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A stag film is a term used for pornographic films. Before pornographic films were available on VCR, they were shown at "gentlemen's private functions" such as stag parties and in brothels. The literal meaning of the term stag is a male of various deer, its extended use is for a male unaccompanied by a woman. [Jul 2006]
What is a stag?
--American Heritage Dictionary
- The adult male of various deer, especially the red deer.
- An animal, especially a pig, castrated after reaching sexual maturity.
- A person who attends a social gathering unaccompanied by a partner, especially a man who is unaccompanied by a woman.
- A social gathering for men only.
Stag parties and stag films1. Stag party: Of or for men only: a stag party. 2. Stag film: Pornographic: stag films.
Stag film: pre-world war IIAlmost all pre-World War II pornographic films were shot on 16mm film on single reels that ran 10-12 minutes. Single reels could be hidden more easily than multiple canisters. The forms of the stag genre were fixed by the mid 1920s and endured through the 1950s. "Stag productions generally aimed at an ineptitude that reinforced the genre's illict reputation and served as an index of its "authenticity." Cameras intruded into frames, stagehands visibly adjusted lights, and performers clearly asked for direction or smirked directly into the lens; the glitches were left in the footage, as a way of underscoring that real sex was taking place between real people." (Slade, Journal of Film and Video 45.2-3)
D'un certain cinéma clandestinThe figures on the number of stag films are understandably not as reliable as one would want. At this point I am relying on the fact that the few researchers on the stag film are all using approximately the same figures, which are based on Ado Kyrou's "D'un certain cinéma clandestin," Positif no. 61-62-63 (June-July-August 1964), 205-23 via http://www.sidestreet.org/sitestreet_summer2002/crackwhack/crackwhack2.html [Nov 2005]
The Nun, The Casting Couch
"Best known in the 1920s was The Casting Couch," writes Jim Holliday. "The hottest of the 1930s are The Modern Magician and The Aviator, which features an inspired lead female. The best post-World War II stag was also the hottest. Known as The Nun…this classic features an unbelievable portrait of sexual intensity by the unknown female… Best French stags of the post-WWII era are The Woman in the Portrait and Family Spirit. Color came in the early 1960s, but did not get good until the end of the decade." -- Jim Holliday via http://www.tranquileye.com/historyofporn/early_porn.html (2004)
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0391058/ [Mar 2005]
Love Scenes for Loving Couples (1987) - Jim Holliday
Plot Outline: A compilation of clips from adult films of the '70s and early '80s, hosted by film historian Jim Holliday and adult film actress Kimberly Carson. --http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0242617/combined [Mar 2005]
‘Stag’ films, ‘smokers’, ‘beaver loops’ and ‘blue movies’Let there be no confusion - explicit depictions of sex on film have existed since the invention of the movie camera. Call them ‘stag’ films, ‘smokers’ (named after the clubs in which they were shown), ‘beaver loops’ or whatever you like. They were the filmic equivalent of the old-fashioned dirty postcard. And just as illegal.
‘Stags’ were usually the length of the formulaic sex act itself, between five and ten minutes long. A brief excuse to engage in coupling - randy housewife opens door to traveling salesman, country lass comes across rampant farmhand behind haystack - quickly followed with the act itself, culminating with the ‘cum’ or ‘money’ shot. The end. These one-reelers could only be seen in secret men’s clubs across America, or by ordering from discreet advertisements in ‘glamour’ magazines. They were spoken about in hushed tones in male company but rarely seen, if at all. The social stigma of attending a stag film would prove too much for many a moral-minded member of the community. Until the 60s, that is. Russ Meyer’s 1968 soft-core opus Vixen broke box-office records for a sex film due to the number of couples in attendance. Meyer’s titular heroine (Erika Gavin) played such a commanding role, a marked contrast to most stock 60s submissive fare. "See why 6 million women have seen Vixen" may be A-grade Meyer ballyhoo, but it was the birth of couples’ porn, and history shows that Porno Chic was just around the corner. --Andrew Leavold, http://www.trashvideo.com.au/Trash%20Confidential/Back%20Issues/Porno%20Chic.htm [May 2004]
"Stag" as an adjective means for men only
"Stag" as an adjective means for men only. Thus a stag film is a film for men only - meaning a film of graphic sex. Stag films frequently appeared at stag parties - parties for men only. Despite media hype about "couples porn," the genre remains for alone men only.
Almost all pre-World War II pornographic films were shot on 16mm film on single reels that ran 10-12 minutes. Single reels could be hidden more easily than multiple canisters. The forms of the stag genre were fixed by the mid 1920s and endured through the 1950s. "Stag productions generally aimed at an ineptitude that reinforced the genre's illict reputation and served as an index of its "authenticity." Cameras intruded into frames, stagehands visibly adjusted lights, and performers clearly asked for direction or smirked directly into the lens; the glitches were left in the footage, as a way of underscoring that real sex was taking place between real people." (Slade, Journal of Film and Video 45.2-3)
Despite the common language of the silent stag form and the absence of copyrights, early porn films rarely traveled outside the countries that produced them because of legal dangers.
America probably made the most stag films, followed by France, where the genre originated and flourished until Gaullist repression. Becoming so adept at making stags that the term "French film" became synonymous with porn, French pornographers developed many of the genre's basic plots.
America's quick development of a legitimate film industry and censorship made it difficult for professionals to make stags. But this was not true of France where distributors advertised their products in the international editions of magazines like Paris Plaiser and La Vie Parisiene. During the 1920s, the French shot more stags than anyone (Slade, Journal of Film and Video 45:2-3). The two leading porners were Bernard Natan and Dominique.
By 1920, all major brothels in Europe and America stocked stag films.
Latin American stags came largely from the brothels of Tijuana and pre-Castro Havana. Bestiality appears in such films as Rin Tin Tin Mexicano, A Hunter and His Dog, Rascal Rex, and El Perro Masajista (a.k.a. Mexican Dog). Technically abysmal, these humiliating productions focus their hatred on women and the Church. Films such as Mexican Honeymoon show priests exploiting their parishioners. Anti-Catholic porn flourished in countries where the Church dominated. By contrast, American stags skirted religion.
"The American stag film is remarkably free of religious subject matter," write the authors of Dirty Movies. "The one apparent exception, The Nun's Story (1949-50), surfaced under the alternate title College Coed, a transformation which indicates either a naive or conscious confusion of religious habit and academic regalia. Protestantism has never provided the iconography hospitable to erotic transformation." [...] -- http://www.tranquileye.com/historyofporn/early_porn.html (2004)
Dirty Movies : An Illustrated History of the Stag Film, 1915-1970 (1976) - Al Di Lauro, Gerald Rabkinisbn: 0877540462
History of the Blue Movie, A (1970) - Alex de Renzy [...]
See entry for Alex de Renzy
Stag film within film
The Lickerish Quartet (1970) - Radley Metzger [Amazon.com]
See entry for the The Lickerish Quartet (1970) - Radley Metzger
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