The Golden Age of Porn

The 15 year period between 1969 – 1984 is now commonly referred to as the ‘Golden Age of Porn’ or ‘Porno Chic’. During this time pornographic films and images were displayed in cinema screens and received positive attention from the general public as well as movie critics and other agencies.

The release of the popular ‘Blue Movie’ which was written, directed and produced by Andy Warhol himself in 1969 was the first of its kind to go to mainstream cinema screens. There were mixed reviews on this type of film being shown in public places and in the 1970s it is reported that something called and ‘anti-obscenity’ laws were passed which outlined that participating in the creation, distribution or consumption of pornograpy constituted criminal action – in other words if you watched porn you were considered and thug and a criminal.

Fortunately the introduction of the home videocassette recorders in the 1980’s meant we could now indulge in watching ‘blue movies’ in the privacy of our own homes. These films were then made on low budgets and therefore this ended what was known as the ‘Golden Age’ in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Pornographic films were not featured again in the mainstream movie business until the takeover of the internet in the 1990’s

The three blue movies that were well known and often played in a block of 3 when shown as cinemas – Blue Movie, Deep THroat and The Devil in Miss Jones were the most popular pornographic films made during this period. They were actually the highest grossing movies in 1973!

Porno Chic is a five page spread in The New York Times Magazine 1973 and described the phenomenon of porn being publicly discussed by celebrities, and taken seriously by critics was nowe taking the globe by storm and was totally unexpected.

By the late 1990’s pornographic films were brought out on DVD which offered better quality of sound and image as well as interactive features such as alternative endings, camera angle & character selection as well as bonus features and interviews with the ‘stars’. In 1998 the Danish film company, Zentropa, became the globes first mainstream movie company to produce hardcore films openly. Constance (1998) was the first of its kind followed by Idioterne (1998) which received a nomination for a ‘Golden Palm’ in  Cannes as well as many other international awards. This film showed an erect penis, an orgy in the shower and full penetration. This started a wave of mainstream ‘arthouse’ films which left nothing to the imagination – I will let you fill in the gaps from there!

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