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Based on the controversial off-Broadway musical comedy revue, "Oh! Calcutta! is a series of musical numbers about sex and sexual mores. Most of the skits feature one or more performers in either a state of undress, simulating sex, or both. Written by
The stage version of 'Oh! Calcutta!' opened at the Eden Theater on June 17, 1969, and ran for 1,314 performances. A revival opened at the Eden Theater on September 24, 1976, and ran for 5,959 performances. As of February 2013, this is the seventh longest-running show on Broadway. See more »
During the finale, the camera crew is reflected in the mirrors. As the camera pans around, a crew member tries to run out of the shot. See more »
I rented this for the same reason people went to see it when it was filmed: I'd heard about the sex & nudity and I was curious. I got a lot more than that; it's a time capsule.
The video was made from a closed-circuit TV recording at a live theater performance. I can only assume it's a fairly honest reproduction of the real thing. It's a few nude dance numbers along with quite a few skits. The skits are comedic, nearly all involve nudity, and are all about sex in one way or another. Topics range from masturbation to swinging to kinky toys and more. They're at least as amusing as, and only slightly more sophisticated than, your basic Benny Hill Show. On face value alone it was worth the $1 rental (as long as you're not one who takes his theater experience too seriously).
Its real value comes from its representation of the sexual revolution. It's hard to imagine that it had problems with obscenity laws considering what's available from a wide variety of sources today. It was controversial simply because people talked freely about sex and were naked. When the actors were naked, they neither hid nor flaunted it; they simply were, and appeared happy to be so. They cheerfully acted out skits that portrayed sex as neither serious nor dirty but just plain silly and fun. Compared to the modern business of sex, this is a breath of fresh air which made me long for a simpler time that I barely remember (and may not have ever actually existed).
The same day I saw this was the Janet Jackson/SuperBowl brouhaha, later described as "a perfect opportunity to both sell sex and condemn it." Oh! Calcutta! does neither. The closing number has the cast stripping to nude and dancing gleefully to a song whose chorus is "I don't care what you say / I'll do it anyway / Because it's mine!" That's the sexual revolution in a nutshell; for us to deny ourselves the pleasure our bodies bring us is to remove a large part of the joy of living. But today it's just one more thing for sale.
Cast member and choreographer Margo Sappington has gone on to become a somewhat influential figure in the world of dance.
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