Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Historical Erotica from the Kinsey Institute

The Department of Communication and Culture, the Kinsey Institute, and the Ryder Film Series present, as part of the FILM INDIANA: SCREENING THE SHORT Conference taking place on the IU campus from September 14-16, 2007:

*A Special Screening from One of IU’s Film Archives*


Friday, September 14, 2007
Fine Arts Auditorium 015, 8:00-10:00 p.m.
*Note: No one under the age of 18 will be admitted*

Alfred Kinsey Interview (NBC, 1956, 15 min.)
This is a segment from a practice interview Dr. Kinsey did for NBC’s Today Show . The final interview aired on March 20, 1956, a few months before Dr. Kinsey died (on August 25). In the practice tape, among other things, he talks about how he got involved with sex research and came to establish the Institute.

Getting His Goat (1923, 8 min.)
This is an early silent, live-action erotic short set on Idlewild Beach, where three girls decide to go skinny-dipping, whereupon they meet a young dreamer named Anthony Browning who steals their clothes. They must negotiate with him for the return of their clothes, but he gets both more and less of what he bargained for.

Buried Treasure (Climax Fables, circa 1930, 7 min.)
This silent short is thought to be among the earliest of animated sex films. It follows the sexual adventures and misadventures of the character Eveready Harton while he is stranded on a desert island.

Un chant d’amour (“A Song of Love,” Jean Genet, 1950, 26 min.)
Abandoned as a child and growing up as a thief, a beggar, and a prostitute, Jean Genet (1910-1986) became an acclaimed French novelist who began writing while he was in prison. This film, shot in 35mm by a professional crew, represents his only work in cinema. Because of its explicit homosexuality, the film was long banned. In this silent film, Genet uses direct and allusive imagery and fantasy sequences to portray gay male desire in the repressive circumstances of a French prison. His experimental style later influenced such filmmakers as Andy Warhol and gay and experimental cinema more generally.

Amateur Wrestling Girls in Gym, Part I (Irving Klaw, 1949, approx. 10 min.)
Irving Klaw, an American photographer and filmmaker, was known as the “Pin-Up King” in the 1950s for the strip-tease, burlesque, and fetish/bondage photographs and 8mm films he made in the post-WWII era. Along with his sister, Paula Kramer, he ran a mail-order business selling photos and films of women in scanty attire. This short is part of a series of films he did on women wrestling and boxing, many of which are not set in explicitly sexual situations or coded in obviously sexual ways.

Betty’s Clown Dance, Parts I and II (Irving Klaw, 1951-56, 10 min.)
Bettie Page modeled for “racy” photographs and films from 1950-1957, during which time she became Irving Klaw’s most famous performer. Revived interest in her career in the 1970s and 1980s helped to give her the status of 1950s icon. Fans of hers during and after her heyday were attracted to her bold physical appearance, sexy attire, and the saucy/playful attitude she displayed in revealing poses and dances, some taking on a girl-next-door persona, some casting her as the heroine of S&M fantasies. Playboy magnate Hugh Hefner and science fiction writer Harlan Ellison numbered among her more well-known devoted fans. This film (with music added) is characteristic of Bettie’s lingerie-clad “girl-next-door” appearances, but with a strange doll figure.

Betty Page Nude (Nude Kamera Klub, 1951-56, 5 min.)
This film (also with music added) depicts a partially nude Bettie—one among numerous “nudie” sessions she did for amateur and professional photographers. After a longer career than many models in her line of work, Bettie’s career ended when she experienced a religious conversion in 1958. While there are many books devoted to her, The Notorious Bettie Page (dir. Mary Harron, 2005) is one of the most recent biographical tales to tell her story.

Hair Fetish Films (Photographer Stan Shuttleworth, circa 1950s, 10 min.).
In the early 20th century, many women in the Western hemisphere began to cut off their long tresses. As a result, long hair became more of a rarity and people who doted on women with long, long hair became something of a cult taste group. Stan Shuttleworth, a California-based photographer who died in the 1980s, shot countless photographs and films devoted to this subject. This particular Shuttleworth film consists of four separate segments in black-and-white and color and demonstrates, again, that what counts as erotica is not always predictable.

Deep Donut (Otto Bickoff, Sweet Relish Films, 1976, 5 min.) This is a stop-motion animated short in color that was intended as a sex education film. It features intimate relations between a donut and a pickle set against the backdrop of suburban life.

*The mission of The Kinsey Institute is to promote interdisciplinary research and scholarship in the fields of human sexuality, gender, and reproduction. Visit for the Institute’s history on research and for information about its collections.