Christopher Hirst in The Independent

SEX AND FILM By Barry Forshaw (Palgrave Macmillan, £19.99)

Beginning in the Thirties, when the first glimpse of pubic thatch was granted by Hedy Lamarr in Ekstase (1933), this intriguing guide throws up revelations on a central aspect of film. Forshaw’s probing ranges from profiles of early femme fatales – Mae West, Dietrich, Garbo – to Russ Meyer, the breast-obsessed auteur of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, and ‘mainstream porn’ (The Private Afternoons Pamela Mann from 1974 is compared to Pinter). Forshaw’s intelligent appreciation is also a defence of a genre in decline: ‘Sex remains… a perfectly legitimate pursuit of the cinema.’

Christopher Hirst

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