Wednesday, May 11, 2011
BLACK AND WHITE AND BLUE - ADULT CINEMA FROM THE VICTORIAN AGE TO THE VCR by Dave Thompson
Paperback: 350 pages
Publisher: Ecw Press (September 1, 2007)
includes introductory essay by Chrissie Bentley
"If you have any kind of rock'n'roll reference library, chances are you own at least one book by Dave Thompson" —Paper magazine
"Thompson tells the story behind milestones in the genre's history . . . cultural historians will delight in Thompson's tale." —Playboy.com
"Definitely enlightening, and entertaining." —The A.V. Club
"The book is effective and moving." —Alarm
"A comprehensive historical view of adult cinema." —The Hornet
"In a series of chronological chapters, [Thompson] takes a scholarly look at an industry for which there is little mainstream archive or history." —Rambles.net
In the 1920s they were called stags, smokes, or blue movies; today it's adult films. But until now, apart from brief summaries in film histories and scholarly articles, there has been no complete history of the pornographic film industry. That gap is filled by this lively and insightful book that provides commentary on individual movies and traces the evolution of film styles and storylines through nearly a century of X-rated material. All the research for the book is based on viewings of the movies—many of the oldest are now archived on DVDs—and on interviews with living actors and producers. Tracing an arc from the masks and dim lighting of the earliest days to the realism and absence of trick photography in the 1920s and 1930s, the account then ponders the obsession with close-ups of body parts in later decades. The overview ends in the late 1970s, when the advent of home videos changed adult entertainment completely.
About the Author
Dave Thompson is the author of more than 100 books, including Cream: The World's First Supergroup, Go Phish, Moonage Daydream, Never Fade Away, and Smoke on the Water. In 1998, he was ranked one of rock's five foremost authors in Mojo magazine. He lives in London and Delaware.
Thirty-five years after its taboo-busting release, 1972′s Deep Throat is still the most iconic symbol of the adult film world. The movie raked in an unprecedented $25 million in theaters (unrivaled to this day for a pornographic film). It introduced fellatio into popular culture (paving the way for Bill and Monica). Perhaps most trenchant, it ushered in the modern age of porn cinema. Make no mistake, the present day, silicone-jiggly, multi-billion dollar porn industry owes much to director Gerald Damino’s erotic breakthrough. In many ways, Deep Throat was the beginning of porn as we know it.
Interesting, then, that author Dave Thompson opts to end his latest book, Black and White and Blue: Adult Cinema from the Victorian Age to the VCR, with the release of Deep Throat. Thompson tells the tale of what led up to the modern age of erotic cinema, surveying the fascinating, dark, backroom cultural history of stag films before the arrival of Linda Lovelace and Harry Reems. Black and White and Blue traces the earliest pornographic movies — grainy, silent, hardcore, contraband productions dating all the way back to the early 1900s. Thompson estimates that 1,500 to 1,700 American stag films (hardcore porn made before the late 1960s) still exist. It is likely, he posits, that a vast number of films either vanished due to the decay of time or were destroyed by the morality police. “It is only in recent years that society has become concerned with preserving every possible facet of its entertainment past,” writes Thompson. “No matter how worthless or sordid it may once have seemed.”
Thompson goes a long way in contributing to the cultural study of dirty movies. With a pedigree in rock music books (U2, David Bowie, Deep Purple), his latest, while ostensibly a scholarly dissertation on the history of stag films, is written with a certain punk aplomb. Black and White and Blue shines when Thompson tracks down and interviews the little old ladies who starred in the pictures of porn past and when he tells the story behind milestones in the genre’s history, such as the dubious achievement of the first golden shower captured on celluloid. While Black and White and Blue is not quite mainstream pop culture fare, neither is the subject it covers. Still, cultural historians will delight in Thompson’s tale, and hardcore porn purists will finally learn what set the stage for Deep Throat.
Posted by Jenny Swallows at 5:19 AM