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June 14th, 2010

Erotica, sexploitation, pornography all find their way into the film archives and the HFA’s collection  is no exception.  Not everyone talks about these often secret collections, a censoring silence which can stymie researchers.

Kid Gallahad (Wayne Morris) Screen Guide, 1937

Almost any collection of film contains something a bit naughty.  Pornographic films were, after all,  invented almost as soon as motion picture film was invented.

While processing a recent collection procured by the Harvard Film Archive, I kept wondering where the dirty little secrets were.  Finally I found them: some 16mm 1920s nudie films, possibly the least offensive items I could have imagined,  many of which have opening titles which read:  “A producer’s note: this picture is solely for the development of graphic arts, an aid to sculptors, artists & designers who may not have a living model.”

The majority of the HFA’s erotic films are from the Grove Press Collection,  but there are a few others that turn up here and there, and include everything from silent nudies to stag films to softcore and hardcore pornography.  Many of the pornographic  films from the Grove Press Collection have been shown in the HFA’s Cinematheque.

Most recently I have noted some ephemeral material that is best categorized as Sexploitation in the Lothar and Eva Just Film StillsCollection (shown below).

Die Vergnügungsspalte (Tony Barinda, 1971) poster

Liebe in 3 Dimensionen AKA Love in 3-D (Walter Boos, 1973) Lobby Card

Liebe in 3 Dimensionen AKA Love in 3-D (Walter Boos, 1973) Lobby Card

Charlys Nichten (Walter Boos, 1974) Lobby Card

One Response to “Erotica”

  1. On Finding Aid, or A Year of Iffy Blogging | Finding Aid said:

    […] with erotica in their collections. Harvard Film Archive has some (and they’re discussed in a post on HFA’s old blog), as does the wonderful Chicago Film […]