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Behind the Green Door

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Artie Mitchell & Jim Mitchell
Produced by Jim Mitchell
Written by Anonymous (original story), Jim Mitchell (screen adaptation)
Starring Marilyn Chambers
Music by Daniel Le Blanc
Cinematography Jon Fontana
Editing by Jon Fontana
Distributed by Mitchell Brothers Pictures
Release date(s) December 17, 1972
Running time 72 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Followed by Behind the Green Door: the Sequel

Behind the Green Door was a 1972 theatrically-released feature-length pornographic film, which is widely considered to be a "classic".[1][2][3][4] It was the first hardcore pornographic film widely released in the United States. It was the first feature-length film directed by the Mitchell brothers and starred Marilyn Chambers.[5] It was adapted from an anonymous short story of the same title, which was circulated by means of numerous carbon copies. The story's title makes reference to the 1956 hit song "The Green Door." The film was given an X-rating by the MPAA.[6]

Contents

Plot

Chambers plays the role of Gloria.[7] The story begins in a cafe, where a cook asks two truck drivers to tell the story of the green door.[7] Chambers is then shown being kidnapped and taken to a sex theater, where she is placed on a stage and forced to perform various sexual acts with multiple partners in front of a masked audience.[2] The Mitchell brothers appear in the film as her kidnappers. First she is fondled by several women wearing robes.[2] Her first heterosexual scene in the film is with the boxer Johnny Keyes, accompanied by a jazz soundtrack.[7][8] This possibly makes BTGD the first U.S. feature-length hardcore film to include an interracial sex scene.[2] Following this Chambers has sex with several other men.[9] The watching audience become aroused and begin having sex with each other.[10] In a psychedelic key sequence, an ejaculation on Chambers' face is shown with semen flying through the air for seven minutes. The film features several multicolored, optically printed, slow-motion close-ups of money shots.[7] Next the truck driver-narrator runs onto the stage and carries Chambers off through the green door.[7] The film ends with him and Chambers making love alone.[7]

Impact

Along with Deep Throat, released the same year, the movie launched the "porno chic" boom[6] and started what is now referred to as the "Golden Age of Porn."[1] Along with Deep Throat it was the first hardcore porn film to reach a mass mixed-sex audience.[7] Prior to BTGD most of the Mitchell Brothers 200 or so films had only been shown in their O'Farrell Theater.[11] Made with a budget of $60,000, it achieved a nationwide theatrical release which earned over $1 million.[1][6] The movie ultimately grossed over $25 million[12] including its video release, which was controlled exclusively by the Mitchells out of their headquarters in the O'Farrell Theatre, San Francisco). It was one of the biggest box office successes of the 1970s, alongside Deep Throat and The Devil in Miss Jones,[6] and was even screened at the Cannes Film Festival.[5] After its release criminals used extortion in an attempt to obtain the rights to the film.[13]

Marilyn Chambers

Chambers was relatively unknown at the time, however the film made her a star.[13][14] Immediately prior to the movie's release she was the 'ivory soap girl',[14] having modeled for the Ivory Snow soap and detergent packaging holding a baby.[5][13][14][15] The brand was sold under the slogan "99 and 44/100's % pure."[5][7] The Mitchell brothers saw a publicity opportunity, and distributed press releases describing Chambers with the same slogan.[5] After the release of the movie the advertising industry was scandalized,[7] and Procter & Gamble recalled all Ivory Snow products and advertising materials featuring her, unintentionally adding to the movie's hype. The fact that Chambers image was so well known from Ivory Snow boosted the film's ticket sales, and lead to several jokes on television talk shows.[15] Critics have since debated whether she was really having orgasms in her scenes or just acting.[14]

Critical reception

Upon its release the film received positive reviews in mainstream media.[13] According to Peter Michelson there is, "a relatively small corpus of pornographic films - e.g., Deep Throat, The Devil in Miss Jones, and Behind the Green Door - that have a minimal but still sufficient artistic interest to distinguish themselves from the rest of the genre",[16] and the film is "more artful than most smut films".[17] It was the second film to be inducted into the XRCO Hall of Fame, following Deep Throat.[18]

Sequel

In 1986, the Mitchells made a sequel to this film, Behind the Green Door: the Sequel, directed by cabaret singer Sharon McNight. The movie featured no famous performers and starred a plump young woman who billed herself as Missy (she was Artie Mitchell's girlfriend at the time and reportedly demanded to be given the role). It was the first safe-sex themed porn film, produced as a response the 1980s AIDS outbreak in San Francisco.[5] in which all the performers used condoms, birth control, and other protective paraphernalia,[19] was a critical and commercial disaster and cost the Mitchells hundreds of thousands of dollars.[20][21]

The O'Farrell Theatre contains a "Green Door Room" which is named for the two movies and was the principal set of the sequel.

