Hey! Watch It With The Camera! We’re Doing An Orgy Here!
There are documentaries that enlighten – and inform. They are, in many ways, educational and thought-provoking. Yes, even when they are about orgies…
And then there are documentaries that like to party! And NOBODY parties better than the Aussies, who like it dirty down under!
Time For A Few “Shock Docs!”
If you are easily offended, then none of these documentaries are for you – but if you have a sense of adventure – they are terrific! They are examples of how a documentary can capture a lifestyle, a moment in time – take you inside places you could never go, or were afraid to go…
Let’s start by going down under! “Hey now!”
Australia After Dark – 1975. “They say forbidden fruit tastes the sweetest!”
I don’t know who actually says that, but it’s the come on for a wild 70’s-era documentary about everything that is crazy down under!
Behind the bright lights and the strip clubs is a very different Australia!
Director John D. Lamond asks the simple question: “are you in the mood for some classic “Oxploitation?” Be warned: this ain’t no kangaroo doc!
In 1975, producer/director John Lamond made his indelible debut with this mondo-style look at the depraved underbelly of a land down-under. It s an ultra-sleazy, full-frontal journey through the weird and the pathetic, the ugly, the obscene and the beautiful, featuring strippers, swingers, murderers, devil worshippers, nutty gurus, drunken aborigines, and much more.
From the back alleys of the big cities to the savage cruelty of the outback, discover a continent of pleasure, pain, erotic art, wriggling cuisine, tiny bikinis, alien landings, record-breaking beer consumption and insane amounts of 70s nudity – yes, INSANE AMOUNTS OF 70’S NUDITY!
This classic documentary is now available for lovers of crazy, “good clean naughty fun”. It’s fully restored from a print recently discovered in the cellar of the Lower Wonga Drive-In and presented uncut & uncensored for the first time ever in America.
The ABC’s of Love & Sex – 1978. As they say on TV, “BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!”
Three years later, Lamond is back with a followup, the crazy “ABC’s Of Love & Sex”…
From The Onion’s AV Club review: The ABCs Of Love And Sex—Australia Style! is more innovative in its approach to “factsploitation.” Assigning a letter to different clinical sex-ed topics—A is for “anatomy,” B is for “birth,” C is for “contraception,” and so on—The ABCs offers footage of breastfeeding babies, nude models lounging on satin sheets, hot-oil massages and the like, mostly shot in a brightly lit, colorfully dressed studio.
The movie has the look and tone of a TV commercial, except the product being pitched is orgasms. The tradeoff for the more artful approach is that The ABCs is oddly less sexy and more repetitive than the more docu-realistic After Dark. (Though the 1978 film does includes a couple of short hardcore segments.) But again, Lamond’s frankness—combined with his non-moralistic take on subjects like homosexuality—saves the movie from the creepy hypocrisy of so many sexploitation films, which try to sell audiences smut while making them feel bad for wanting to see it. By contrast, Lamond’s bait-and-switch is to promise scandal, then greet it with the live-and-let-live shrug it properly deserves.
Key features: The real selling point of both discs are the commentary tracks with Lamond and Hartley, who together tell the story of these movies, Lamond’s early career, and the seat-of-the-pants Australian exploitation scene of the 1970s.
The Aristocrats – 2005
Ever want to hear your favorite comedians tell the vilest joke of all time? Here you go!
Comedy veterans and co-creators Penn Jillette ( seen above with his partner Teller) and Paul Provenza capitalize on their insider status and invite over 100 of their closest friends–who happen to be some of the biggest names in entertainment, from George Carlin, Whoopi Goldberg and Drew Carey to Gilbert Gottfried, Bob Saget, Paul Reiser and Sarah Silverman–to reminisce, analyze, deconstruct and deliver their own versions of the world’s dirtiest joke, an old burlesque too extreme to be performed in public, called “The Aristocrats.”
George Carlin: The joke leads me down one path and then it switches the path on me suddenly and hits me with a hammer. It’s just, “Here we go folks.”
The terrific website IMDB has some interesting trivia about the joke: “This joke has been used by comedians for years as a mental stretching exercise. They would tell the joke to each other as a warm up for their acts. While the setup and punchline remain the same throughout, the middle section, describing the actual family act, is always varied to get the juices going by throwing in the most they can and keeping it funny. There are stories of parties where performers will jam and keep it going for almost an hour.”
Robin Williams does a variation, as does Princess Leia, whose Mom is Debbie Reynolds…who isn’t sacred for the sake of the joke…
Carrie Fisher: My mother was a golden shower queen.
According to his biography, “I’m Chevy Chase and You’re Not”, Chevy Chase filmed a version of the joke as well. However, at the last second he decided not to sign the release form as he was afraid of what his daughters would think of the joke’s content.
The highlight is when the film ends with Bob Saget’s version of the joke – the most obscene, rambling and hilarious take on it imaginable…hilarious, profane, and insightful – how can you argue that?
American Swing – 2008
We end with one of the craziest, dirtiest chapters in American history – the legendary New York “swinger’s club”, Plato’s Retreat!
Here’s what IMDB said about this documentary: The parallel stories of Plato’s Retreat, a Manhattan sex club for straight couples that operated from 1977 until the mid 1980s, and of Larry Levenson, the club’s impresario.
In present-day interviews, Larry’s family talks about him, while writers, reporters, and clients talk about the club. Mixed with these interviews are still photographs and archival footage of the club, Larry’s appearances on talk shows, and newspaper articles. By the late 70s, the club was in full swing, with talk of Plato’s Retreats in other cities.
By the end of the decade, tax problems had Larry in trouble with the IRS and changing mores gave the club a different vibe. Then AIDS became an epidemic.
Look at these rules! “No One Admitted Fully Clothed.” Can you believe this was a legal, legitimate business?
This was a public orgy – and this is a fascinating look inside this business, the owner, and the people who participated – like this couple below, now much older, who willingly discuss what went on inside the club!
Here is an IMDB user review, whcih I think does a terrific job summing up the documentary: “American Swing” refers to the “wife-swapping” phenomenon that swept through middle-class suburbia in the 1970s. And no figure did more to popularize that trend than Larry Levenson – the “King of Swing” as he came to be called – whose “live sex club,” Plato’s Retreat, located in Manhattan’s Upper West Side, served as the epicenter for so much of the action.
Let it be stated right up front that this eye-opening documentary is not for the prudish or the easily offended, for its footage is graphic and its language raw, often akin in its look to crude 1970’s porn. Directed by Matthew Kaufman and Jon Hart, the film features interviews with many of the now-aging club regulars who happily regale us with tales of their personal escapades there. A number of celebrities who frequented the club, as well as certain reporters and broadcasters who covered the beat at the time are also interviewed.
“American Swing” is most interesting as a social document, showing how the “free love” ethos espoused by the hippies in the 1960’s expanded into the mainstream a decade later.
This is a really fascinating look at a bygone era – not so long ago, when the “sexual revolution” tuned into a sexual free-for-all!
Categories: 70's Cinema, Australia, Books / Media, Comedy Movies, documentary films, Exploitation films, Foreign Films, Grindhouse, Independent Cinema, Movies, Obscure Movies, Sexploitation Movies, Talent/Celebrities, Travel, Travel Memoir, Uncategorized