The Opening of Misty Beethoven
The Opening of Misty Beethoven is an American pornographic comedy film released in 1976. It was produced with a relatively high budget and filmed on elaborate locations in Paris, New York City and Rome with a musical score, and owes much to its director Radley Metzger (directing this film as "Henry Paris"). According to award-winning author Toni Bentley, The Opening of Misty Beethoven is considered the "crown jewel" of the Golden Age of Porn (1969–1984).
|The Opening of Misty Beethoven|
Original film poster
(as "Henry Paris")
|Produced by||Radley Metzger|
(as "Jake Barnes")
|Edited by||Bonnie Karrin|
Joy Bear Pictures
In an adult erotic take-off of George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion (and its derivative My Fair Lady), the film is about a sexologist who tries transforming a low-skilled prostitute into a goddess of passion. While he tries to prepare her to seduce a gay male artist (Casey Donovan), it is he for whom she develops feelings. In this film, Henry Higgins (of Pygmalion) is replaced by Dr. Seymour Love, the sexologist, played by Jamie Gillis. Eliza Doolittle (of Pygmalion) becomes Dolores "Misty" Beethoven, who is played by Constance Money, and Colonel Pickering becomes Geraldine Rich, played by Jacqueline Beudant. During the film, Misty achieves "elevation" better than Love and Rich had hoped and then cuts them off, as in George Bernard Shaw's play. However, this film then sees Misty return, take over for Dr. Love, and run the "school". Dr. Love is present but in a very subservient position. It is clearly Misty that is in charge by this time.
The film The Opening of Misty Beethoven was released during the Golden Age of Porn (inaugurated by the 1969 release of Andy Warhol's Blue Movie) and the phenomenon of "porno chic" in the United States, in which adult erotic films were just beginning to be widely released, publicly discussed by celebrities (like Johnny Carson and Bob Hope) and taken seriously by film critics (like Roger Ebert).
In this Golden Age era, most films of the time were expected to have at least minimal plots. Misty's plot was more elaborate than most; it was based directly on George Bernard Shaw's play, Pygmalion, as well as the Broadway and Hollywood success My Fair Lady. The film is also satirical, with many added comic touches and dialogue designed for laughs. It includes Mark Margolis's first role. The Opening of Misty Beethoven has the distinction of being the first widely released porn movie to feature female-on-male pegging.
The Italian Edition by Noctuno is an extended version of Misty Beethoven with footage not seen in the original film. Some of the extra footage was used in Barbara Broadcast (Misty's bondage sequence) and Maraschino Cherry (Misty with the matador). All other cutting room floor footage can be found in the Distribpix Misty Beethoven DVD extras. The film was initially rejected for UK cinema by the BBFC and released in a heavily pre-edited form with an additional 1 min 55 secs of censor cuts in 1983. The fully uncut hardcore print was passed with an R18 rating by the BBFC in 2005. It is rumored that the full uncut version was released in the U.S on Laser Disc by Lorimar Home Video. It was also said the Laser Disc Print runs at 87 minutes and has 1:33 ratio. The cool (softcore) version adds several scenes to pad the running time. They include: the servants celebrating at the Italian villa in cave-person outfits, Lawrence and Barbara watching Kojak on TV, Misty and Geraldine together in a tub and, last but not least, cigar guy's female partner on the plane talking to a dejected Seymour Love.
During the film, some dialogue between Misty and Seymour is spoken but not clearly heard, drowned out by a flight attendant talking to a passenger. The sequence's beginning and end are heard, but the middle is virtually inaudible. Surprisingly, the film's script has the missing words, the back and forth as follows: heard is: Misty: "It'll be strange to be back in the States." Seymour: "First trip?;" then not heard is: Misty: "No, I tripped with my brother when I was 16. I was at a dance. I learned a lot from that trip;" then heard is: Seymour: "Well... you're gonna learn a lot from this trip."
In 2012, DistribPix oversaw a complete restoration of the film, with the full cooperation of the director. The result had a limited exhibition in theaters, but the main outcome of the project was the first-ever official DVD and Blu-ray releases. In addition, a fully annotated CD soundtrack was released. A listing of the music on the film soundtrack was released earlier.
Awards from the Adult Film Association of America:
- Best Picture
- Best Director (Radley Metzger as "Henry Paris")
- Best Actor (Jamie Gillis)
- Best Screenplay (Radley Metzger as "Jake Barnes")
- Best Editing (Bonnie Karrin)
|3.||"Glass Tubes"||Brian Bennett||3:22|
|5.||"Ippica / Going Great"||Franco Bonfanti||2:28|
|6.||"Heat Haze"||John Cameron||2:52|
|7.||"Mighty Atom"||Steve Gray||2:54|
|10.||"The Fuzz"||Duncan Lamont||2:40|
|11.||"William Tell Overture"||Gioachino Rossini||3:44|
In 2004, Misty Beethoven: The Musical!, a musical remake, was released. It featured Sunset Thomas, Randy Spears, Julie Meadows, Asia Carrera, Chloe, Dave Cummings, Mike Horner, Evan Stone and Tyce Bune. It was directed by Veronica Hart. The film won the 2004 XRCO Award for "Best Comedy or Parody" and the 2005 AVN Award for "Best Sex Comedy".
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- VCA Pictures
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- Staff (2016). "The Opening of Misty Beethoven - Original Soundtrack Music listing". IMDB. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
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- Hilton, Thomas H. (August 1, 1977). "The Porn Awards". Adam Film World. Vol. 6 no. 6 (issue=66). pp. 16–17.
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- "Best Sex Comedy". Retrieved March 2, 2014.
- Cook, David A. (2002). History of the American cinema. 9. University of California Press. pp. 274–275. ISBN 0-520-23265-8.
- Heffernan, Kevin, "A social poetics of pornography", Quarterly Review of Film and Video, Volume 15, Issue 3, December 1994, pp. 77–83. doi:10.1080/10509209409361441.
- Lehman, Peter, Pornography: film and culture, Rutgers depth of field series, Rutgers University Press, 2006, ISBN 0-8135-3871-8.
- Williams, Linda, Hard core: power, pleasure, and the "frenzy of the visible", University of California Press, 1999, ISBN 0-520-21943-0.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: The Opening of Misty Beethoven|
- The Opening of Misty Beethoven at MUBI (related to The Criterion Collection)
- The Opening of Misty Beethoven on IMDb
- The Opening of Misty Beethoven at the Adult Film Database
- The Opening of Misty Beethoven − review/RockShockPop
- The Opening of Misty Beethoven − review/10kBullets
- The Opening of Misty Beethoven − review with photos
- The Opening of Misty Beethoven − behind the scenes − part 1 part 2
- The Opening of Misty Beethoven − 2012 restoration notes
- The Opening of Misty Beethoven (Restoration; 03:35); (Trailer; 03:01)