“For the man who couldn’t arrange to see ‘blue movies’, there was always the penny arcade.”
Director Alex de Renzy shows the history of cinematic adult films, from early stag flicks to current shorts.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
This documentary overview of “p. through the ages” is guaranteed to be of at least limited interest to all film fanatics, regardless of one’s personal taste for adult flicks. De Renzy showcases stag films from as early as 1915 (which feature typically low-brow “storylines” and surprisingly ordinary-looking actors), as well as mid-century fare such as the racy vignette “A Nun’s Story” (which will appeal to hardcore “nunsploitation” fans). Unfortunately, De Renzy allows shameless self-promotion to get in the way of his larger purpose by including personally-directed shorts in the final section of the film. Even worse, he doesn’t seem to understand the concept of judicious editing: rather than choosing strategic clips from each of the various films, he shows them in their entirety, and thus the movie drags on for far too long.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- An interesting, somewhat mind-bending glimpse at early 20th century folks engaged in lewd behavior
Yes. As the first attempt to compile early stag and adult movies into a “documentary” for mainstream audiences (it was reviewed by Roger Ebert and the New York Times), this flick holds a unique place in film history.