The ABC of Love and Sex Australia Style (1978)

According to the Australian Film Institute, this made some $447,000 at the box office back in 1978. In real terms that’s a shade under $2m now, which is kind of astonishing given what the film is, i.e. a “sex education” documentary with sex scenes that border upon hardcore at times, an intro and outro involving puppet animation, and an orgy featuring John Michael Howson as a leather-clad voyeur. Maybe I should file this under “horror”! Anyway, I don’t know what John D. Lamond made from Australia After Dark, but I presume it was enough to afford to shoot in 35mm (rather than blow up from 16mm, as was the case on the other film) and hire something at least approximating to studio space; the net result is, at the very least, a damn sight more watchable than Australia After Dark. Mind you, just because it’s not as tawdry as its predecessor doesn’t mean it’s not exploitative at heart, cos it is; it might pose as a serious documentary exploring an amusing alphabetically sorted range of sex-related themes, but that’s not really the point of this sort of thing, is it… the point was showing people fucking, and Lamond obliges in between the “serious” bits and the cheesy dialogue scenes. It seems like an odd approach for a sex film by the end of the 70s, though, and I wonder who the hell was actually watching this back in 1978 (though it must’ve been quite a lot of people given the box office take and how much a ticket would’ve cost then compared to now) and why… it’s a ghastly thought, but maybe people watched it for John Michael Howson. As for Lamond, I gather all he cared about was that he had fun making it, so I don’t suppose he was too fussed about what people got from it as long as they paid to see it and he made enough money thereby to make more films… one of which we’ll be seeing soon enough here…

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