Now available on demand is the documentary film, Skin: A History of Nudity in the Movies.
If you follow my blog, you know that I keep my posts and content “family friendly” for the most part, with the exception of horror movie reviews. It might come as a bit of a shock that I reviewed a film about nudity. Frankly, I’m a big shocked too.
I am the first to point out how unnecessary nudity in films is (especially in horror movies). I understand that there are times that it is necessary to the the story line, but I honestly feel like there are ways around it without having to resort to naked bodies and rampant sex.
Am I a “prude?” Not by a long shot. I just don’t find it necessary to splatter nudity around in movies.
This documentary, Skin: A History of Nudity in the Movies, not only takes a look back on the history of nudity in film (dating back to the late 1800’s), but it also gives a glimpse of nudity in films from this point forward, most especially due to the #MeToo movement.
I think I was about 13 years old the first time I saw nudity in a film. My aunt had taken me and my cousin to the movies to see the film Porky’s, not knowing it was NOT fit for an 11 and 13 year old. I think my aunt was mortified by it. Why the person who sold the tickets to her didn’t tell her about it, I don’t know. Maybe the teen ticket seller simply didn’t care.
I also remember seeing nudity purely by accident when my relatives got a satellite dish for their home, back when the dishes were HUGE. We were flicking through the channels and picked up some foreign channel with naked people having sex. I don’t remember how old I was at the time, but I know I was embarrassed by the situation.
Skin takes a look back from when it all began. The first nudes appeared in a film back in the late 1880’s. Back then it was viewed upon a more artful than sexual. To be honest, I was surprised nudity has been in films that long.
Throughout this documentary there is commentary from actors and actresses that have appeared naked on film, as well as other people in the film industry.
The film is divided up into decades, so that viewers can see just how things progressed over the years.
Back in the 1920’s there were people known as the “moral guardians” (religious people) who would protest against films they felt were an abomination.
In the 1930’s (up until the last 1960’s) there was a something known as the Hays Code, named after Will H. Hays, who was the president of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America. Hays Code was a guidelines of “do’s” and “don’ts” allowed in film. It not only pertained to nudity. I also pertained to other types of “questionable content” as well.
From a historical standpoint, I found the movie to be very interesting. I especially found it interesting how studios would find ways around the code (a side boob, a butt shot…) or simply disregarded it.
I also find it interesting how there have been movies created that were nothing but nudity (not porn), which didn’t really seem vital to the movie it’s self. Take for example the film Caged Heat about female prisoners. It’s understandable that things happen in prison, but this film too it to the extreme as far as what they showed on the screen. Was it for entertainment, or for shock value?
I found the interviews with the actresses most interesting. Some talked about how they did nudity because they were trying to make a name for themselves and advance their careers, and others who felt tricked into doing it. Some even referred to a “casting couch” type of scenario where they were asked to expose their breasts for the film maker, without even being guaranteed a role in the film.
Some film makers took advantage of the actors and actresses and forced them into doing scenes that were not originally in the script (tricked them or forced the into doing them). That’s horrible!
Being naked on screen has helped some careers, and ruined others. Some people regret their decisions, others, like actor Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange and Caligula) couldn’t have cared less one way or another (had he as naked A LOT in both films).
Fast forward to today. Things are a lot different now, thanks to the #MeToo movement. Now actors and actresses have legal rights protecting them against being forced to do things they are not comfortable with, or were not contracted to do. They often have numerous lawyers on hand to watch every second of the film being made in order to protect their clients. Now actors and actresses have more rights and protection than they ever did before, ensuring that they never find themselves in a compromising position that they did not agree upon.
Is there nudity in this film? Of course. Just look at the subject matter. If you are not OK seeing male and female genitalia and sex scenes, this is not the film for you. However, if you are interested in the history of the subject matter, then you should find this film very interesting.
This documentary ran for about two hours, which was a bit too long for me, but I guess it’s because you have so many decades of films to go over.
Look for Skin: A History of Nudity in the Movies on demand.
I looked for an official website and social media accounts, but I could not find anything.
Below is the trailer for your enjoyment.
*I received a free screener link to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.