Cult Sex Movie Director Joseph W. Sarno Dies, 'Hollywood Fan Magazine' Exhibition

Laura's Toys Joseph W. SarnoJoseph W. Sarno (a.k.a. Joe Sarno), the director of cult erotic movies such as Sin in the Suburbs (1963), Moonlighting Wives (1966), and Confessions of a Young American Housewife (1974), died on April 26, '10, in Manhattan. Sarno was 89.

Sarno's specialty became known as “sexploitation,” as his films were focused on sexual matters and featured scenes of (softcore) sex.

Sarno later claimed that he “was more interested in psychology and character development than most of the other filmmakers [within that genre] at that time.” (If true – I've never watched any of Sarno's movies, I don't think – the “exploitation” label would be unjust.)

According to the New York Times obit, Sarno wrote the screenplays for all of his seventy-five 35mm films.

Among his other features were Lash of Lust (1962), about Gaul in the time of the Romans; Inga (1968), a sexual-awakening tale shot in Sweden; All the Sins of Sodom (1968), about an arrogant photographer and his many models; and Laura's Toys (1975), about an archeologist's wife who gets her former lesbian lover to seduce her cheating husband's new girlfriend.

From the late '70s on, Sarno made numerous explicit sex films shot on video. Among those were A Taste of Pink (1985), The Hot Tip (1986), and The Pleasure Machine (1987).

As an aside, one of Sarno's aliases, “Francis X. Bush,” double meaning and all, was likely inspired by the name of silent film actor Francis X. Bushman, a matinee idol in the 1910s and Messala in the Ramon Novarro version of Ben-Hur (1925).

Inside the Hollywood Fan Magazine Anthony SlideThe exhibition “Inside the Hollywood Fan Magazine: A History of Star Makers, Fabricators, and Gossip Mongers” will be held from April 29 to July 30 at USC's Doheny Memorial Library's David L. Wolper Center south of downtown Los Angeles.

According to the USC Libraries' press release, “on display will be hundreds of fan magazines and motion picture memorabilia dating back to the early years of Hollywood when movie buffs would read such publications as Movie Picture Classic, Photoplay, or Screenland to learn the latest information on the biggest stars of the day.”

Among the archives represented in the exhibition are those from the Anthony Slide, Norma Shearer, Irene Dunne, Frank Sinatra, Louella Parsons, Constance McCormick, and George Burns and Gracie Allen collections.

Slide's newly published book, Inside the Hollywood Fan Magazine: A History of Star Makers, Fabricators, and Gossip Mongers (University Press of Mississippi, 2010), was the inspiration for the exhibition, which will be open Monday through Friday and is free to the public.

I'll be posting a q&a with Tony Slide on Monday, May 3. In the q&a, he discusses the historical and social importance of fan magazines throughout the decades.

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