British sex film  

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

This page British sex films features information the British sex film industry and the way sex films in Great Britain were received. Its history is told in Doing Rude Things (1992) and Keeping the British End Up (2005).


Committee on Obscenity and Film Censorship

The Committee on Obscenity and Film Censorship, better known as the Williams Committee, was a 1970s British Home Office committee chaired by Professor Bernard Williams. Theremit of the committee was to "review the laws concerning obscenity, indecency and violence in publications, displays and entertainments in England and Wales, except in the field of broadcasting, and to review the arrangements for film censorship in England and Wales".

British sex comedy

British sex comedy

The precursor to British sex comedies was Norman Wisdom's last starring role to date, What's Good for the Goose, made in 1969 by Tony Tenser. He specialised in producing exploitation films and founded his own production company Tigon British Film Productions in 1966. In the movie, he leaves his wife and kids to go off on a business trip and has an affair with a young girl played by Sally Geeson

Percy stars Elke Sommer and Britt Ekland. The film was followed by a sequel, Percy's Progress. The film is about a successful penis transplant. An innocent and shy young man (Bennett), whose penis is mutilated in an accident and has to be amputated, wakes up after an operation to find out that it has been replaced by that of a womanizer, which is very large. The rest of the movie is about its new owner following in his predecessor's footsteps and meeting all the women who are able to recognize it.

To move with the times, the Carry On series added nudity to its saucy seaside postcard innuendo. Series producer Peter Rogers saw the George Segal movie Loving and added his two favourite words to the title, making Carry On Loving the twentieth in the series. Starring "countess of cleavage" Imogen Hassall, the story of a dating agency service is still very innocent stuff. It was followed by Carry On Girls, based around a Miss World-style beauty contest. Next in the series was Carry On Dick, with more risque humour and Sid James and Barbara Windsor's on and off screen lovemaking.

British sex comedy films became mainstream with the release in 1976 Carry On England.

Carry On series

Carry On

The Carry On films were a long-running series of British low-budget comedy films, directed by Gerald Thomas and produced by Peter Rogers. An energetic mix of parody, farce, slapstick and double entendres, they are seen as classic examples of the low end of British humour in the British comic tradition of the music hall and seaside postcards, best documented in Keeping the British End Up: Four Decades of Saucy Cinema by Simon Sheridan.

British exploitation

British exploitation

British low culture or British exploitation is exploitation culture from Great Britain. Its history starts with the penny dreadfuls of the 19th century, but even before that there were the sensational gothic novels.

British erotica

British erotica

Along with Paris, London in the second half of the 19th century was one of the first modern, urbanized societies with a literate population. Literacy is one of the prerequisites for the spreading of printed erotica and pornography. Henry Spencer Ashbee's bibliography has proven to be invaluable in documenting this period of erotic fiction.

The quintessential English erotic novel is Fanny Hill, but even Richardson's Pamela and Clarissa provided voyeuristic satisfaction to a new English audience. The development and rise of the novel as new genre, parallels the development of the erotic novel.

Even in the 17th century, when France had the reputation for erotica, and some English erotica consisted of French translations (the famous "whore dialogues") there were local authors of bawdy erotica like John Wilmot.

A special mention must go to the authors of Grub Street.

English erotica has some characteristics of its own, the most notable is that they are believed to be fond of spanking and flagellation. The French even called it Le vice anglais. Theresa Berkeley ran a brothel specializing in these services.

Cinema X

Cinema X

Cinema X was a british film magazine best known for its coverage of sexploitation films. Early issues of the magazine were undated, but it is believed the first issue was published in 1969. The first film to grace the cover of Cinema X was Loving Feeling directed by Norman J. Warren. Other films covered in the first issue were I Am Curious (Yellow), Curse of the Crimson Altar and Therese and Isabelle, people interviewed in the premiere issue included Norman J Warren, John Trevelyan and Anthony Newley.

Seen today early issues of the magazine appear somewhat faceless, often consisting of an editorial, merely followed by pictorials of films with a short plot synopsis. However around 1971/1972 the magazine began to develop more of a personality, with regular features which included “Flash” a column by the film critic Peter Noble (1917-1997) on upcoming films, and “Cine Go Round” articles on mainstream film stars. While the “Cineclub 24 Scene” and “Cinecenta Scene” sections covered the films that played at Membership Only Adult Cinemas. During this period the magazine was published by Top Sellers Ltd, a company that also produced saucy books and posters, which were also advertised in the magazine. The magazine also began excepting outside advertising, Subdean, the first company of David Sullivan, advertised in the magazine in 1972.

Cinema X was initially supportive of home grown British sex films, particularly those of Bachoo Sen, giving Sen’s production Loving Feeling their first issue’s cover and by the time of Sen’s follow up Love is a Splendid Illusion were comparing his productions to those of Radley Metzger and Russ Meyer.

A British sex film edition followed (Vol.5, No.1), with Cinema X interviewing the likes of Pete Walker, Derek Ford and Stanley Long. By the mid-seventies though Cinema X’s love affair with the British sex film had begun to falter. UK censorship meant British films had to remain soft core while America and most of Europe headed into the hardcore, porno chic era.

Cinema X’s interest in the American porno scene, led to a 1975 spin-off magazine Cinema Blue, which covered the porno chic era and interviewed many of its leading lights. The magazine was short lived however, as was an American version of Cinema X entitled Cinema X International.

The magazine appears to have ceased publication in the late 1970s/early 80s.

See also

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

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