Tag Archives: 1960s

RIP Scott Walker (1943 – 2019)

Scott Walker was an American-born British singer-songwriter, composer and record producer.

First active with the band The Walker Brothers, Walker evolved from sappy and catchy recordings with an edge of sadness (“Make It Easy on Yourself“, 1965; and “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore)“, 1966) to more experimental work (Nite Flights, 1978).

He would continue this course of experimentation in his solo work, culminating with albums such as The Drift which was as scary as it was gentle, luckily not at the same time.

RIP Carolee Schneemann (1939 – 2019)

Carolee Schneemann was an American artist who flourished in the 1960s and 1970s with her “body art

Her best-known piece is Interior Scroll (1975), a performance in which she produced a scroll from her vagina while standing.

Her films include Fuses (1967) in which Schneemann and her then-boyfriend James Tenney are having sex, a reaction to Stan Brakhage’s Window Water Baby Moving (1959) which shows Brakhage’s wife giving birth.

Above are fragments of Fuses set to an educative narration made as a school or university assignment.

RIP Gillian Freeman (1929 – 2019)

Gillian Freeman was a British writer best known for her book The Undergrowth of Literature (1967), a pioneering study of pornography.

At first I thought I’d not pay her death any attention, since I do not own a copy of The Undergrowth of Literature, the reason I discovered Mrs. Freeman in the first place. But I changed my mind when I found out that the Hendrik Conscience Heritage Library had a copy of this book in its warehouses, so off I was.

Leafing through the book (200 pp.) one finds references to other studies of porn from that era but most of all one is struck by the female point of view. Mrs Freeman is one of the first porn researchers to put forward that female sexual fantasies can be found in women’s magazines:

“I have merely made a survey of current fantasy literature which overtly or covertly, supplies the stimulus which so many people need, from the romance of Woman’s Own to the sado-masochism of Man’s Story” — p. 1

As always the negative criticism is most amusing:

“[the book is] nothing more than a collection of quotes, précis, paraphrases and photographs from current pornographic publications and glossy magazines … there is no love like the liberal prig‘s love for perverts and perversions”. –Stephen Vizinczey,The Times, 4 November 1967

Since Undergrowth is not in Google Books, I thought I’d give you the index. This may be useful to the aspiring pornosopher  although apart from its focus on herstory it does not come near the qualities of Sex in History (1954) and Eros Denied (1964).


Gillian Freeman also wrote the thought sequences dialogue for The Girl on a Motorcycle (1968).

I wonder who is inheriting Mrs. Freeman’s library.

RIP Stanley Donen (1924 – 2019)

Stanley Donen (1924 – 2019) was an American film director and choreographer best-known for Singin’ in the Rain (1952).

We remember him fondly for directing Bedazzled, an updated version of the Faust legend set in 1967.

Dudley Moore plays a lonely young man whose unrequited love of his co-worker drives him to attempt suicide. Just then the devil (Peter Cook) appears and offers him seven wishes in exchange for his soul.

The film’s fun-loving association with the Swinging London of the 1960s is smart and well-executed.

Love it.

RIP Ken Nordine (1920 – 2019)

From Word Jazz (1957)

Ken Nordine (1920 – 2019) was an American voice artist, best known for his series of spoken word jazz poetry albums, the first of which was Word Jazz (1957).

A Passion in the Desert” (1955)

He also recorded a version of Balzac’s risque story “A Passion in the Desert” (1955).

“War is good business – invest your son.”

GET UP, STAND UP![1] is the title of a wonderful exhibition held at the Millennium Iconoclast Museum of Art in Brussels, featuring numerous posters of the 1968-1973 civil protests across the West.

A sampling:

       

“Gone with the Wind, the film to end all films”, showing Reagan and Thatcher, a criticism of the atomic bomb.

“War is good business – invest your son”, a criticism of war.

“Milk in such containers may be unfit for human consumption”, a criticism of DDT.

“The age of nations is past, the task before us now, if we would not perish, is to build the earth.” —Teilhard de Chardin, a criticism of nationalism.

A Roland Topor graphic on censorship used by Scanlan’s, criticism of Nixon.

A poster mentioning the “Chicago Seven trialG. Harold CarswellThe Cattonsville 9Jackson StateInvasion of CambodiaKent StateMy Lai MassacreAlaskan pipelineITT scandalWatergate Caper, 20,000 Americans dead, ? Asians dead, 26,000,000 bombs, General LavalleWheat ScandalUnemployment.”

Histoires d’A, On ne mendie pas un juste droit, on se bat pour lui (W. Reich), criticism of anticonception.

“Jesus was an only child”, criticism of anticonception. Correction: Jesus was apparently not an only child, he had brothers.

No American movie has ever found it “necessary” to show a toilet, let alone to flush it

I viewed the film Hitchcock last night. It features Geoffrey Shurlock as the censor of the Motion Picture Production Code, who says with regards to the production of the film Psycho:

“no American movie has ever found it “necessary” to show a toilet, let alone to flush it.”

Some thoughts:

I never knew that the American censor was involved during pre-production, i.e. before the shooting of the film.

It appears that the introduction of sound film coincides with the drafting of the Production Code. Did sound pose a threat more than imagery? Or was it the combination of sound and image that finally saw film evolving from a mere sideshow attraction to a genuine and ‘real’ mode of fiction consumption?

I remember a scene in Duck Soup where the Marx Brothers poke fun at the Production Code by showing a woman’s bedroom and then showing a woman’s shoes on the floor, a man’s shoes and horseshoes. Harpo is sleeping in the bed with a horse; the woman is in the twin bed next to them.

I remember extensive coverage of PsychoHitchcockianness and toilets in Enjoy Your Symptom! and The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema, both by Slavoj Žižek.

Above: “The Murder” by Bernard Herrmann used in the shower scene. “The Murder” is World Music Classic # 811.