Rentals

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.

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ShowmanShowman

Biopic197025 minsDirector: Christian Marnham

Astonishing 1970s striptease knife-throwing act with the last of the Wild West showmen, Wally Shufflebottom Snr

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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

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Soho Striptease ClubsSoho Striptease Clubs

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.

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Secret RitesSecret Rites

Documentary197147 minsDirector: Derek Ford

'King of the Witches' Alex Sanders initiates doe-eyed Penny into the ways of his coven.

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Primitive LondonPrimitive London

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.

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London in the RawLondon in the Raw

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.

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Over ExposedOver Exposed

Drama197736 minsDirector: Dennis London

Aye aye, Captain! Sex comedy hijinks on the Thames near Twickenham in this forgotten saga of a switched-on snapper

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PermissivePermissive

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’.

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Her Private HellHer Private Hell

Drama196780 minsDirector: Norman J. Warren

The cautionary tale of an innocent girl abroad who gets caught up in the sleazy world of modelling.

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That Kind of GirlThat Kind of Girl

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.

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The Big Switch (Strip Poker)The Big Switch (Strip Poker)

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

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Passport to ShamePassport to Shame

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.

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From Stags to StardustFrom Stags to Stardust

Documentary197743 minsDirector: James C. Katz

Splendid 1970s striptease documentary starring Ivor Dickier, one-time Mr England runner-up

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MimiMimi

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.

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JustineJustine

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.

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Maisie's MarriageMaisie's Marriage

Drama192396 minsSilentDirector: Alexander Butler

Family Planning: The Movie. The film they didn't want you to see in 1923.

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The LoverThe Lover

Drama196356 minsDirector: Joan Kemp-Welch

Tainted love: infidelity, eroticism and cruelty drive Harold Pinter's complex and provocative early TV drama

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Moulin RougeMoulin Rouge

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.

More Pleasure Principle films in our Free collection.

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More related films in our Rentals collection, Sex.

More related films in the Rentals collection, Other Grooves.