American Stag (2006) Poster


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An Eggless Omelette
YAS17 November 2008
In bygone days, there were those who swore they read PLAYBOY magazine "only for the articles." This documentary feature would appear to have been made entirely for, and by, those people.

Imagine, if you will, the worst possible movie-going experience: watching really bad old porno movies just for the plots. Then make it even more excruciating by presenting only ancient "stag" films, badly photographed in black-and-white, silent, and so deteriorated that one must surmise rather than see most of what's going on.

And then, just to crown the absurdity with insult, carefully expurgate all the actual sex from these movies. And try to make a documentary with the remainder.

Learned pundits (like, um, Adam Carolla) talk about the first "stag" films they saw, or about the Role of Women In Early Porn, but really there's little to say about these sad fragments. We see a couple riding in a '20s jalopy, and then they get out. CUT! A woman goes to the doctor's office (I think), steps inside and begins to undress. CUT! So we are left with a film ABOUT old sex films, comprised OF old sex films, with all the actual sex removed. It's a bizarre and surreal concept, but unfortunately not one entertaining enough to sustain even a documentary as brief as this one.

In today's world of universally available, explicit sex films, filmed in Super Widescreen Hi-Def Million-Color GynoScope with Gooshy Noises In Six-Channel Sound, it might well have been interesting to look back at the era before PLAYBOY, PLAYGIRL and widely available sex education, to see firsthand what was considered erotic. Certainly these quaint and ancient archives are the last place one would need to go to look for any sort of erotic stimulation, and, unfortunately, this film is also the last place one should go to look for any vestige of either entertainment or enlightenment.
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History of stag films - pretty cool
Clayton Moore21 September 2006
Writer-Director, Benjamin Meade presented this movie at the Kansas Internation Film Festival on Sep 20, 2006 in Kansas City. He had a Q&A afterward.

This movie really isn't an explicit or hardcore exploration of stag films but actually a very interesting movie tracking the history of the stag films. While lots of 1 minute or so clips of the stag films were shown nothing explicit. There were several film historians who covered when stag film first appeared, who filmed them and how they were distributed. There were a couple of guys that actually drove around showing the films to stag parties back in the 30s and 40s. Several of their stories were absolutely wild (like how to avoid the law during the parties).

The celebrity guests such as Tommy Chong and Adam Carolla talked about their first experience watching the films which was pretty cool.

All in all not sleazy at all. While lots of clips were shown nothing explicit. The films of actually stag parties (with the beer drinking, smoking and the little super-8 projector grinding away) were great.

Good film off the beaten track. Find it and rent it.
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A history of blue movies
TheRealDevilDoll6 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
The subject matter is quite interesting, but as a documentary, I thought American Stag was dull and lacking. The interviews about the shadowy history of the stags and the sexual culture of the era, with several film historians, were intriguing. The old film footage, archival images and interview with a former projectionist gave an authentic feel as to what things were like before the easy-access porn of today. And I enjoyed seeing the two movies that possibly featured Marilyn Monroe and Barbra Streisand; it's still hard to tell if it's really them, which adds a nice aura of mystery. However there were some MAJOR problems with the dates attributed to the films—the first one is dated 1915, but it's from the 1920's. Another one is given a date of 1938 or '39, but it was obviously filmed later than that, evident when the 'actress' answers a Western Electric telephone that was made in the 1950's (and the clothes the man wears are mid-century). It goes downhill from there, as they seemed to assign dozens of random dates that are totally incorrect to the following film clips. As a historian, I know that the easiest way to date something (within 3-4 years) is to look at the cars, clothes, hairstyles and shoes. Apparently, the folks who made American Stag don't know about that, or they just didn't try very hard. I was also dismayed by the totally pointless interviews with Tommy Chong, Melvin Van Peebles, and the deli owner. They offered nothing in the way of charisma, a good anecdote or story, and they were just boring. I understand that it helps to have a famous person or big name in your documentary to give it some more credibility, but they didn't contribute anything worthwhile. Adam Carolla was slightly entertaining, but that's about all. I was disappointed in this documentary, and I feel it could have been done in a much more historically accurate and compelling fashion.
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Fest Opens Film
tom-8388 February 2006
Film will be opening April 1 at the Orlando Film festival. The comedy short "Who Makes Movies?" by Christopher Luccy starring Tom Konkle will screen prior to the premier. the film has apparently had a few snags getting a premiere but, finally gets its due.

The short film, Who Makes Movies? scheduled to screen just prior is largely improvised by Konkle as Randy Palmer is a perfect fit for American Stag as an opener. The short is done in the style of the comedy of Ricky Gervaise and Christopher Guest as a portrait of one man's dealings with the pirating of and working in the adult entertainment industry. Some of the stars of American Stag are slated to appear at the opening of the film that weekend. That film is a feature length documentary that is comic and a serious study of one of the largest collection of stag films and the history of the genre.
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American Stag is an interesting watch for those interested in that sort of thing
tavm16 October 2015
This is quite an interesting look at the what were referred as stag films mostly made during what was considered The Golden Age of Hollywood. Of course, these silent, one-reelers, were made outside of the system of the time and before VHS, DVD, and the internet exploded. Interesting commentary from the likes of Tommy Chong and Adam Carolla as well as others. While there's some sex scenes, whenever a woman is about to get a man's penis out, the film cuts to avoid an NC-17 as I found out in the commentary track. One of the clips is of a notorious cartoon called Eveready Hardon in Buried Treasure which I reviewed on this site several years ago. Supposedly there are clips of Joan Crawford, Barbra Streisand, and Marilyn Monroe in these films but the commentary track contradicts that. Anyway, on that note, I recommend American Stag.
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