Friday, 19 November 2010


ISBN-10: 0-275-50770-X
Writers: Kenneth Turan & Stephen F. Zito
Τitle: Sinema
Subtitle: American Pornographic Films and The People Who Make Them
Language: English
Place of Publication: New York • Washington
Publisher: Praeger Pubishers, Inc.

Year of Publication: 1974
Format: 158x234mm

Pages: xi+244
Illustrations: 51 black and white pictures by Kenneth Turan et al.
Jacket Design: Roy Kuhlman

Binding: Boards in colour jacket
Weight: 714gr.

Entry No: 2009033
Date of Entry: 20th May 2009

Russ Meyer's first film, The Immoral Mr. Teas, started the wave of cinematic sexual permissiveness chronicled in this definitive study of the dirty-movie industry. Vixen, his biggest success, produced for $72,000 in 1968—“on the basis of what it cost, the most successful that's ever been made”--has grossed over $7.5 million.

Profits of that magnitude, approached by several hard-core films of the seventies, alone might account for the fascination and serious value of Turan and Zito's book. This is Big Business, and its moguls have their headaches. Distribution problems are real. So is the constant threat of censorship and litigation. But the book also contributes to an understanding of the changing mores of American society. Sex movies—some with moments of erotic beauty, others dreary all the way; many berated for their violence and kinkiness, others admired for their zany humor—are being shown in commercial theaters throughout the country to sell-out mixed and middle-class audiences. (“The thing that shocked me most about Deep Throat,” a major studio's vice-president says, “was that nobody in the audience was a dirty old man with a raincoat. They were all young couples.”)

Here is the vivid history of the industry, from stag films, loops, sex-education epics, Nudies and Nudie-Cuties to today's hard-core heterosexual, bisexual, and gay movies. It is spiced by candid, in-depth interviews with the people who are part of it: featured players Marilyn Chambers (the Ivory Snow girl), Mary Rexroth (poet's daughter), Harry Reems, Marsha Jordan, Cal Culver (“Casey Donovan”), John Holmes (“Long Johnny Wadd”), producers and directors Dave Friedman (self-styled “porno king” and supreme jokester of the genre), Radley Metzger, Gerald Damiano. Many are funny; all are frank, forthright, and vividly portrayed. Original camera portraits by Kenneth Turan of some of these interview subjects enhance the 32-page section of photographs.

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