When the British Board of Film Censors (as was) agreed to pass a serious documentary about naturism in the mid-1950s, this gave an immediate green light to numerous similar “documentaries’ by shamelessly opportunist producers who took care to adhere to BBFC guidelines (“Breasts and buttocks, but not genitalia [would be accepted] provided that the setting was recognisable as a nudist camp or nature reserve”). Lawrence creations bookended the 1960s: the obscenity trial of Lady Chatterley’s Lover in 1963 (the year in which Philip Larkin alleged that sexual intercourse began) and the international hit that Ken Russell made of Women in Love, thanks not least to one of the most notorious scenes in all British cinema, in which Alan Bates and Oliver Reed engage in full-frontally naked wrestling on a rug in front of an open fire to underscore their characters’ latent homoeroticism.This effort by photographer-turned-filmmaker George Harrison Marks came relatively late in the cycle, but retains a fond following thanks to its catchy title and a genuinely charming performance by model-turned-actor Pamela Green. But there was also a powerful sensuality emanating from Glenda Jackson’s Oscar-winning performance as the wayward Gudrun.Or indeed by the effect that it had on its audience?After all, it’s arguable that the appeal of 1940s Gainsborough melodramas was far more genuinely erotic than that of the inexplicably long-running Come Play with Me (1977) and its fusion of ancient music-hall routines with only very mildly titillating nudity.When Peter Strickland was asked about his influences on The Duke of Burgundy, he unsurprisingly trotted out a parade of what used to be called “continental” filmmakers: Walerian Borowczyk, Tinto Brass, Luis Buñuel, Claude Chabrol, Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Jesús Franco. Yes, the 1980s sitcom Terry and June, although decidedly not for its (nonexistent) erotic content.
Nicolas Roeg has consistently demonstrated one of the most powerfully erotic imaginations in all British cinema: Performance, Walkabout (both 1970), “Don’t Look Now” (1973) and The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) all provide ample evidence, as does the more recent Puffball (2006), with its show-stopping glimpse inside the protagonist’s vagina at the moment of orgasm.There were, however, dissenting voices, with @Steve Hills among them…Mommy Tapes is craziest family British sex tube on the net that involve thousands and thousands of incredible daddy sex movies that feature the most sizzling hot mom and dad hardcore action that you will ever get your hands on.Lots of interesting additions came in this week, with the Hanif Kureishi-scripted gay love story My Beautiful Laundrette topping the votes.With the cheeky antics of Carry On Camping, the boundary-pushing explicitness of 9 Songs, and Black Narcissus’s nuns in the Himalayas all vying for space in the top 10 this week, it goes to show that the erotic British film comes in many different forms.