Thursday, November 28, 2019

Joe Sarno Book Update

Joe Sarno attending a 2006 screening of ABIGAIL LESLEY'S BACK IN TOWN.
Yesterday, as I was finishing up the 1968 chapter for my current book in progress - GAMES PEOPLE PLAY: THE EROTIC CINEMA OF JOE SARNO - I had an unexpected eureka. As I’ve been working on it these last few years, my intention changed from the initial plan of writing one book about everything, to writing one book on his 1960s films and another on his work in the 1970s “and beyond.” However, as I put the final touches on the group of chapters covering his prodigious output in 1968, I came to a sudden realization that the manuscript's arc was complete: it had to end here - with the last film of his black and white period (PASSION IN HOT HOLLOWS), his final and now full-time transition to color (MARCY), and the hugely successful theatrical release of INGA.

1960-1968 may sound like a narrow field of exploration but it actually covers some 35 films, more movies than most directors get to make in a lifetime. The second volume - which I plan to call THE GREATEST ANIMAL ACT ON EARTH (a phrase used in his 1964 magnum opus SIN IN THE SUBURBS) - will actually cover fewer titles at the same depth, maybe 24, focusing primarily on his softcore work and some transitional hardcore features that warrant consideration with his best and most effective work. I’m only going to cover the dozens of hardcore quickies he made in the 1980s in a chapter of thumbnails, because Joe took no pride in them and frankly they don’t interest me either.

Dividing his oeuvre at this juncture will allow the second book to begin with Joe and Peggy’s nearly two-year stint in Sweden and Denmark, where and when they made a number of important pictures, including THE SEDUCTION OF INGA. Had I stuck with my original plan, I’d have to open Book 2 with HORN A PLENTY (presently unavailable) and THE YOUNG EROTIC FANNY HILL (a movie Joe disliked), which would not be so energizing.

So, no one could be more surprised, but I find my rough draft for Book 1 - close to 500 single-spaced pages - now suddenly in hand. The next step, of course, is to look it all over carefully and determine how much of this first half of the job is done.

(c) 2019 by Tim Lucas. All rights reserved.

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