With the rebuilding of Europe underway following WW2, and allied forces occupying foreign territories, the 40s proved ripe for the underground distribution of homegrown erotica, much of it stemming from the open-minded culture that proliferated in Paris. The production of a variety of amateur erotica, both in film and print, much of it hard-core in nature, would find its way into the homes of the wealthy, and as entertainment for servicemen on both sides of the Atlantic.
Capitalising on the curiosity of the British and American public, whose censorship laws had refused to allow anything other than softcore images for public display, the Parisian entrepreneur could engage the services of women, many of whom were without partners due to conscription and the aftermath of war, to participate in sexual acts for the camera for a modest fee. Much of the erotica stemming from France at this time, therefore involved much lesbianism, or the occasional older ‘Gentleman’ no longer required for military fare, but, who were in short-call for the pornographer’s camera lens. Utilising a single set (often an improvised studio or bed chamber) and a simplified camera set-up the pornographer would film his subjects at a distance before creeping closer for the all important close-ups as the action grew more explicit. As there was no sound, editing was fairly simple, and film could be looped, or spliced to incorporate a number of different sexual situations, often involving entirely different actors.
This collection of fifteen erotic French shorts from the 40s serves as a fascinating time capsule encompassing an array of sexual shenanigans that include anilingus, bondage, fellatio, intercourse, masturbation, sadomasochism, and spanking. The quality of the films themselves vary, having been shot on a variety of mono film stocks ranging from 8-35 mm, and re-mastered from archived footage licensed from Editions Astarte (and originally included in the VHS collection “Les Archives d’Eros” volumes 5-6 & 9-10).
The opening short, “Les 2 Roses” (The Two Roses), is typical of the lesbian footage, introducing us to two voluptuous women, who undress, before engaging in bedroom follies ranging from cunnilingus to mutual masturbation.
“A La Francaise” (The French Way) is one of the more risqué examples in the collection, as it involves a heterosexual couple dominating a woman. She is bound, forced to fellate the male, and then made to watch as the couple make love. The sequence also includes some light flagellation.
The most ambitious film, and the only one to carry any on-screen credits, is “Espirit de Famille” (Family Spirit), directed by the pseudonymous Cecil B. de Mezig and featuring ’Julot La Terreur’, ’Anna Macaroni’, and ’Pauline Pan-Pan’. The short includes several outdoor sequences filmed in Parisian suburbs and involves a housewife who receives an unexpected visit from (a woman who I presume to be) her sister. Spying the wife making love to her husband, the guest starts masturbating behind a curtain, is spotted, dragged out, and flogged. She is then pulled onto a table and taken by her brother-in-law, as the pair enjoy things, the wife becomes jealous and objects. As a result she is bound from the ceiling, beaten, and forced to watch the couple have sex. When the man passes out from exhaustion, she is finally untied by her sister and they indulge in various acts of lesbianism that involve a fairly erotic strap-on dildo sequence.
Other curios include “Petit Conte de Noel” (Little Christmas Tale) involving a guy in Santa Claus costume and mask having his wicked way with a young woman, and “La Clinique en Folie” (A Clinic Gone Mad) in which two busty nurses indulge in a ménage a trois with a male patient. However, my personal favourite is an untitled piece of softcore in which two naked beauties dance in an improvised Hawaiian beach hut, and indulge in body painting, nudie-cutie style, whilst gyrating to the Jazz soundtrack that is dubbed throughout this collection.
Aside from its obvious value as a slice of classic pornography, VINTAGE EROTICA ANNO 1940 stands as a reminder of how sexual attitudes and performance have evolved; when women were naturally endowed, un-shaved and when big meant beautiful. Where condoms were slavered in petroleum jelly and housed by the bed in small wooden boxes, and a time when the Kinsey Report revealed that on average 75% of men ejaculated within 2 minutes into intercourse... What do you mean by “That long?”
Carl T. Ford
15 Remastered short films from original 8mm, 9.5mm, 16mm, 35mm
France / 1940-1950/ 98 minutes
SPECIAL DVD FEATURES
A Cult Epics DVD Release
Region 0. NTSC. Dolby Digital Mono.
VINTAGE EROTICA ANNO 1940