Tuesday, October 18, 2011

 

The porn film I did without even knowing it.

One day back in the late 1970s, I got a letter on Amero Brothers, Filmmakers letterhead asking if I would be interested in painting a backdrop for their current project, a film to be titled White Tie and Tails. At one point in time I must have known the contact that put the Ameros on to me, but that info vanished from my mind decades ago.

The letter said simply that they needed a drop of an antebellum Southern plantation house painted in an old fashioned theatrical scenery style.  I was offered reimbursement of all my expenses for theatrical muslin and paint, rental of a facility in which to paint the drop, and shipping charges.  The fee offered was something like $350 or $400 -- pretty good money for that time, and the deadline was very comfortable.  A couple of different pictures of the famous house in Mississippi, seen above, were enclosed.  I accepted immediately.

I was told that the scene in the film was to be a take-off on a scene from Gone With the Wind and I imagined something like the above.  I set to work, sewing the drop to the specs provided, renting the paint frame at Harvard's Loeb Drama Center (where I had done a lot of scene painting for Harvard Summer Theater in the late 60s) and had the thing done pretty quickly.  I snapped the shot, below, just before removing the drop from the frame and shipping it off.

A couple of weeks later, I got a lovely letter from John Amero with a check for all the monies promised and the comment that he and his brother Lem were delighted with it, that it was just what they had wanted.  I was very pleased, to say the least, and kept checking to see when the movie was being released, but I was never able to find it anywhere.  And there matters lay until a week or so ago when I came across John Amero's letter in my files and realized I could Google the movie to find out about it.

Well, Google led me to articles that said the reason I had never heard of White Tie and Tails was because while I had done the work in late 1977 for the movie shoot in 1978, the movie encountered problems with its soft-core porn star, an English model and actress who had signed a contract specifying that she wouldn't do nude sex scenes.  I was intrigued; White Tie and Tails apparently was porn!  Confirmation came in the following paragraphs with the revelation that the movie by "the eccentric Amero Brothers . . . " had eventually been released in 1981, after considerable delay while plug-in scenes were shot to compensate for the demurely clothed star,  in three versions: soft core, hard core, and some kind of general release without any nudity, as Blonde Ambition (a title that would be reused much later for a radically different piece of material).  A DVD has been released and one of the promotional tag reads: "If you liked Singin' in the Rain and Deep Throat, this is the movie for you!"

There was a great deal of praise for the work of the Ameros and their production standards: "If this film was a pastry, it would be a sugary, pastel colored cupcake full of nudity and goodness. It's fluff in the best possible way with a stellar cast, great attention to visual details (costumes, sets, etc) and corny but funny jokes. On the excellent commentary track with none other than John Amero, he talks about the great love he and his brother had for the old MGM musicals and it shows."

But the best part for me was this: 
A still from Blond Ambition with the drop in place.  I'm still intrigued about the film -- the DVD contains at least two of the three final cuts that were released into the various target markets, as well as John Amero's commentary and a lot of material on Suzy Mandel, the British actress who was the star and, apparently, who caused quite an upset about nude sex scenes.  I may look for a distributor for the DVD; Amazon seems not to carry that sort of material.  So there you have it -- my one and only porno!

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In her remarkable and beautifully managed late career, Betty White keeps showing up in unexpected ways:


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A couple of items that have shown up in various places on the web lately:




The immense disparity between the US and the rest of the world in this ratio shows just how out of whack our system has become.  No wonder so much of the American population is out of work, out of their foreclosed homes, and out of hope.

Comments:
Will, that's a great story about your artwork! It appears that the movie is available here: http://www.alternativecinema.com/index.php?pg=si&item_id=1179

cheers
 
Thanks, Martin! I'll check them out.
 
It takes shocking figures like the above to say it all (I mean the statistics, not the fab Betty White).
 
That is one great yarn. I wonder of you fabulous bsck drop was dosed with some serious DNA.

This post reminds me that I made a film- PUNK LOVE in the early aughts. The movie went straight to DVD. I am naked & tied up in this movie. The producers sent me a copy, it sits next to the DVD unplayed still in the plastic wrap.

You can add porn design to your resume!
 
Great post. Fun, funny, fascinating, and infuriating.
 
I am shocked -- shocked! -- to learn that you provided the artwork for breeder porn. Especially since there's nothing in the title White Tie and Tails that implies that vaginas would be either required or helpful.
 
I would be curious to read a blog entry from you on what we as a nation should do. I see you as a wise and sensible man; in all the 99% vs 1% I hear emotions but no vision.
 
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