But were afraid to look. As the storyline suggests, this is a quasi-documentary that explores the porn industry as it existed in Europe in the late 60s to early 70s. There have been many documentaries made about the porn industry, but I believe this was the first of its kind.
Directed by a Scottish porn maker, the film basically plays like one big promotional advertisement for pornography, at a time when it was still illegal to view in most countries outside mainland Europe. It does not explore the 'cons' of porn, only the 'pros'. It argues that pornography is harmless and should not be forbidden from viewing by adults in a democracy. Whatever your personal view of porn is, the film is still an interesting look back at how it existed back in the early 70s.
There are at least three versions of this film that I am aware of. The only version I have not seen is the UK approved version, which ran at about 59 minutes after cuts were ordered by the BBFC. The two versions that I have watched are the 96 minute version approved in Australia and New Zealand, and a 77 minute version that I presume was intended for the North American market. It is important to note that both these versions are substantially different, not just in running time, but in the order and length of the content shown.
In the 96 minute version there are longer scenes of personal interviews with porn actors and directors. So there is a lot of talking, but SUBSTANTIALLY less hardcore content. It starts with Lindsay initiating a young British woman into nude modelling, it then moves onto her getting involved in sex films, shot in London, but intended for the European market. The film then moves to Europe, where the founder of the hardcore magazine Private is interviewed, along with porn film makers in Denmark and Holland. Some mainly non-hardcore scenes depicting the making of these films are shown. These scenes are edited in such a way as to minimise the depiction of actual sex, and therefore depicts the material in a more documentary type context. The film explores various red light districts, including in Hamburg and Copenhagen. Meandering shots of these districts and their shop fronts are shown, and we occasionally enter some. Visiting tourists from the UK and USA are interviewed about their views on pornography.
On the other hand the 77 minute version is slickly edited, moves at a cracking pace, and contains a very large amount of hardcore content in both action and still shots. The content of the film listed above is also in this version, but in a different order. It also contains much less interview footage, preferring instead to focus on the more explicit visual aspects of porn in all its forms, from bondage to rape. If you do find this version, be warned! It contains some scenes that I found gross and confronting, even to today's standards. One scene that occurs at the end, involving three young men and a woman in a farmyard barn, I found downright offensive, but I will spare you the details. This scene is completely missing from the 96 minute version.
Some writers have argued that the true mark of how progressive a society is, is how tolerant and accepting it is of pornography. Things were way different back then! Although the film is not impartial, it is still an interesting curio for those interested in how some societies dealt with porn back in the day.
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