Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Short Film: Unexpected Experience of Two Girl Hitch-Hikers (USA)


Here's an endearing short from the past, found (as so often) at that fabulous repository of filmic fun, the Internet Archives.
Once upon a time, this cute little film with its slightly O. Henry ending was probably risqué and rogue, but in today's world it comes across oddly innocent. The who, what, when, where and why behind the making of this very short film is unknown – indeed, at the time it was made, decades ago, despite its less-than-truly-pornographic nature, it was surely not the type of film one would put on one's resume. Here at A Wasted Life, however, we hazard to guess that, going by the landscape, the film was made in California and that, going by the cars and style of hair and clothing, it was shot sometime in the forties – but these are assumptions only, as the movie lacks any and all credits, and opens only with its title, Unexpected Experience of Two Girl Hitch-Hikers. The plot is a simple one: two damsels are stranded at the side of the road when their car breaks down, and they proceed to take a desperate measure to get a ride or assistance – with each car that passes, another piece of clothing falls…
(As of here, our mind wanders...)
There is a notable if, needless to say, thoroughly coincidental connection found in this film to the somewhat longer silent film A Free Ride, aka A Grass Sandwich (full NSFW film), which is the earliest known US American hardcore short still in existence. The exact date that A Free Ride – whence the still of the hatted man here to the left is taken – was made is unknown and contested, with different sources arguing dates between circa-1915 to circa-1923, but the core plot device of the film (directed by "A. Wise Guy" and titles by "Will She") also involves two women alone on the road hitch-hiking – but they get a ride and a lot more than the two comparatively demure ladies of Unexpected Experience of Two Girl Hitch-Hikers. 
To follow an even less-related trivially informational tangent, as early as A Free Ride might be, it is not the earliest known stag film. France, Argentina and Germany all vie for that honor, if only because the exact dates the given films were made are not all known for sure: the French short L'Ecu d'Or ou la bonne auberge is generally given the fixed date of 1908, the Argentinean El Satario ("The Satyr") is estimated to be from c. 1907–15, and Germany's Am Abend ("In the Evening") is thought to be from around 1910. (Leave it to the German's to have the honor of producing the first known porn film to include shown anal penetration.) 
None of the latter three films, by the way, involve hitch-hiking ladies: L'Ecu d'Or involves a soldier having a tete-a-tete with a servant girl, El Satario – an image of which is seen above left* – has Satan kidnapping one of three frolicking ladies and having fun with her (the film ends with a cream pie shot, perhaps the earliest), while Am Abend follows the age-old plot line of a stranger who, after spying on a horny woman, walks in and does her good.**
To follow this tangent further and shift our eyes to sausage-to-sausage activities, the earliest visual servings of naked men in movement are from the 1880s by, of course, Eadweard Muybridge, but his vignettes are "studies of movement" and not intentionally erotic (or so it is said). The first true acts of live-action*** homosexual sex, however, occurred in 1920 in the French film Le Menage Moderne Du Madame Butterfly – an image of which is here to the left**** – by Bernard Natan, a Romanian who eventually took over Pathé, the largest French studio of its day, in 1929.***** Natan made (and took part in) numerous porn films between 1920 and 1927, a variety of which included gay/bisexual scenes;****** Le Menage Moderne Du Madame Butterfly, the plot of which is based on Giacomo Puccini's opera Madam Butterfly, is merely the first of them to do so. In the USA, the earliest known hardcore sex film to theoretically feature gay sex is 1929's The Surprise of a Knight (producer and participant names unknown); we say "theoretical" because the blower and later recipient of anal sex, though oddly masculine, is dressed and presented as a woman for most of the film and, actually, no true "man-to-man" activity (other than dancing) occurs. For that, the manly inclined had to wait for the following year's A Stiff Game, in which a white man gives up searching for a job in favor of hustling and promptly gets his first client, a black man named – Ouch! – Sambo.******* Notably enough, the two men lose interest in each other when two shapely female trollops show up.********
But to get back to this month's Short Film of the Month: Unexpected Experience of Two Girl Hitch-Hikers. This quaint short is anything but a porn film; it is merely a little joke bordering on impropriety (and the latter, hardly so by today's standards), underlined with a pretty damn catchy score.********* A Wasted Life shares it with you today in the hope that it might make you smile, as it did us.

* This El Satario image comes from 7 Important Historical Breakthroughs (In Masturbation) at Cracked.com.
** Thus establishing the long-since thread-worn porno cliché of how any horny woman will let any willing man bonk her backwards and forwards and upside down.
*** We specify live-action because the earliest known surviving animation "hardcore" porno short, Eveready Harton in Buried Treasure (1929), done for laughs and not titillation, features heterosexual and homosexual sex as well as bestiality. According to unsubstantiated legend, the film was made so as to be screened at a private party honoring Winsor McCay.
**** Found at the Italian website Culture Gay.
***** When Pathé collapsed in 1935, Natan was convicted of fraud and sent to jail. Released in September 1942, Natan, a Jew, was promptly handed over to the occupying German forces and, on September 25, 1942, sent to Auschwitz; he died there a few weeks later.
****** Natan is also credited as having introduced masochism to the French porn film as well, but we were unable to find information regarding in which film.
******* Thus making the film also the first one to feature interracial homosexual sex.
******** It is interesting to note that according to Playboy's film historians Arthur Knight and Hollis Alpert, when they viewed over 1,000 vintage stag films in 1967, they discovered that that "exclusive male homosexuality was even less prevalent than bestiality." (See: Dave Thompson's Black and White and Blue Adult Cinema From the Victorian Age to VCR.)
********* In this regard, it isn't even as blatant as the two-minute-long fragment of the French short Le Coucher de la Marie, which was made by Albert Kirchner in 1886 (a year after films were even introduced) and features a credited "Louise Willy" performing a striptease for an unidentified/uncredited male.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...