Sex at 24 Frames per Second (2002) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

This film is basically a compressed documentary history of sex in the cinema by era, produced by Playboy Magazine, featuring interviews with Hef and many others. It focuses on films that were shown in the United States.

Some of you may not know that there was some nudity in talkies shown in America in the early 1930s, specifically from 1932 to 34. There were the notorious Fay Wray scenes in King Kong (1933), Claudette Colbert's breasts in The Sign of the Cross (1932), Myrna Loy's bath in The Barbarian (1933), full frontal and rear underwater nudity from Maureen O'Sullivan's body double in Tarzan and his Mate (1934), and Hedy Lamarr's frontal nude scenes and breast close-ups in the Czech-made Ecstasy (1932). That was a brief period of leftover 1920s hedonism, which ended abruptly because of two historical forces which aligned in 1934:

1. The Catholic Legion of Decency was formed.

2. The movie industry started to enforce the puritanical, self-policing Hays Code. (The code had been adopted in 1930, but was not treated as dogmatic until the Legion forced the issue.)


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The Code and the Legion came to dominate the content of filmed entertainment for decades, and dealt a double death-blow to nudity in American films for three decades, lasting from 1935 until 1966, when the first version of the current MPAA rating system replaced the Hays Code.

It is very difficult to find any nudity in mainstream American films made from 1935-1966, although some exceptions were starting to creep in by the early 60s:

  • One notable exception was 1964's The Pawnbroker, which was condemned by the Legion of Decency despite its high quality (an Oscar nomination), its very serious dramatic themes (the effects of the holocaust upon survivors), and the fact that the nudity was absolutely essential to the development of the story. (The pawnbroker sees a naked prostitute and this stirs memories of his naked wife in a WW2 concentration camp. If we didn't see the nudity with our own eyes, we would not be able to see the connection he sees, or feel what he feels.)

DVD info from Amazon

  • full-frame

  • no extras except a special on life at the Playboy Mansion

  • Elizabeth Taylor also showed her bum very briefly in 1963's Cleopatra. This time the nudity was completely gratuitous and was only there to sell tickets, but this time the Legion gave it a B - "objectionable", rather than the dreaded C - "condemned"!
  • There was substantial nude footage shot for Marilyn Monroe's 1962 film, Something's Got to Give, but Marilyn died that August, and the film was never finished.

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