|Index||5 reviews in total|
Naughty begins like a live-action Bob Godfrey cartoon, as dirty mac
archetype Horace (played by one C. Lethbridge Baker) wanders around
Piccadilly Circus on his way to do the Soho shuffle. Sad DeWolfe
instrumental music plays as Horace peeks in on dirty bookshops, porn
cinemas and strip clubs. Horace starts getting the jitters, the
narrator notes that material Horace once had to look hard for is now
right there staring back at him from shop windows, "if it were all that
bad they wouldn't allow it" Horace reassures himself. Horace's Soho
shuffle comes to an abrupt end when a man of bouncer appearance ushers
him into a basement cinema, Horace secretly hopes he's finally going to
see something harder, but instead its just the same old soft sex dreck.
The basement cinema resembles an opium den. Horace sits there miserably
in the dark, imagining some far away sexual Utopia where "I bet girls
throw themselves at you".
Naughty along with companion piece On the Game, were two of Stanley Long's post Wife Swappers productions that mixed present day documentary with historical re-enactments. Subtitled a "a chronicle of prostitution" On the Game plays like Long's version of The Nine Ages of Nakedness but without the overbearing music hall elements. Not unentertaining it offers up the novelty of seeing glamour stars like the late June Palmer and the ubiquitous Nicola Austine cast as infamous trollops through the ages. Krays associated nude model Flanagan does a character piece playing a modern day pro telling a councillor about her con tricks, run ins with the law and dealing with a Night After Night type pickup who just wants to pray at the end of her bed. The jolly, striptease heavy tone is occasionally broken up by jolts of nastiness like the Witchfinder General fashioned torture segment and a slideshow showcasing venereal diseases.
Naughty, or rather 'Naughty- a report on pornography and erotica through the ages', to give the film its full title and M.O. holds more documentary worth, its part 360 degree snapshot of the early 70's off Piccadilly sex industry, part re-enactments of the goings on of their Victorian predecessors and part report on the world's first pornographic film festival held at Amsterdam a year earlier.
The 'do as I say don't do as I do' attitude and hypocrisy of the Victorian era is examined via Papa, a terrifying, Bible-bashing patriarch. A man leading a double life, Papa reads pornographic literature under a copy of The Times and gives ridiculous speeches about how self-abuse can lead to lunacy to his son before popping out to a whorehouse. Although its specifically addressing the Victorian era this segment contains many nuggets of truth regarding the British attitude to sex. Don't be fooled by the stiff upper lip stereotype the great British public will gobble up smut at any opportunity whether it be McGill seaside postcards, tabloid bust models or Come Play with Me, yet its as British to deny enjoying such things, or wear a beard of disapproval - its behavior true of anything from British sex film directors who claimed to hate filming sex scenes but turned out hardcore on the sly, to cranky dirty macs harassing snap happy tourists in Soho with "ere mate, you didn't just take a picture of me, did ja?" wanting no record of their Brewer Street antics. Naughty gets much comic mileage out of the Victorians but then throws it back in the audiences face by suggesting things may not have changed that much. Is the Victorian street hawker who stuffs porn up his sleeve when plod comes along a million miles from the sex shop owner the Naughty crew encounter who keeps some of the 'hard stuff' in a back room? Or hardworking 19th century nude photographer Henry Hayler to the similarly one man band operation of blue movie maker John Lindsay? Lindsay is seen filming his ten minute opus Sex After School. While Sylvia, the black star of Sex After School who later did TV work under a different name, gives off a naive vibe with statements along the lines of 'the body is a beautiful thing', her two co-stars are from a much tougher school of drifting, careerless people who've ended up in vice. The girl playing a pseudo-teenager seems on a depressive trip- she's interviewed still naked, nervously dragging on a cigarette and looks down allot, a vulnerable mess of a girl. In her interview she cites money as her sole motivation, she's been in this game three years and remembers having to get drunk to cope with getting through her first blue film, she describes herself as "not happy, but I'm not sad, just indifferent" you worry what became of her.
Just as Horace notes the difference in the openness in Soho compared to few years earlier, so there is a considerable jump in attitude from The Wife Swappers to Naughty. While The Wife Swappers bends over backwards to morally justify its existence, and as a result is now rich in unintentional comedy, Naughty is a much less hysterical piece of work, one that manages to name check or depict just about every kink worth mentioning in 1971 without resorting to finger pointing moralising. Granted it may not be as radical as the some of the outlaw characters on display like Lindsay but in Long's humorous way Naughty does at least quietly question why Britain shouldn't be allowed the same freedoms as Europe, whilst poking fun at moral guardians past and present. The film's pre-credit claims of being a neutral take on the subject at hand being only slightly called into question by its own press book which actively encouraged cinema owners to tip off their local version of Longford and Whitehouse about when and where the film is playing, "their predictable reactions through the local media can only boost its business potential even more".