In popular culture

  • Footage from the film is seen in the movie Cannonball Run, when Jackie Chan's character watches it in his high-tech car, almost leading to an accident.
  • The production of the movie is dramatized in the movie Rated X starring the brothers Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez as Artie and Jim Mitchell.[5]
  • Appears in Californication episode 3.07

Notes

  1. ^ a b c Williams, p.320
  2. ^ a b c d Williams, p.299
  3. ^ Shteir, Rachel (2004). Striptease: the untold history of the girlie show. Oxford University Press. p. 332. ISBN 0195127501. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=vPwVfOUWAe0C.  
  4. ^ Langford, Barry (2005). Film genre: Hollywood and beyond. Edinburgh University Press. p. 269. ISBN 0748619038. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=tFyANhgDs2sC.  
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Helene Goupil, Josh Krist (2005). San Francisco: The Unknown City. Arsenal Pulp Press. pp. 238–241. ISBN 1551521881. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=pXAsU1sQG1AC&source=gbs_navlinks_s.  
  6. ^ a b c d Pennington, Jody W. (2007). The history of sex in American film. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 56. ISBN 0275992268. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=OfAKgZ68a9AC&source=gbs_navlinks_s.  
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i Williams, Linda (1999). Hard core: power, pleasure, and the "frenzy of the visible". University of California Press. p. 156–158. ISBN 0520219430. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=3wAe48_yfNUC.  
  8. ^ Williams, p.300
  9. ^ Williams, p.173
  10. ^ Creed, Barbara (2003). Media matrix: sexing the new reality. Allen & Unwin. p. 63. ISBN 1865089265. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=HhMBgOzMUpQC&source=gbs_navlinks_s.  
  11. ^ Williams, p.380
  12. ^ Porn King Jim Mitchell Walks Out of Prison Today. San Francisco Chronicle, 3 October 1997
  13. ^ a b c d Robert J. Kelly, Ko-lin Chin, Rufus Schatzberg (1994). Handbook of organized crime in the United States. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 301–302. ISBN 0313283664. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=CWg1Efv5C5UC.  
  14. ^ a b c d Falk, Pasi (1994). The consuming body. SAGE. p. 201. ISBN 0803989741. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Yo2Sz_9rjkQC.  
  15. ^ a b David Smith Allyn (2001). Make love, not war: the sexual revolution, an unfettered history. Taylor & Francis. p. 235. ISBN 0415929423. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=NE9lfn0FBHUC&source=gbs_navlinks_s.  
  16. ^ Michelson, p.235
  17. ^ Michelson, p.239
  18. ^ [1]
  19. ^ [2]
  20. ^ Mitchell Brothers - Rotten.com
  21. ^ Missy Manners - imdb.com

References

External links


Behind the Green Door
Directed by Artie Mitchell &
Jim Mitchell
Produced by Artie Mitchell
Written by Anonymous (original story), Artie Mitchell (screen adaptation)
Starring Marilyn Chambers
Music by Daniel Le Blanc
Cinematography Jon Fontana
Editing by Jon Fontana
Distributed by Mitchell Brothers Film Group
Release date(s) December 17, 1972
Running time 72 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Followed by Behind the Green Door: the Sequel

Behind the Green Door was a 1972 feature-length pornographic film, widely considered a "classic."[1][2][3][4] It was the first hardcore film widely released in the United States. It was the first feature-length film directed by the Mitchell brothers and starred Marilyn Chambers.[5] It was adapted from an anonymous short story of the same title, which was circulated by means of numerous carbon copies. The story's title makes reference to the 1956 hit song "The Green Door." The film was given an X-rating by the MPAA.[6]

Contents

Plot

Chambers plays the role of Gloria.[7] The story begins in a cafe, where a cook asks two truck drivers to tell the story of the green door.[7] Chambers is then shown being kidnapped and taken to a sex theater, where she is placed on a stage and forced to perform various sexual acts with multiple partners in front of a masked audience.[2] The Mitchell brothers appear in the film as her kidnappers. First she is fondled by several women wearing robes.[2] Her first heterosexual scene in the film is with the boxer Johnny Keyes, accompanied by a jazz soundtrack.[7][8] This possibly makes Behind the Green Door the first U.S. feature-length hardcore film to include an interracial sex scene.[2] Following this Chambers has sex with several other men.[9] The watching audience become aroused and begin having sex with each other.[10] In a psychedelic key sequence, an ejaculation on Chambers' face is shown with semen flying through the air for seven minutes. The film features several multicolored, optically printed, slow-motion close-ups of money shots.[7] Next the truck driver-narrator runs onto the stage and carries Chambers off through the green door.[7] The film ends with him and Chambers making love alone.[7]

