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I say outstanding film, not outstanding porn film, to describe this film that is not only good for its genre, but great as a film, period. Marilyn Chambers plays Gloria, a young woman who refrains from speaking for the entire duration of the film, but is a complex character through Chambers' brilliant use of facial expressions and body language to express character. The plot deals with Gloria being "kidnapped" from the hotel she's staying at and taken to a seedy sex club, where she is "relished" and is then forced to perform sex acts, where she is "loved as never before". This is by far the most artistic porn film I've ever seen, with an almost ten-minute slow motion "cum" shot that uses different angles and backgrounds to make a quite "trippy" viewing experience. Pro football player Ben Davidson has an amusing non-sex cameo as an intimidating bouncer. Best musical score, cinematography, writing, and acting ever seen in a porn film.
1972 was, of course, the year that porno briefly became "chic",
entirely due to a triumvirate of films that have lost little of their
iconic stature three and a half decades further down the line. Queens
hairdresser turned quim artist Gerard Damiano unleashed the double
whammy of DEEP THROAT and DEVIL IN MISS JONES while the ultimately
tragic Mitchell Brothers pooled their considerable talents and
resources for the very different BEHIND THE GREEN DOOR. Different in
its approach to erotica, making a serious bid for highbrow
respectability rather than just content to stimulate its audience's
groin area, it was clearly intended to appeal to women as well as men.
As a result, the female contingent of its viewer-ship during its
initial theatrical run at the brothers' fabled O'Farrell cinema was
rumored as being uncharacteristically high. Though exact numbers are
nigh impossible to come by, it has also been documented elsewhere that
an inordinate amount of female buyers procured the cassette when it was
launched on its particularly profitable video career. Supporting the
distinction between "rape fantasy" (fuelled by bodice-ripping romance
novels) and the disturbing reality, GREEN DOOR details the
feature-length subjugation of one woman fair-haired all American girl
Gloria Saunders, portrayed by former Ivory Snow model Marilyn Chambers
in her indelible adult baptism by fire abducted and taken to an
underground sex club where for one night she's told she will be
publicly "loved like she has never been loved before" with freedom
returned to her the next morning.
Story was taken from an anonymously penned pamphlet that has been passed around among soldiers ever since the Second World War, framed by the supposed eye witness account of two "Everyman" types, strapping young Barry (George S. MacDonald, the boyfriend from David Gerber's superlative SCHOOLGIRL) and elderly Dudley (character actor Yank Levine, who played Abraham in the Mitchells' ill-fated epic SODOM & GOMORRAH) to an inquisitive diner cook. Helpless to save the girl Barry had been flirting with mere moments before, they watch her being dragged (by Jim & Artie no less !) into a car and speeding off. As coincidence would have it, she turns out to be the main attraction at the mysterious Green Door Club both men frequent later that night. Making their bid for real world respectability, the Mitchells enlisted a pair of minor celebrities for brief appearances at this stage. Former pro football player for the Oakland Raiders Ben Davidson plays the bouncer and Angela Castle a/k/a "Toad Attell", who was a regular on Sid Caesar's family-oriented YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS, performs her patented mime routine which stands as one of few elements that really date this film. Though she's an unwilling participant at first, Gloria gradually grows to enjoy the erotic experiences afforded by her captors, a rapt audience progressively partaking which shifts the film's focus from stage to auditorium. In a key element to women's enjoyment of the premise, Gloria is immediately soothed by a sympathetic, tellingly mature matron (with the hint of a British accent, supplied by Linda Grant who thereby has the most extensive dialog scene in the movie) who assures that no harm will come to her and that she should just open herself up okay, you can stop sniggering ! to the physical pleasures that await her. Ravishment by half a dozen women in stylized nun garb, beautifully shot at strangely skewed angles by regular Mitchell DoP Jon Fontana (who worked on AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A FLEA and their rarely revived CB MAMAS), leads to Gloria's response to the call of nature in the shape of the industry's original black stallion Johnny Keyes in an all time classic encounter. No longer on the receiving end, our silent heroine reciprocates in the legendary trapeze number with Mick Jones (another man of color, also