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An Affair of the Skin is a 1963 film written and directed by Ben Maddow. It is a complex story of the romantic entanglements of its several characters as seen through the eyes of a black woman photographer. Shortly after its release, the film was harshly reviewed in Time Magazine and The New York Times.[1][2] Woody Haut's recent characterization is more sympathetic:[3]

An Affair of the Skin
Directed byBen Maddow
Produced byHelen Levitt
Ben Maddow
Written byBen Maddow
CinematographyRoger Barlow
David Shore
Edited byVerna Fields
Distributed byZenith International Film Corp.
Release date
  • 1963 (1963)
Running time
102 minutes
CountryUnited States

...a worthy, if not altogether successful, attempt at being an American art movie, a hodgepodge of influences, from Italian Realists, Antonioni and Bergman to US social conscience films and documentarists like Robert Flaherty. Written, produced and directed by former documentarist and Hollywood scriptwriter Ben Maddow, the film was, for the most part, shot on the streets of New York, and memorable for its sensuousness, its street-level camera-work and use of natural light.

Maddow is reported as feeling that the initial release of An Affair of the Skin had been rushed for financial reasons. In 1973, ten years later its initial release, Maddow re-edited and released it again under the title Love As Disorder. As described by John Hagan, "An offscreen narration by the photographer was added to establish her as an observer: a participant in the action but also a caustic chronicler of it. As in much of Maddow's work, inner disorder is seen against a background of social unrest as described in a highly imagistic manner by a person who has both emotional involvement and critical detachment."[4]


Plot summaryEdit

This drama story takes place in New York and describes the sexual relations of the three main characters, Victoria, Allen and his wife Katherine, including the problems they encounter as told in three intertwined stories. Victoria is an aging fashion model who is afraid to let go of her young male lover because she thinks she is too old to ever get another man to love her. Allen and Katherine are an unhappily married neurotic couple with problems of their own.[5]


Victoria - Viveca Lindfors
Allen McCleod - Kevin McCarthy
Katherine McCleod - Lee Grant
Janice - Diana Sands
Max - Herbert Berghof
Claire - Nancy Malone
Mrs. Cluny - Osceola Archer
Waiter - Will Lee

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Dermis, Anyone?" Time Magazine, December 6, 1963. Online version retrieved Jan. 31, 2008.
  2. ^ "Ben Maddow's 'An Affair of the Skin' at Carnegie Hall Cinema". The New York Times. November 21, 1963. Archived from the original on April 27, 2013.
  3. ^ Haut, Woody (2008). "Ben Maddow: Affairs of the Skin". Archived from the original on 2008-02-27. Blog postings by a film critic who has published several books.
  4. ^ Hagan, John (2000). "Ben Maddow". In Pendergast, Tom; Pendergast, Sara (eds.). International Dictionary of Film and Filmmakers (4 ed.). St. James Press. ISBN 978-1-55862-449-8. Retrieved January 9, 2008.
  5. ^

External linksEdit