Tails of a Bus Bench (1970)

There’s a myth that early porno had to have elaborate narrative foregrounding for its carnal encounters to evade prosecution. TAILS OF A BUS BENCH is proof to the contrary, a laborious exercise as dull as anything to come out of the San Fernando Valley in the last five years.

Throughout the course of the film, three couples meet at a bus bench and head back to their separate places to screw. That’s the entirety of the story, and the end of any ostensible narrative pretext. Instead, the film merely takes ages to get going, featuring its first couple yammering endlessly as it sits at the bus stop and later undresses in the girl’s apartment. Hardcore doesn’t start until more than 10 minutes in, a delay solely attributable to stalling. Nevertheless, with so-called “prurient interest” defined on the basis of stags, which generally presented sex acts with no narrative justification or context whatsoever, even a set-up as simple as this was capable of feigning “artistic intent” (or an attempt thereat) and “legitimizing” the hardcore action to follow.

Aside from a surprising (and very early) mention of computer dating during one of the dialogue scenes, the film’s only real element of historical interest is its total lack of on screen ejaculations – a fascinating byproduct of a time when even the most basic elements of erotic film grammar had yet to be established.