Friday, July 27, 2007

Strange bedfellows

One of the most baffling practices of Swedish cinema exhibition in the 1970's was to pair up hardcore pornography with what would today be considered typical matine fare, such as silent comedy shorts. The canonical example is the one-sheet for Deep Throat which promises not only "The film that shocked USA - The world's most explicit sex film" but also "Laurel and Hardy in Liberty - perhaps their funniest!"

What were they thinking??? To put on a show for the whole family? Or that depictions of one kind of physical activity on film are as good as another? It is clear that it was not an isolated event; the insert poster for The Devil in Miss Jones features not only critical accolades (and even a complete review!) from major Swedish newspapers, it also promises "and... Charlie Chaplin!"

Maybe the exhibitors finally discovered that this kind of catch-all approach didn't quite work, because a few years later we find a slightly more sensible pairing: the 1975 "orgy of sex" The Wetter the Better matched with a heavy-weight boxing match featuring George Foreman! The local exhibitor has helpfully added a clarification: "Saga cinema shows: Boxing + PORN"!

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