One Hundred Sex Scenes That Changed Cinema

Neil Fulwood, Author B.T. Batsford $14.95 (160p) ISBN 978-0-7134-8858-6
Combining such choice subjects as movies and sex is a surefire way to draw attention to a book, but Fulwood, who also wrote One Hundred Violent Films That Changed Cinema, does more than titillate. He intelligently examines some of the most provocative scenes in the history of film, in a manner that should interest both conscientious scholars and casual moviegoers. The title, however, is misleading. Adjectives like""memorable"" or""innovative"" would better describe the scenes he discusses, since only occasionally does Fulwood explain the subsequent impact of a scene on future films. (That moment in Ghost where Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore get amorous behind a pottery wheel may be unforgettable, but did it really change the movies?) The book's strength lies in its diverse selection of material. Artsy flicks, like Ken Russell's Women in Love, share space with mainstream fare like Out of Sight. A director such as Alfred Hitchcock, who suggested sexuality through words and images in Rear Window and North by Northwest, is mentioned along with Adrian Lyne, whose 9 1/2 Weeks and Fatal Attraction contain graphic depictions. (Interestingly, in many instances cinematic sex comes with dark and dangerous consequences.) Although the British Fulwood knows his films, he mixes up the American movie rating system, confusing""R"" and""NC-17."" And with scenes arranged thematically rather than by importance, truly groundbreaking films like Y Tu Mama Tambien, Intimacy, Tom Jones and Blow-Up can get lost amid less significant fare. 40 b&w photos.
Reviewed on: 05/01/2004
Release date: 05/01/2004
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