19 January 2007 | kezop_male
Before Porn, there was Erotica
For a brief moment in the mid '70's, before herpes, AIDS; at the beginning of the disco revolution and the absolute beginnings of the VCR, American society had grown up enough to allow genuine adult entertainment on the mainstream big screen as entertainment and not disguised as a morality play like "Reefer Madness." Unlike its predecessors, "Deep Throat" and "The Devil in Miss Jones," "The Opening of Misty Beethoven" features rich production values and exotic locations. The production values of this film are on par with most Hollywood productions at the time and huge cut above "B" movies of the era.
Explicit sex fills this film, even when the main characters are not engaging in it, the background extras on screen are. It's an interesting mix, leading to explicit sex being both glorified and trivialized. More than any other single film, this movie celebrates the promises of the 1960's Sexual Revolution with candid portrayals of sexual behavior from solo sex to heterosexual to both forms of homosexual-ism, namely gay and lesbian (though the references to gay sex are not presented as direct man on man contact).
While the sex is explicit and at times shown in the kind of close-ups that makes one feel as if they are a gynecologist, few of the sex scenes follow the pattern of modern pornography where the partners are filmed in close-up and changing positions every three to five minutes. On one hand, little of the sex between the main characters is gratuitous, yet, since this IS a sex film, it can be argued it is ALL gratuitous. The story is clearly a twist on the classic "My Fair Lady" theme. Can a lowly, "civil servant" class sex worker be elevated to the pinnacles of being a sexual legend? The dialog can be very witty at times and the movie doesn't mind stopping the "action" for a few good lines. The acting is above average for the period. The hip, very vogue fashions of the day are a wonderful flashback to another time and may be worth witnessing for their own value.
By 1978's "Debbie Does Dallas," the moment was over. Production values had fallen along with the caliber of the story lines and quality of the actors ability to act. Theater owners were under political pressure about showing such explicit movies. Mainstream Hollywood never took the bait to make their own adult productions, marginalizing the industry. And most importantly, there was a new technology entering the homes of Americans that would allow people to view such explicit content in the privacy of their homes, the VCR (first introduced to consumers as the Sony Betamax in 1975).