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Seven in a Barn (1971)

 -  Adult  -  15 October 1971 (USA)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 11 users  
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Title: Seven in a Barn (1971)

Seven in a Barn (1971) on IMDb 7.5/10

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sex | hardcore | bondage | homosexual | See All (4) »

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Adult

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15 October 1971 (USA)  »

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7 in a Barn  »

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Referenced in The Sexpert (1972) See more »

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what an all-American footballer might desire...
14 May 2008 | by (England) – See all my reviews

This early gay hardcore feature is supposedly the first such film to feature a synchronised soundtrack - so we get dialogues & (rural) diegetic background sounds as well as voice-over and music backing tracks. The film is an adaptation of a popular 1960s "novel which one reads with one hand" - and is surprisingly faithful to the source material (you can find the novel at http://www.freegaysex.com/nifty/gay/rural/seven-in-a-barn ).

The plot concerns seven (of course) young men from disparate backgrounds who form a "secret society" in order to sexually experiment. They create their own little "pornutopia" in an out-of-the-way barn, playing games in which one person is chosen by chance as the Leader, then a slave is chosen, then the Leader instructs the slave and the rest as to what they are and are not allowed to do. It all comes across as pretty gauche and oddly innocent when put beside later examples of the genre, and the film has a great deal of success in passing itself off as a kind of fly-on-the-wall look at ordinary young men who share a passion for gay sex.

The film begins interestingly, with a kind of accumulation of props and accoutrements - towels, blankets, tubs of Vaseline - which are waiting in the barn for the human bodies which will use them to arrive. Then begins a voice-over narration (edited from the book) in which we are introduced to all of the characters, each given social status and weighed up in terms of their potential desirability. The young men include a shopkeeper's son, a minister's son and a football player; the last named is said by the narrator to be "the best looking" and, to this viewer's mind, this brings in questions of the limits of subjectivity in the cinema, as I personally find some of the others more attractive - a voice over can say what the speaker thinks about a character or situation, but can't make you think it.

Once the characters are established and the first Leader and slave are chosen, the film plunges into a long sex-scene, consisting firstly of the slave's initiation (played out in real time) then in a montage showing the antics of the rest of them getting off in pairs. This interplay between real time and montage is the film's key style.

Most of the film is set in the barn, but there's an interlude in which two of the characters (the first Leader and the first slave, the football player) meet up to go swimming and end up having sex by a lake. Then it's back to the barn for the same game, but with a new leader. It soon becomes apparent that the club's sexual repertoire is pretty limited, but they don't seem to get bored. There's no real denouement - we are simply told that the club members continued to meet and experiment.

The film has obvious historical interest, and its naivety is attractive. The most provocative stance it takes - for its day - is its insistence that a good-looking WASP boy who is a football quarterback gets off in a big way on having his body used and probed and invaded in every orifice by other young men. Years of gay pornography has made this message familiar to the point of ordinariness, but then it must have seemed like a pretty liberating statement.

The sexual montages in the film are accompanied by Deliverance-style banjo music - not the most erotic of soundtracks, tending as it does to give the "action" a somewhat comic effect.

All of the cast are slim, white, toned and smooth and in their late-teens/early 20s; some of them I think are pretty unattractive (notably the guy who looks the spit of John Denver), but that is merely a judgement in the eye of this beholder.


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