedules and it was really the only place that you could catch movies like La Letrice (1988).

Rob Lowe and Meg Tilley in Masquerade

It wasn't all art-house fare though and, perhaps, in those days Hollywood was a bit bolder as regards sex scenes in films than they are now.  Watching many of these films with S had a definite influence on her behaviour afterwards as she, at first perhaps, unconsciously and then more overtly, reenacted the scenes we had experienced together when we got back to her flat afterwards.  There was a scene in Masquerade (1988) where Meg Tilley's character has her legs wrapped around Rob Lowe's in an energetic sex scene which caused S to comment, on our way back to the station, "that he must have been really deep inside her".  Back at her place later that night she abandoned her usual girl-on-top attitude for a knees up to her shoulders missionary position; and very deep it was too.

Laura Gemser and Karin Schubert in Black Emanuelle (1975)

We didn't see any hardcore action (it was effectively banned in the UK then) until we started travelling to Rome a lot in the late eighties and early nineties.  Our local Italian girlfriend picked up something for us to watch in her apartment one evening.  We were surprised you could get hardcore so easily in Italy (certainly compared with the UK) but then Italian TV was much racier as well, with game shows including full frontal stripteases not uncommon.  We can't be certain but we think the film in question was Emanuelle Nera (1975) starring the incomparable Laura Gemser which had a few hardcore inserts (rather badly) added to what had been originally been shot, as was not uncommon in this period where different versions were produced for different countries.  This was the first time we had watched an erotic film with a girl in a domestic environment rather than a cinema.  Apart from the slight surprise in discovering that some women wanted to watch explicit films, the films became a sort of foreplay in an even more immediate way than seeing them in a cinema.

Ai No Corrida (1976)

In 1991 the British Film Institute released the controversial Japanese film known as in the Realm of the Senses under an 18 certificate for showing in UK cinemas.  We went to see it twice whilst it was showing at the Prince Charles cinema off Leicester Square which always had a reputation for showing racy movies.  The first time we went with our male friend HMS and the second time with S, the original racy film girlfriend.  We had moved on to different partners by then and she had moved to a different part of London so we didn't see each other so often.

Our trip to the cinema was her suggestion as a get-together.  She chose the film on the basis that she liked Japanese art and had, in the past, given us a book on ukiyo-E art called Images of the Floating World by Richard Lane, which we still own.  This book contained a couple of erotic shunga images and we assumed that she was aware of the nature of the film.

The girl gets the bird in Ai No Corrida

Having just seen it before we knew when the most explicit scenes were coming but we could sense her surprise and excitement as the film continued.  What got her particularly in a tizz was a scene where a group of geishas penetrate one of their number with a wooden dildo carved in the shape of a bird.  S said later that when they started to wave this object about at the beginning of the scene she had no idea what it was until it was graphically shoved into place.  This directly led to her buying a dildo and getting Triple P to use it on her.  Who said that watching films doesn't effect behaviour?

Jane (Rosa Caracciolo) thanks Tarzan (Rocco Siffredi) for saving her from the pygmies

Even more hardcore exposure followed when we started to visit Canada regularly from 1994.  This was where we met S from Vancouver, who very quickly seduced us (the day after we met) in our hotel room in the Intercontinental in Montreal (still one of our favourite hotels even though it has been renovated to look quite different from its appearance in the nineties).  We discovered, much to our amazement, that hardcore film channels were available on the hotel's TV system and S and Triple P spent many happy hours actually trying to find something that had some artistic merit in addition to explicit content.  We were both quite taken by a Rocco Siffredi film about Tarzan, which was nicely photographed on location in Africa.

Jill Kelly and Chasey Lain in Chasey Saves the World (1996)

Triple P's friend Agent DVD went to live in Switzerland for a couple of years in the nineties and during a visit to see him we visited his local laserdisc (remember those?) shop.  Triple P discovered a small adult section and, as an impulse buy bought Chasey saves the World which turned out to be a somewhat strange SF/zombie film which did have the odd good scene.  We prefer our erotic films to have some semblance of a plot!

Tricia Devereaux and Tony Tedeschi have fun in the office in Bad Wives

We started to travel internationally very extensively from 2000 on and found a good source of the more exotic films was the DVD shop at Copenhagen airport.  We tend not, on the whole, to like US produced hardcore movies but one of the better ones we got was Bad Wives (1996) which opened with an excellent sequence of a man and his secretary on the boardroom table which had a lot of resonance for Triple P at that point in time! 

So much for the introduction, next we must start with our first film...but which one?