In this postwar short for the Ministry of Health (available on the BFI Player and on the BFI DVD The Birds and the Bees), director J. Holmes, who was instrumental in the development of the story documentary, draws on the quintessential ingredients of ‘women’s films’ to ram home the message that marriage and motherhood are the right path to follow.What’s curious here is that while contemporary commercial features would have necessarily deployed a clever euphemistic device to skirt around the unsavoury medical issue at hand, this pithy but potent family drama addresses it head-on, much to the dismay of poor wayward Joan.
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In 1973 he compiled eight of the best into a programme called The Erotic Films of Peter de Rome (available on BFI DVD), and they were shown to great acclaim in festivals around the world.
In the 1970s, gay porn was a rare genre which showed homosexual men, more commonly depicted as villains or victims, as having a good time.
Radley Metzger had a parallel career as a New York-based distributor who specialised in catering for the arthouse and sexploitation markets, ideally simultaneously.
The films he directed were made with a keen eye on what was permissible at the time, ranging from glossy but softcore adaptations of the classics (Carmen Baby, Camille 2000) to what are still regarded as the artistic high points of the mid-70s ‘porno chic’ explosion (especially The Opening of Misty Beethoven).
Made on a shoestring, the film took a fortune at the box office and remained on London screens for several months.