in Ann Perry's COUNT THE WAYS and Gary Graver's V THE HOT ONE) and an early appearance by Tyler Reynolds, culminating in the extended solarized spurting that now unfortunately seems mostly like the brothers showing off their technical prowess as it tends to stop the film dead for a ten minute stretch. The highly ritualized theatrical "performance" contrasts effectively with the spontaneous action bursting out among the rapt audience, including an imposing obese lady whose presence has engendered reviewer references to Fellini, along with a recent French critic likening the film to the works of Godard and Ozu in light of the brothers' documented film school training. Great, so at least I don't have to venture down a path that can logically only lead to ridicule ! More than just a hardcore history relic, GREEN DOOR actually holds up well for most part, save for its few dated aforementioned stylistic touches. By restricting their central heroine to complete silence throughout, the Mitchells adopted the "blank screen" approach onto which each viewer can project his or more specifically her private fantasies. There had been cute girls in porn prior to 1972, like Tina Russell for instance, but Chambers was without doubt the first truly beautiful woman to enter the industry, her until then minor real world recognizability facilitating audience identification. It may also be an important factor, as critic Danny Peary points out, that the sexual feats she performs are relatively modest in comparison to those achieved by Linda Lovelace and Georgina Spelvin around the same time and therefore quite attainable for the average Jill Public. Further proof that the genre was still in its infancy and feeling its way is the haunting and utterly non-porno type music composed by Daniel Le Blanc which perfectly accompanies this timeless and still tantalizing classic.
Unlike most of todays porn pictures, Behind the Green door is a well made film, pretty good camera work for a movie in this genre. It takes its time until it becomes explicit, but I did not feel inclined to push the fast forward button, since the film works pretty well as a movie and not only as a way to arouse the viewer erotically, though it still is an amazingly sexy piece of work.
Behind The Green Door is an historic adult movie relic from 1972 that was
among the trilogy of films that were considered "Porno Chic" the other two
being Deep Throat and The Devil In Miss Jones. Behind The Green Door is the
least erotic of the 3 but maybe the most important film artistic wise.
Marilyn Chambers performance has no dialogue , but it was her wholesome pure
girl next door good looks that made this the centerpiece..not plain jane
looking like Georgina Spelvin and Linda Lovelace , and not as whorish and
sleazy looking as the various other performers in the early years..Chambers
represented the pretty girl who's looks werent so beautiful she was
threatening or plastic. However the film itself suffers from it's heavy
emphasis on artsy film making techniques ..such as the final "money shot"
scenes running in multicolors and freeze frames and slow motion...kinda
ruins the feel. Also the scene between Johnny Keyes and Chambers missed any
penetration angles giving the scene a simulated sex feel. Plotwise Chambers
is kidnapped and forced to perform sexual acts on stage in front of an
audience of vouyers , the trapeze oral sex scene and the group orgy are it's
standouts. View this in the mind that it's a look at the adult industry in
it's classic years before it all went down the toilet because of it's low
Before the Mitchell Brothers made what is probably their masterpiece with 1973's 'The Resurrection of Eve', they made this film. Behind the Green Door is a strange and surreal porn flick that features everything you'd expect (and more!) in a weird dream-like setting. The film is cited by some to be an influence on Stanley Kubrick's final film Eyes Wide Shut - and it's certainly very obvious why. The plot focuses on the idea of a young girl being kidnapped. She is taken to a strange underground club, where the clients wear elaborate masks and costumes, and forced to perform various sex acts on stage. As a porn film; Behind the Green Door is likely to be a bit too strange for some, and as a film - there's far too little going on in the plot departments and despite the setting, it soon degenerates into a simple collection of porn sequences. It is very well filmed, however, and while we're seeing things like blow jobs and lesbian sex that we've all seen in many other films; the Mitchell Brothers somehow manage to make it seem different to what we've seen before due to the execution. I can't say that the film works as a complete whole - I didn't find it very erotic and there's really not a great deal going on outside of the many sex scenes. Still, this is undoubtedly an interesting film and followers of XXX stuff will likely want to track it down.
