Dave Thompson,
Black & White & Blue:
Adult Cinema from the Victorian Age to the VCR

(ECW, 2007)

Black & White & Blue: Adult Cinema from the Victorian Age to the VCR, Dave Thompson's history of the stag film, discusses the industry from the black-and-white silent era to the advent of the VCR in the 1970s. In a series of chronological chapters, he takes a scholarly look at an industry for which there is little mainstream archive or history. Many of the early films have disintegrated into vinegary-smelling dust, and the official records are few.

Before the age of adult movie theaters, reels were carried by traveling entrepreneurs who showed them in clubs, at bachelor parties and in fraternity houses. Ends of the filmstrips would wear, so with time, two or more fragments of different movies would be spliced together. Plots were paper thin -- who'd want to waste precious filmstock on plot? Traveling had an added bonus because the entrepreneurs were meeting new dancers, wannabe actresses and even adventurous husband/wife pairs willing to help film new material.

When the films moved into adult movie houses, patrons had to leave the safety of their homes to sneak down dirty alleys to watch movies away from proper society. With the advent of the VCR in the 1970s, adult film could again be viewed in private.

Thompson's book looks at both American and world cinema, and includes a 28-page filmography.

review by
Jessica Lux-Baumann

16 February 2008

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