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Sean S. Cunningham
Sean P. Griffin
Timing is everything, and the horrible documentary THE ART OF MARRIAGE was a big hit when released in February 1970 in NYC. I recently watched an obscure porn film from Alpha Blue Archives, DEVIATIONS OF LOVE (not even listed in IMDb) and it featured a Times Square scene showing "The Art of Marriage" on a theater marquee with the legend "27th Week", giving some indication of its b.o.
But 40 years later it offers nothing at all to the porn fan, amateur film historian or mere curiosity seeker. That's because MARRIAGE is one long cheat, bilking a sex-starved public and failing to deliver the goods.
A square-looking host/narrator called "Howard Brubaker" (that's the name of a character played by Jack Lemmon the year before in THE APRIL FOOLS) lectures us relentlessly on how to increase one's pleasure in the sack in marriage. He's not fitted with any credentials, as a doc, but fills the white-coater bill in a routine sports jacket.
After a couple of diagrams showing the interior of the male and female genitalia, "married couples" demonstrate foreplay and positions of sexual intercourse for your dining and dancing pleasure. With Howard droning on endlessly, reading from his handy booklet, the hour is deadly dull. Last half hour has the couple humping away with camera always carefully positioned to NOT reveal any penetration. Fellatio is NOT demonstrated, and there's no ejaculation. So it's 100% softcore, simulated sex, posing as hardcore to steal the fans' money.
Actual hardcore porn was soon to show up later in the year in rival white coaters, but I guess the poor devils of the day flocked mindlessly to this one under the delusion that at long last they could finally see on the big screen what was heretofore relegated to Elks lodges and smokers in the form of brief stag films.
It was made as cheaply as possible, with very poor editing of Howard's closeups (violating most Editing 101 rules), and a cheap bedroom set with bare walls and a bed whose linens change from pink to blue later in the film as the only visual contrast. Performers are not particularly attractive, the women not spectacularly built and the men showing their balls, not their penises, on screen.
Harry Reems is incorrectly credited in IMDb as a cast member -he does not appear, with or without his future trademark mustache. There might have been a confusion, since Reems does appear in other white coaters, notably MONDO PORNO and ALL ABOUT SEX OF ALL NATIONS. For that reason the IMDb producer-director credit for famous horror maven Sean S. Cunningham is suspect -in any event it is wrong because there are no credits on screen.
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