Cinema X  

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

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.

Originally “a Cinemonde publication” the magazine appears to have been envisioned by the company as the British arm of their publishing empire, which already included a similar publication in France (Cinemonde) and in Italy (King Cinemonde). Gerald Kingsland was the magazines first editor. Very much born of the permissive climate of the late sixties, the first issues’ editorial stated “so far the more adult magazines have reserved a few pages for the X cinema... blood and sex are only lightly touched on. Cinema X devotes all its time to the world’s X cinema”. Cinema X was superficially similar to the long running Continental Film Review, which in the late 1960s had begun filling its pages with stills of nude scenes from foreign films. However Cinema X was far less pretentious, and being mostly in colour, much more glossy.

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.

In 1975 the magazine produced its own X-rated cinema advertisement, featuring model Nita Blair and directed by Ray Selfe. At this point Tony Crawley was credited as managing editor, while contributing editors included William Rostler for articles on American films, and Luigi Cozzi for articles on Italian cinema. The mid-seventies version of the magazine reduced its page count to 31 from 82, and dropped many of its earlier features. Under Crawley’s editorship the magazine also adopted a more critical stance towards the films they reviewed, Crawley’s review of Deadly Weapons -starring Chesty Morgan- abruptly ends with Crawley proclaiming “I can write no more, I feel ill”.

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 discovered however that many British filmmakers were shooting hardcore versions of their films for overseas release, but would never publicly admit to doing so. Annoyed at this hypocrisy Cinema X eventually took them to task in a review of the film Secrets of a Superstud “at Cinema X magazine we know which directors have shot porno; we’ve talked to their stars. But its little use quoting them, when the directors, producers, above all their distributors, vociferously deny everything. We prefer honesty in our pages.”

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.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Cinema X" 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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