The Pleasure Principle
From Victorian voyeurism to Soho striptease: how a hidden film industry emerged to satisfy the sexual appetites of (male) viewers.
Sex and cinema have been bawdy bedfellows almost since the first flickering frames hit a screen. As early as 1896, saucy shorts were already being cranked out to titillate voyeuristic - and invariably male - Victorian viewers. Time and tastes have moved on, and taboos have been swept away, but sex remained a constant preoccupation, and filmmakers continued to explore, enact and exploit our deepest, darkest desires - often attracting the attention of the censor in the process. This highly-combustible collection revisits and contextualises these sometimes scandalous, oft-disreputable films, incorporating 'mondo'-style exposés of Soho striptease, voyeuristic studies of British nudists and tragic tales of good girls gone bad - and much more besides.
Strip! Strip! Hooray!!! Or (Fun with the Sunbathers)Strip! Strip! Hooray!!! Or (Fun with the Sunbathers)
Comedy193235 minsDirector: Norman Lee
Stuffed-shirt party pooper Sir Hector infiltrates a sunbathing camp full of scantily clad jazz-swingers in this 1930s comedy
19587 minsSilentDirector: John Rhodes
Intrepid investigative journalist Daniel Farson ventures deep into the heart of Soho to explore the hidden world of afternoon Striptease Clubs.
Documentary196587 minsDirector: Arnold Louis Miller
Arnold Louis Miller's follow-up to London in the Raw lifts the lid on society’s decay with its sideshow spectacle of 60s London depravity.
Documentary196447 minsDirector: Arnold Louis Miller
Low-budget movie mogul Arnold Louis Miller concocted this exploitation-style documentary which peers behind the grimy net curtains of British life.
Drama197736 minsDirector: Dennis London and David Grant
Aye aye, Captain! Sex comedy hijinks on the Thames near Twickenham in this forgotten saga of a switched-on snapper
Drama197090 minsDirector: Lindsay Shonteff
When Suzy arrives in London to visit an old school friend, she is unwittingly plunged into the ruthless world of the ‘groupie’.
Drama196377 minsDirector: Gerry O'Hara
A cautionary tale about VD and the dangers of free-love set against a backdrop of smoky jazz clubs and evocative London locations.
Crime196868 minsDirector: Pete Walker
Tough gangster film directed by British exploitation stalwart Pete Walker in which a man-about-town is implicated in the murder of a blonde
Crime195890 minsDirector: Alvin Rakoff
Diana Dors plays a sex worker with Herbert Lom as her sleazy pimp in this fierce and fiery thriller of 1950s prostitution on the London streets.
Period drama193593 minsDirector: Paul L. Stein
Paul L. Stein’s period romance tells the story of a composer (Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.) whose relationship with a woman (Gertrude Lawrence) inspires his success.
Drama197690 minsDirector: Stewart Mackinnon
Stewart Mackinnon’s avant-garde adaptation of Marquis de Sade’s infamous erotic novel has been near impossible to see since 1976.
Drama1928127 minsSilentDirector: E.A. Dupont
E. A Dupont’s (Piccadlly, Variete) tale of intrigue amid the famous dance-halls of Paris was one of the most lavish British films of the silent era.