One of the first porno chic crossovers, this 1972 film helped bring XXX
movies to a mainstream audience. Anonymous young woman (Marilyn Chambers)
"abducted" to kinky sex theater where she performs on stage with a variety
of other people for the delectation of an audience of voyeurs, who
eventually perform among themselves. There are some fair SFX, though hardly
on an ILM scale, and the story content is inherently slanted against any
real involvement other than arousal by the viewer.
Despite its B.O. and reputation, this is a fairly primitive picture. Every print I have seen is both overly dark and dupelike grainy. Chambers is stunning here, and though it is now nothing odd, at the time it was a real shock to see anyone so wholesomely attractive in the centerpiece role of a porn film. (The Ivory Snow publicity did not hurt ticket sales a bit.) Chambers later demonstrated (in the superior RESURRECTION OF EVE and in David Cronenberg's R-rated horror film RABID) acting talent not particularly visible in DOOR, but even now, 30 years later, she remains the BGD girl to an entire generation.
Film remains of much historical interest, though it has long since ceased to be a beacon for the seeker of cheap thrills. Look for lovely San Francisco porn actress Candy Johnson in the supporting ranks and pro footballer Ben Davidson in a non-sex role.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was born in 1963 and I saw the film when I was 15 years old. If it
wasn't for this film I would have not turned out as well as I did in
the area of sexuality.
The film taught me that women have the right to enjoy sex. That sex is a part of life and should not be seen as dirty or just the way to have kids.
When the woman who was kidnapped was taken to a place with a stage and an audience, I was concerned for her. But when she was totally sexed up by women and men, who were giving her pleasure, and not just getting their rocks off, I was driven to learn all I could about sex. The good and the bad aspects of it.
Because of this movie, The Green Door, I have never had an STD, never had horrible sex, and never suffered like many woman where I live.
I wish they would make a Behind The Green Door Two where the woman's 21 year old daughter is lead to the same place and gets the same delights as her mother did decades before.
I have seen a few sex films since and I am not that impressed. But I would love to see one where there is sex, mutual satisfaction and the subtleness of a story that has the potential to help any young person get past the negative crap some would have them endure, keeping from them the true joy of sex.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Behind the Green Door has a deceptively simple central story, which
nevertheless is layered with a great deal of really rather
sophisticated exploration of sexual desire and the potentials of
The film begins in a truck-stop diner, as two drivers come in and are pressed by the chef to tell him the story of "the green door." The men are a little coy at first, but free coffee loosens their tongues. One of them begins to tell the story which we see... A single woman is kidnapped from her hotel and taken to a secret location where she becomes the centrepiece of a bizarre sexual show. Before the kidnapping, she is shown sitting isolated at an outdoors restaurant, keeping herself to herself and wrapped up against the cold as a boor at another table drones on to another fellow about what he got up to at the weekend. The film then posits that beneath her solitary exterior lurks a desire to be opened up to sensual pleasure and exhibitionism. She is kidnapped (by, significantly, characters played by the film's directors, the Mitchell Brothers) and taken to the show venue. She is met by a woman who tells her that she will not be hurt and that she will experience delights. She is stripped, massaged and dressed and then taken onto the stage.
The stage is set before a small audience of (mostly) masked onlookers, who have been told the "rules" of the club and seem to be all in on the secret society - they have to negotiate their way past burly doormen and agree to keep their counsel during the "performance." After a slightly grotesque Marcel Marceau-type clownerie, the kidnapped woman is led on the stage and sexually explored by a gaggle of ladies. After she has been woken to feeling by touching and cunnilingus, the green door at the back opens and a black man with a large and already engorged penis enters to the sound of funk. He then licks and f**ks the kidnapped woman, driving into her until they reach mutual orgasm.
