The History of Sex in American Film

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007 - Performing Arts - 216 pages
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In March of 1965 the Supreme Court put into motion legal changes that marked the end of local film censorship as it had existed since the early years of the twentieth century. In Hollywood that same year, The Pawnbroker was released with a Production Code Seal of Approval, despite nudity that violated that Code. As sexual liberation occurred onscreen, parallel developments occurred in the way we lived our lives, and by the end of the 1960s Americans were having sex more often, and with more partners, than ever before. There was also now a public debate surrounding sexuality, and one of the loudest and most continually active voices in this debate was that of American film. This work begins with an examination of some of the earliest altercations in what later came to be known as "the culture wars," and follows those skirmishes, more often than not provoked by American film, up to the modern day. By looking at how sex in the cinema has contributed to the demise of the fragile consensus between liberals and conservatives on freedom of expression, The History of Sex in American Film suggests a perspective from which today's culture wars can be better understood. This work combines close readings of many representative films-including Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Graduate, Blue Velvet, Philadelphia, L.A. Confidential, and Closer-with a social and historical account of the most significant changes in American sexual behavior and sexual representation over the past fifty years. --Publisher.
  

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Contents

Codes and Laws
1
2 Shifting Boundaries
17
3 Inside Out
39
4 Everybodys Doing ItArent They?
63
5 To Have or Not to Have Sex
87
6 Puritanical Past in a Pornographic Light
109
7 From the Closet to the Screen
129
8 Mainstream Adultery
151
9 Children in the Dark
173
Conclusion
191
Notes
193
Bibliography
203
Index
211
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Jody W. Pennington is Associate Professor in Media and Culture Studies in the Department of English, University of Aarhus, Denmark.

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