The films that society has termed pornographic have been with us for over a century now, since the first flickering kinetoscopes stumbled into life in 1889. Yet beyond a handful of scholarly tracts, and a few glancing references in certain Hollywood histories, there is no modern history of the subject available.
Black and White and Blue fills that void. Taking as its cut-off point the late 1970s, when the advent of the home VCR irrevocably changed the face of the adult film industry, this book celebrates a world of anonymously masked women and curiously black-sock-clad men, whose movie immortality was attained in the time it took to exhaust a roll a film. There were no artificial breasts when the first stags were made, no tattooed and pierced members, and no concept of trick photography.
We revisit a time when dingy backstreet cinemas aired their wares beneath a "members only" sign, and a climate in which the police waited as patiently to bust the participants as audiences lined up to watched them, while "polite society" looked on in (often hypocritical) disgust, unable to believe that filth like this even existed.
With exclusive interviews, descriptions of over 300 films, and a conversational style, author Dave Thompson presents a book which is a complete and in depth survey of the adult film, from shaky, flickering black-and-white silents to the first flowering of the lavish modern-day production.
In the 1920s they were called stags, smokes, or blue movies; today it's adult films. But until now, apart from brief summaries in film histories and scholarly articles, there has been no complete history of the pornographic film industry. That gap is filled by this lively and insightful book that provides commentary on individual movies and traces the evolution of film styles and storylines through nearly a century of X-rated material. All the research for the book is based on viewings of the movies—many of the oldest are now archived on DVDs—and on interviews with living actors and producers. Tracing an arc from the masks and dim lighting of the earliest days to the realism and absence of trick photography in the 1920s and 1930s, the account then ponders the obsession with close-ups of body parts in later decades. The overview ends in the late 1970s, when the advent of home videos changed adult entertainment completely.