This inspires the audience to begin masturbating, touching each other and finally indulging in an orgy. The kidnapped woman fellates three acrobats who descend on ropes and the cast and watchers come together for a Dionysian romp. This ends with a series of slow-motion money shots involving distorted special effects. After she has been covered in cum, the kidnapped woman is suddenly "rescued" by a member of the audience and taken back through the green door. Then we're back in the diner, with the chef desperate to know more. The drivers have nothing more to tell him, and one of them drives into the night. As he drives, he sees the lights of the city shining and a vision of himself making uninhibited love to the kidnapped woman.
The central story of the kidnapping and show is specifically structured as the fantasy of the drivers at the diner. All of the more controversial aspects of the show - the strangely acquiescent victim, the secret society of privileged voyeurs, the black man as representative of sexual prowess and primal sexual urges - are suggested by the film as fantasies of these working class white men, tales they tell to enliven their rather barren, powerless and sexually frustrated lives (they have no real women in their lives within the film).
There's also an intriguing strand of the film which posits that watching a pornographic performance will inspire an audience to indulge in its own licentious sexual activities. The audience of the show are soon touching and screwing each other (and its telling that their bodies are mostly not as attractive as the performers in the show), and the driver is lost in his own self-generated pornographic fantasies at the end.
The film is a remarkable and wonderfully self-conscious dream of male desire, a desire which wants women to agree to their own induction into a realm of uninhibited pleasure. It isn't suggested in the film that such a realm can exist in reality, but the audience participation suggests that the filmmakers hoped that their spectators might be inspired to sexual activities of their own. The most intense section of the film is the entrance and sexual performance of Johnny Keyes, the black ravisher - he is an astonishing presence, and the moment before he enters Marilyn Chambers (a woman with considerable star quality) suggests a collusion between the two characters which could also be a collusion between the two performers - it is genuinely erotic and laden with the temptation to see these two people as genuinely wishing to transgress social and ethnic sexual barriers.
The film fully deserves its reputation as a classic of the golden age of porn, a genuinely seminal work. The title refers to the popular song, a 1950s hit for Jim Lowe and itself possibly inspired by a story by O. Henry, also called The Green Door.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Pioneering, cabaret-style porn flick that inspired "Cafe Flesh", "Smoker", "Night Dreams" and porn surrealism typified by such XXX directors as Greg Dark, Rinse Dream, and even Rob Black. Marilyn Chambers is kidnapped by the directors, Jim and Artie Mitchell, and taken to a club that probably inspired "Eyes Wide Shut". She is "forced" to have sex with lesbians, black men, and anybody who wants a piece of her. The observers get horny watching and end up being observed groping and grinding with each other. Say you want you want about the film's raw technical quality, but it is quite an erotic experience. It takes its sweet time with the sex scenes and constructs a veritable cinematic inferno of lust and licentiousness. Although the initial tone is dark, it becomes lighter as Chambers' enjoyment of her predicament increases (the country-and-western music helps, too). There is no narrative, but Ms. Chambers does take a fascinating journey from fear to enlightenment and conveys these changes non-verbally. Her "performance" is strong and even led to a starring role a few years later in David Cronenberg's "Rabid" where she acquitted herself very well. Not surprisingly, Chambers is the most attractive female in the cast by far. It is her movie, as it should be.
Behind the Green Door is a ground-braking movie, it was the first adult
movie with widely released in the United States, not only in adult
theaters, but also in respectable mainstream movie houses. With Behind
the Green Door the Mitchell Brothers changed the face of the adult film
Marilyn Chambers stars as Gloria Saunders, and she plays a girl that's being kidnapped, and forced to perform various sexual acts before an audience at an underground sex club. The plot line doesn't sound that complex, and it isn't either, but this movie has one great and interesting character played terrific by Marilyn Chambers. The story is also very artistically, stylish and most erotic. Behind the Green Door isn't "just a porn movie", is actually much closer to an art-movie. Is like, if Kubrick ever made porn, than I guess it would look something like Behind the Green Door.
Behind the Green Door is really a masterpiece in its genre, and one of the most important movies in the history of America. 9 out of 10.
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