Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sex in the Movies or Whew! Is the Air Conditioning Working in This Theater?

Hey, hey, Dr. J. here again. Just a quick word of thanks for the invitation to be a regular here at DIK. Not always sure I'll be able to keep up with all those who have come before me--some contributors can be truly funny. But I'll always try to come up with something that may "click" with you or which will be thought-provoking.

Sex in movies is sooooooo graphic these days. Not that I am a fan of all that repression generations of Western civilization have had to live with. But there really is a difference between the sexually graphic and the erotic, and some of Hollywood's offerings have been so subtle and sooooo erotic that it has driven the censors crazy. Along those lines I have been remembering some of my favorites so here goes.

There are some movies that pop into my head that I remember hit the big screen AND the front page at the same time, all because they caused men to sweat and women to fan their blushing faces. One such movie was Picnic. Starring William Holden (who was gorgeous throughout his entire career, no matter his age) and Kim Novak (who aroused every man in America with that throaty voice), this story of a small town girl and a rabble-rousing, out-of-work drifter set America on its sexual ear. Their dance together was so erotic it was almost banned by the censors. Thankfully it made the cut and we have that wonderful film intact.

And who can forget the beach scene in From Here To Eternity? Burt Lancaster, who always depicted characters that were raw and simmered sexuality was a mean dude in this movie, but he drew beautiful Deborah Kerr to him like ants to honey. She had always been seen as the lovely and proper English lady. Not in this movie!! And their affair scalded the eyeballs of the American movie fan--not in today's graphic sense, but it was what wasn't seen and only hinted at which made people shift in their seats.


Two of Paul Newman's movies stand as classic sexy movies, taut with undeclared emotion, making everyone in the theater aware of what was going on behind the scenes, alive with sexual tension that never let up. From the Terrace was filmed with Joanne Woodward as his wife and a woman who was sexy as all get out, but whose real desire was power and prestige. She was the boss' daughter and she flaunted it non-stop. Paul was gorgeous as usual so every woman in the theater sat mesmerized by his purposeful demeanor and wished they were up there on the screen being kissed.


Any movie buff knows that every Tennessee Williams story is really about the massive dysfunction in the families and relationships that caught his eye. And who can imagine any movie with Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor, especially in her heyday, not burning up the screen? It is powerful and armpit drenching from the word go, and Americans were aware of sex in the bedroom in a way that had never been expessed before. Sexual frustration was the word for the day, and it had everyone breathing fast and panting hotly as this movie unfolded. Cat On A Hot Tin Roof made movie history and it was just such movies that began to force the censors to lighten up just a little on the censorship of movie content. It wasn't long after this that the public forced the censors to begin formulating and implementing the beginnings of the rating system we have today.

And finally, my all-time favorite--well maybe not my all time favorite but it ranks right up there: Love Is A Many Splendored Thing. It is based on the experiences of Dr. Han Suyin, an Eurasian woman who was practicing medicine in a hospital in Hong Kong when she fell in love with an American journalist who was separated from his wife and from whom he could not obtain a divorce. Ultimately he was killed during a battle in Korea where he was assigned. It is beautiful, sexy and one of the first overt "affairs" that hit the screen--a married man with his lover. Yet is stands today as one of the great love stories of American movie history and it is truly one of my favorites. Starring William Holden (what's not to like here?) and Jennifer Jones in the main roles.

It's been great to visit with all the DIK ladies and to share some of my ideas about books and movies. Since this is my first time around, hope you all will visit back again soon. We have some great ladies getting ready to share in the days to come. Until next time . . .

6 comments:

D.L. said...

What a great list! I think you hit the nail on the head with the difference between graphic and erotic sex in movies. All of these movies are super steamy, while a lot of graphic sex in todays films are, well, bleh. Where's the chemistry?

Kris said...

Ok, this might seem quite odd coming from a romance and erotica reader and also someone who is as interested in smutty pictures as I am, but...

My name is Kris and I hate with a passion sex scenes in movies. They drive me utterly and completely crazy.

Maybe it's because over the years I've seen too many gratuitous sex scenes of the modern type that you described, Dr J? I don't know. I do know that I've become exactly like the grandson from The Princess Bride, however: 'Do we have to see the kissing bits??'

Tam said...

Unlike Kris I like the kissing bits. LOL But on the other hand I usually watch sci-fi, action or kids' movies (when the child was younger) so I can't say off hand of any scenes that worked or didn't for me. Hmmm. I must have seen some right? I'm useless. :-P

I do hate it though when for no reason at all there is a love interest for the action hero. Really, there does NOT have to be a love interest in EVERY freaking movie.

Chris said...

I haven't seen any of the movies you listed!

Sex scenes in movies are ok if they manage to be erotic rather than merely graphic.

Bridget Locke said...

What a great contribution you've made to DIK over the last 3 days! :)


I have to giggle and admit that, though I love movies from the 30's-50's, I always felt bad for the actresses who were being kissed. They always looked like they were being eaten by the actors. I can't imagine their necks felt all that great being so scrunched up. lol


One of my favorite "current" movies with no sex, but lots of chemistry is the Jane Eyre starring Toby Stephens & Ruth Wilson. Very, very steamy and yet no sex whatsoever. Lots of fanning of face. :D

Tracy said...

Now you've made me want to order a bunch of movies from netflix! lol The kids will be so disappointed when they can't watch too. :)

I can't say I'm a huge fan of the actual sex scenes in movies. I think the sexual tension is more appealing to me that the actual sex itself. Now if it's two men...*ahem* anyway. I think in movies today they throw it in for the hell of it thinking it's going to make it more of a seller. I think, like DL that when they do that the chemistry is off and the movie falls flat for me.

Great post!

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