The last volume in Cult Epics' Vintage Erotica series gathers 12 films from the swinging sixties (3:57 + 9:34 + 4:17 + 7:01 + 9:22 + 11:43 + 7:11 + 8:01 + 8:15 + 8:12 + 8:19) and follows the same balance between mechanical depictions of intercourse and a handful of more ambitious efforts that place all the nuances within a simple storyline.
None of the shorts are in colour – probably a faint expectation among fans of the series, given most probably assume the studios' use of colour and widescreen film formats to rival TV would've reduced the production costs for making a short colour film. The explicit nature of these films would've meant finding a lab willing to turn a blind eye in order to process the graphic shorts, and during the early and mid-sixties, local and state censor boards still maintained power over what could be seen on the big screen. Colour film was also expensive, and for most of the shorts in this volume, the goal was to titillate and inspire rather than craft a dramatic narrative to support long sex scenes (although there are a few exceptions, which we'll get to shortly).
Titles and intertitles – present on several of the French narratives from the twenties and thirties DVDs – are also quite passé in this collection (besides “Cream Eros” and “Far-mor og datter,” most of the films lack any titles,), and if there's any major differences in content when compared to examples from prior decades, it's the greater depiction of large orgies, and extended examples of detailed, pornographic montages.
While one could assume the orgies and threesomes were closer steps towards the impersonal, mechanical hardcore porn films of the seventies, there are also a few shorts that go for a slow build. The first short begins with an ordinary lass standing in her kitchen, posing, slowly undressing, and the camera framing her exposed midsection in long pauses before a quick end; it's a slow tease, and a perfect intro before the orgies that fill up the collection's mid-region.
With the exception of dildos & vibrators, toys are also less important, as participants are more cozy with their own attributes (although a back-scracher gets some creative use), and there's long shots of fellatio, cunningulus, and cum shots – the latter far more rare in prior DVDs – and technique, making these shorts closer antecedents to standard porn.
“Cream Eros,” the sixth film on the DVD, also demonstrates the range of relations in this collection: two couples gather in a bedroom, boff their partners, and the women boff each other – but no gay sex, which was present in prior volumes. Whether it's due to the mostly European origins of prior films or a shift towards making porn for a heterosexual viewers here (leading to specialized porn streams), the shorts address the fantasies of men, and what men think women would probably like.
Other shorts with simple storylines include “Far-mor og datter” and the 12 th film on the DVD, both of which follow the same tale of couples gathering for sex, or sex being the desert after some wine and quick chatter. (In the final film, it's actually an older man who gets to play with 3 women, ranging in age from twentysomething to fortysomething.)
Most of the prints are pretty shopworn, and while consistent with the nature of erotic and porn shorts, it's surprising how even films from the sixties were treated as ephemeral works meant to be ground to dust. It's a naïve view, but understandable, because we've kind of come to expect films from a more recent era like the sixties – whether studio, independent, experimental – to suffer less wear & tear; and appear on DVDs via newly discovered prints, restored or cleaned up, and a bit closer to our technical standards. The shorts in this collection have clearly enjoyed a lot of backroom play, and it's lucky they've survived the projectors of collectors that probably weren't cleaned and maintained as often and as well as that of a theatre chain.
Cult Epics have added retro sixties music to these otherwise silent films, and they provide an appropriate tongue-in cheek (or wherever) ambiance. Also included are several stills, and a 1940s short that basically follows a formally dressed couple on a home dinner date who down some booze, and actually spend some time teasing and contemplating their next move in separate rooms before the big funfest on the couch, with plenty of variable positions, close-up inserts, a cuddle, and the male's exhausted pickle that literally signals the end of the short, underscored with sixties Blue Note-styled jazz music.
This title is available separately or as part of The Vintage Erotica Collection boxed set, which houses volumes Anno 1920, Anno 1930, Anno 1940, and Anno 1950, and Anno 1960 in slim cases.
© 2007 Mark R. Hasan