Behind the Green Door  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
porno chic

Behind the Green Door (1972) was the first hardcore pornographic movie widely released in the United States. Directed by the Mitchell brothers and starring Marilyn Chambers as Gloria Saunders, the movie depicts her abduction to a sex theater, where she is forced to perform various sexual acts with multiple partners in front of masked audience members. The Mitchell brothers appear in the film as her kidnappers. In a psychedelic and colorful key sequence, an ejaculation on Chambers' face is shown with semen flying through the air for seven minutes.


The Hype

Prior to the movie's release, Marilyn Chambers had modeled for Procter & Gamble and Ivory Snow detergent, sold under the slogan "99 44/100% pure". After the release of the movie, Procter & Gamble recalled all products and advertising materials featuring her, unintentionally adding to the movie's hype. Along with Deep Throat, released later in the same year, the movie launched the "porno chic" boom and started what is now referred to as the "Golden Age of Porn". Made with a budget of $60,000, the movie ultimately grossed over $25 million (including its video release, which was controlled exclusively by the Mitchells).


In 1986, the Mitchells made a sequel to this film, Behind the Green Door: the Sequel, directed by singer Sharon McNight and starring a newcomer named Missy (who was Artie Mitchell's girlfriend at the time and reportedly demanded to be given the role). The film, in which all sex performers used condoms, birth control, and other protective paraphernalia, was a critical and commercial disaster and cost the Mitchells hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Mitchell Brothers O'Farrell Theatre, a strip club in San Francisco, contains a "Green Door room" which is named for the two movies and was the set of the sequel.

The film was the second to be inducted into the XRCO Hall of Fame, following Deep Throat.


The film was made from an anonymous short story of the same title, which was circulated by means of numerous carbon copies. The story's title makes reference to the 1956 hit song "The Green Door".

In popular culture

  • Footage from the film is seen in the movie Cannonball Run, when Jackie Chan's character watches it in his high-tech car, almost leading to an accident.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Behind the Green Door" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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