Impact

Along with Deep Throat, released the same year, the movie launched the "porno chic" boom[6] and started what is now referred to as the "Golden Age of Porn."[1] Along with Deep Throat it was the first hardcore porn film to reach a mass mixed-sex audience.[7] Prior to Behind the Green Door, most of the Mitchell Brothers' 200 or so films had only been shown in their O'Farrell Theater.[11] Made with a budget of $60,000, it achieved a nationwide theatrical release which earned over $1 million.[1][6] The movie ultimately grossed over $25 million[12] including its video release, which was controlled exclusively by the Mitchells out of their headquarters in the O'Farrell Theatre, San Francisco. It was one of the biggest box office successes of the 1970s, alongside Deep Throat and The Devil in Miss Jones,[6] and was even screened at the Cannes Film Festival.[5] After its release criminals used extortion in an attempt to obtain the rights to the film.[13]

Marilyn Chambers

Chambers was relatively unknown at the time; however, the film made her a star.[13][14] Immediately prior to the movie's release she was the "ivory soap girl",[14] having modeled for the Ivory Snow soap and detergent packaging holding a baby.[5][13][14][15] The brand was sold under the slogan "99 and 44/100's % pure."[5][7] The Mitchell brothers saw a publicity opportunity, and distributed press releases describing Chambers with the same slogan.[5] After the release of the movie, the advertising industry was scandalized,[7] and Procter & Gamble recalled all Ivory Snow products and advertising materials featuring her, unintentionally adding to the movie's hype. The fact that Chambers image was so well known from Ivory Snow boosted the film's ticket sales, and led to several jokes on television talk shows.[15] Critics have since debated whether she was really having orgasms in her scenes or just acting.[14]

Critical reception

Upon its release the film received positive reviews in mainstream media.[13] According to Peter Michelson there is, "a relatively small corpus of pornographic films – e.g., Deep Throat, The Devil in Miss Jones, and Behind the Green Door – that have a minimal but still sufficient artistic interest to distinguish themselves from the rest of the genre",[16] and the film is "more artful than most smut films".[17] It was the second film to be inducted into the XRCO Hall of Fame, following Deep Throat.[18]

Sequel

In 1986, the Mitchells made a sequel to this film, Behind the Green Door: the Sequel, directed by cabaret singer Sharon McNight. The movie featured no famous performers, and starred a plump young woman who billed herself as Missy (she was Artie Mitchell's girlfriend at the time and reportedly demanded the role). It was the first safe-sex themed porn film (produced as a response to the 1980s AIDS outbreak in San Francisco.[5]) in which all the performers used condoms, birth control, and other protective paraphernalia,[19]. It was a critical and commercial disaster and cost the Mitchells hundreds of thousands of dollars.[20][21] The O'Farrell Theatre contains a "Green Door Room" which is named for the two movies and was the principal set of the sequel.

In popular culture

Notes

  1. ^ a b c Williams, p. 320
  2. ^ a b c d Williams, p. 299
  3. ^ Shteir, Rachel (2004). Striptease: the untold history of the girlie show. Oxford University Press. p. 332. ISBN 0195127501. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=vPwVfOUWAe0C. 
  4. ^ Langford, Barry (2005). Film genre: Hollywood and beyond. Edinburgh University Press. p. 269. ISBN 0748619038. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=tFyANhgDs2sC. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Helene Goupil, Josh Krist (2005). San Francisco: The Unknown City. Arsenal Pulp Press. pp. 238–241. ISBN 1551521881. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=pXAsU1sQG1AC&source=gbs_navlinks_s. 
  6. ^ a b c d Pennington, Jody W. (2007). The history of sex in American film. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 56. ISBN 0275992268. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=OfAKgZ68a9AC&source=gbs_navlinks_s. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i Williams, Linda (1999). Hard core: power, pleasure, and the "frenzy of the visible". University of California Press. pp. 156–158. ISBN 0520219430. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=3wAe48_yfNUC. 
  8. ^ Williams, p. 300
  9. ^ Williams, p. 173
  10. ^ Creed, Barbara (2003). Media matrix: sexing the new reality. Allen & Unwin. p. 63. ISBN 1865089265. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=HhMBgOzMUpQC&source=gbs_navlinks_s. 
  11. ^ Williams, p. 380
  12. ^ Porn King Jim Mitchell Walks Out of Prison Today. San Francisco Chronicle, 3 October 1997
  13. ^ a b c d Robert J. Kelly, Ko-lin Chin, Rufus Schatzberg (1994). Handbook of organized crime in the United States. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 301–302. ISBN 0313283664. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=CWg1Efv5C5UC. 
  14. ^ a b c d Falk, Pasi (1994). The consuming body. SAGE. p. 201. ISBN 0803989741. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Yo2Sz_9rjkQC. 
  15. ^ a b David Smith Allyn (2001). Make love, not war: the sexual revolution, an unfettered history. Taylor & Francis. p. 235. ISBN 0415929423. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=NE9lfn0FBHUC&source=gbs_navlinks_s. 
  16. ^ Michelson, p. 235
  17. ^ Michelson, p. 239
  18. ^ Hall of Fame, X-Rated Critics Organization
  19. ^ History, Mitchell Brothers O'Farrell Theatre
  20. ^ Mitchell Brothers – Rotten.com
  21. ^ Missy Manners – IMDb.com

References

External links








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