Harrison Marks  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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George Harrison Marks (6 August 1926 - 27 June 1997) was a British glamour photographer at the height of his productivity from the mid 1950s to the mid 1970s.

Contents

Kamera and Pamela Green

He founded the Kamera group of magazines with his then 'supposed' wife, the model and actress Pamela Green. They were never married, which put her at a disadvantge when they split, financially and regarding copyright and possession of photos, even of herself. Marks was also the photographic consultant for the film Peeping Tom, which also featured Green in a cameo role.

Models

Besides Pamela Green, his most popular models were probably June Palmer, Paula Page and Vicky Kennedy, who under her birth name of Margaret Nolan, went on to be an actress, in Carry On, Bond and other films, in the theatre and on TV, notably in Steptoe and Son.

Films

In 1958, as an offshoot of his magazines, Marks began making short films for the 8mm market of his models undressing and posing topless, popularly known as “glamour home movies”. A recent episode of BBC’s Balderdash and Piffle programme attributed the earliest use of the word “glamour” as a euphemism for nude photography to Marks’ 1958 publicity materials. One of Marks’ most popular 8mm glamour films was The Window Dresser (1961), starring Pamela Green as a catburglar who hides from the law by posing as a lingerie shop dummy. Marks does a character turn as the shop’s exaggeratedly gay owner, but the short’s obvious raison d’etre remained Pam’s show stopping shop window striptease. After a judge threw out an obscenity charge against The Window Dresser (according to legend remarking “I’ll buy a copy for my son, case dismissed”), Marks continued to make more 8mm glamour films throughout the 1960s. Marks’ background as a music hall performer is evident in the “silly little stories” he would devise for his 8mm glamour films, as well as the occasional bit parts he would write for himself and his onetime comedy partner Stuart Samuels (a.k.a. Sam Stuart).

Marks feature films as a director were Naked as Nature Intended (1961), The Chimney Sweeps (his only non-sex film, 1963), The Naked World of Harrison Marks (1965), Pattern of Evil (1967), The Nine Ages of Nakedness (1969) and Come Play With Me (1977). Pattern of Evil a.k.a. Fornicon, a heavy S&M film with scenes of murder and Monique Devereaux whipping Marks regular Howard “Vanderhorn” Nelson in a torture chamber[1], was never shown in the UK. Marks implied in several interviews over the years that the film was financed by the criminal element.

After directing The Nine Ages of Nakedness, Marks endured a partially turbulent time in the early seventies when he was made bankrupt (in 1970), was the subject of an obscenity trial at the Old Bailey (in 1971) and his drinking began to become more heavy. Marks made ends meet during this period by continuing to shoot short films for the 8mm market and releasing them via his Maximus Films company[2][3] [4]

Based out of Marks’ Farringdon studio, Maximus was run on a ‘film club’ basis, meaning that punters would have to sign up for membership before purchasing the films, mirroring the way membership only sex cinemas were run at the time. While his earlier 8mm films largely consisted of nothing more explicit than the models posing topless, late sixties titles like Apartment 69 and The Amorous Masseuse were generally soft core sex affairs, that also provided some notable discoveries. Sue Bond, later in sitcoms and The Benny Hill Show, began her career in Marks soft core sex shorts of this period. Pat Astley, some years before playing 'Young Mr Grace's Nurse' in Are You Being Served?, had appeared in the Marks short Doctor Sex. While the Collinson Twins (Mary Collinson and Madeleine Collinson) had also appeared in several Maximus shorts, including “Halfway Inn”, prior to starring in Hammer’s Twins of Evil.

Marks had also began making hardcore shorts for a man known only as “Charlie Brown”, and occasionally made hardcore versions of his Maximus short films which were released overseas on the Color Climax label. “Unaccustomed as I Am”, a black and white Maximus short, for instance, was also filmed in a colour hardcore version called Die Lollos (a.k.a The Customs). In later years Marks was reluctant to discuss these hardcore short films and claimed ‘not to remember’ their titles, some however have resurfaced including Dolly Mixture (1973) - a horror film spoof starring his 1970s discovery Clyda Rosen- , Autograph Hunter, Duty Free, Bistro Bordello starring Ava Cadell and Busty Baller (1979). The latter, in which big bust model Nicky Stanton seduces a passing Window Cleaner, was also filmed in a softcore version called Busty Ravers.

Other works

In the wake of the success of his early "glamour" films GHM also produced a series of slapstick comedies also sold via the photographic shops and magazines that were the outlet for his adult work. As well as directing these films he also appeared as one of the main actors. These were founded in the music hall and classic silent comedy traditions. Needless to say they were less successful than his girlie films and the competition from the real thing i.e. the Chaplin Keaton Lloyd classics that he paid homage to and which provided most of the package film releases of the day. In the late 1970’s Marks was hired as photographer for Janus magazine- which specialized in spanking material- even managing to get his bodybuilder friend Howard Nelson on the front cover of issue two (as a “spanking milkman”). Marks also began making short films for the magazine on 8mm. Late for School made in 1977 would appear to be one of the earliest, these shorts featured actresses recognizable from soft core films of the period like Come Play With Me’s Lisa Taylor and Sonia Svenberger. In 1982 Marks left the Janus stable to set up his own magazine Kane on the same subject. Corporal punishment would now become Marks’ big theme for the final act of his career. Making the transition from 8mm to videotape, Marks made around 80 videos of this nature with titles like The Spanking Academy of Dr. Blunt and Stinging Tales still being turned out in the early 1990s. As with the 8mm striptease films and Naked As Nature Intended, the spanking videos clearly existed solely for the purpose of titillation yet at the same time adopted an asexual stance, bringing Marks career curiously full circle.

The British Russ Meyer

Marks was in many ways the British equivalent of Russ Meyer. While Marks was never the filmmaker that Meyer was, both made their names as photographers, both had an obsession for large breasted women ("big tits sell" was a Marks maxim), and both would eventually become a byword for a certain form of erotica that has since passed into history.



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