Naughty was one of Stanley Long’s productions made in the wake of the huge success of his film The Wife Swappers (1969), and with a “dramatised documentary” look at wife swapping proving to be box office gold, what better subject could there be to go under the Stanley Long magnifying glass next than the history of pornography with Naughty. In the British sex film game from its 8mm glamour home movie beginnings to its late 1970s demise, Long’s career pretty much touched on all the varying trends and attitudes of the genre from coy little nudist films of the early Sixties to tut-tutting pseudo documentaries like the aforementioned Wife Swappers at the decade’s end to out and out comedies with his mid-to-late 70s “Adventures of” series. A mixture of present day documentary, faked segments and historical re-enactments, Naughty might still be indebted to the serious pseudo-documentary approach of The Wife Swappers but also contain touches of the sort of saucy humour that would become the British sex film norm as the 1970s wore on.
Naughty, or rather ‘Naughty- A Report on Pornography and Erotica Through The Ages’, to give the film its full title and M.O. holds more documentary worth, its part 360 degree snapshot of the early 70’s British sex industry and part re-enactments of the goings on of their Victorian predecessors while the first twenty minutes or so is a report on the world’s first pornographic film festival which had been held in Amsterdam at the end of 1970. Organized through the underground newspaper Suck, The Wet Dream Festival, which showcased four days worth of pornographic films from around the globe, was the brainchild of one Jim Haynes, a leading figure in the British underground scene of the 1960s, who viewed the production and exhibition of pornography as a revolutionary act to challenge the status quo. “I’m just interested in freedom, extreme libertarianism, the right for anyone to see, eat and do whatever they want” claims Jim, who comes across as a likeable mixture of intellectual and old fashion mischief maker. Long’s camera was there to capture it all, from tame clips from the films themselves, interviews with audience members (“I‘ve never seen so many genital organs and vaginas in all my life” claims one) brief glimpses of guests like Germaine Greer and Al Goldstein plus the priceless sight of Jim’s hippy entourage taking over the town’s local cinema which had been playing Hell in the Pacific, but where for one night only Lee Marvin and Toshiro Mifune have to step aside for films featuring as one of Jim’s entourage puts it “people ****ing, being sucked, women with dogs, flagellation, the juxtaposition of this will freak people out”.
In contrast back in London, things are anything but swinging, as dirty mac brigade member Horace (C. Lethbridge Baker) described as “Mr. Average” wanders around Piccadilly Circus on his way to Soho. Sad DeWolfe instrumental music plays as Horace peeks in on dirty bookshops, porn cinemas and strip clubs. All the while you hear the voice of Horace’s terrible wife ringing in his head “have you locked the back door, and let out the cat”. Horace starts getting the jitters, the narrator notes that material Horace once had to look hard for is now right there staring back at him from shop windows. “If it were all that bad they wouldn’t allow it” Horace reassures himself. Horace’s Soho shuffle comes to an abrupt end when a burly man ushers him into a seedy basement cinema. Horace secretly hopes he’s finally going to see something harder, but instead as the film’s narrator points out its “the same old stuff, he’s not going to see anything new, its not legal here”. Horace sits there miserably in the dark, imagining some far away sexual Utopia, possibly Sweden, where “I bet girls throw themselves at you”.