When smut-peddlers make a film about smut-peddling, you don't look for a hidden agenda. It's all there in the immortal words of Al Goldstein, editor of Screw Magazine and guest of the world's first porno festival in Amsterdam, where he waxes lyrical about the `inalienable right to jerk off'. It's freedom, baby, according to British pornographer Stanley Long (keep it clean, people) as his team takes us on a part-doco, part-reenacted romp through the history of erotic literature, via Victorian hypocrisy to the new-found Euro-swinger's paradises. Like the greasy little man who makes spank films with his wife in the suburbs says, it's all about kicks, and I'm sure the little girl at the zoo watching a primate spank his monkey will agree. A time capsule of sexual mores, and part of a rash of British imitations on the racier Sex Report films from the Continent. See also: Groupie Girl, Permissive, On The Game, The Wife Swappers, Suburban Wives, Commuter Husbands.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a British sexploitation romp, a cross between a dramatised
documentary and a Mondo Sex film purporting to explore prostitution and
pornography past and present. Actually, there isn't much in the way of
exploration - rather the exploitation hacks who made the film deliver a
lazy and partisan swipe in favour of sexual "freedoms".
The dramatised sections of the film deal entirely in stereotypes: a middle-aged man, haunted by the voice of his nagging wife, trawls around Soho in a raincoat, peeking in the windows of sex shops and cinemas & voice-over bemoaning that his wife only gives it to him once a month (he only had to look at himself in the mirror to discover why); a one-dimensional Victorian family are shown reading embarrassedly from the Song of Solomon, after which Auntie gets scandalised by masturbating monkeys at the zoo and hypocritical father scolds his own son for self-abuse whilst molesting under-age prostitutes, purchasing pornography from a street vendor and keeping a mistress for sex on the side; some Socratic Greeks argue about whether the best love is to be got from women or boys. None of these characters is explored in depth - it's all merely wink-wink stereotyping - and none are put into any socio-economic context within their societies. I suppose as a salvo against the Mary Whitehouse brigade the portrait of Victorian hypocrisy might have had some firepower, but it doesn't add anything insightful to the debate about sexual freedom.
Slightly more interesting is the documentary footage. We visit the first Wet Dreams erotic film festival in Amsterdam, interviewing Al Goldstein and seeing a bunch of middle-class hippies joylessly consuming blue movies; intriguingly, putting her later appearances on Late Review into context, Germaine Greer is on the festival's judging panel. There's more joyless mooching around on the set of a hardcore porn film being directed in London by the British pornographer John Lindsay. Two birds and a bloke lay around being instructed by their unwholesome director Lindsay (a supremely ugly Scotsman); one of the girls is a black woman whose place in early 70s British society it might have been intriguing to explore, but the film simply allows her to mutter clichés about enjoying her work; the other girl is a 20-something Northern lass who tells us she's "not happy and not sad" - from the look of her, she's simply drained of her human spirit. The porn star man is a bit of a geezer, who inarticulately tells us that some women can and some women can't sexually excite him on the porn set.
The film is shot altogether unimaginatively and a bit slowly paced, a real mediocrity emanating from the screen at every moment. It does manage, in still images, to sneak some hardcore moments in (mostly photos from porn magazines) but we never really learn anything about he economics or the values of the pornographers past and present portrayed - it's all just a rather mean little attempt to sneak risqué material into cinemas posing as an exploration but really just a salacious exploitation piece without the virtues of energy, movie magic or daring often found in that genre.
Great fun and a great look at the late 60s, early 70s sex scene, particularly as it applied in London. We get inside what seems to really be a dirty bookshop, back room and all. What's great here too is that the proprietor (real or otherwise) is protesting that the stock here in the back is pretty much the same as the stuff in the front, when we can clearly see from the magazine fronts behind him, there are clearly erections showing. Still, hypocrisy is almost the name of the game here, and although the film is never as moralising as The Wife Swappers, not everything is waived through. I liked the Victorian reconstructions with the bible thumper reading dirty bits (from the Bible!) and the blue movie film making set up (probably not genuine but certainly had convincing moments). The film maker outlines to the two main protagonists what he wants and then indicates to a younger girl that at some point she gets excited by the activity and joins in. Afterwards, he indicates that she did fine but he had expected a little more action from her. Her rather sweet response is that 'they were moving too fast'.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
NAUGHTY! is a cheesy and occasionally delightful pseudo-documentary
about sex in Britain through the ages. There's a lot of historical
vignettes done on a low budget and a lot of humour here, and the best
thing I can say about it is that it's considerably better than George
Harrison Marks's similar effort, THE NINE AGES OF NAKEDNESS. Director
Stanley A. Long has an 'anything goes' approach to this movie, throwing
in everything but the kitchen sink, and the resultant concoction is
Sex in all its facets is explored through scenes which range from the tame to the surprisingly bad taste and explicit. Thus we look at the history of prostitution, those repressed Victorians, and of course the then-modern era. We see bashful gentlemen exploring the Soho district and a geeky Scottish guy shooting a porn film. There's even time for a nasty WITCHFINDER GENERAL inspired segment and a look at venereal disease. Occasionally the film becomes something of a dated time capsule, for example in the narrator's attitude towards homosexuality. There's a heck of a lot of nudity packed into the running time as virtually every actress in the film strips off for some softcore fumbling at some point, and a surprising amount of funny bits as well. Hardly profound entertainment, but entertaining for fans of this kind of fare.
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