This essay focuses on the brief moment in early seventies filmmaking when the porn industry made narrative-based films such as Deep Throat (1972) and Behind the Green Door (1972). This attempt to fuse porn with mainstream culture has come back into vogue in the present, when we see a new legitimization of porn. One might say that recent representations of sex on the screen have attempted to go back to the early seventies to restart a trajectory that was never able to complete itself. The essay begins with a consideration of the origins of porn films in nineteenth-century European art before moving on to the discussion of the seventies porn films and the complex way in which European art cinema influenced mainstream porn. Related to this topic are how cultural differences within countries influence the approach to sex that is expressed on the screen. In the US, the seventies full-length porn films legitimized certain sexual acts for their audiences and centered some of the pleasure on the screen on female desire as a way to expand the audience for porn. The essay concludes with a coda on the gay male cinematic equivalents of straight seventies porn films.
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