Saturday, November 21, 2009

"It Always Has a Hard-on": Long Jeanne Silver (1977)

Hey folks. A queer oddity this time around, with Alex deRenzy's Long Jeanne Silver, starring Jean Silver, who was born with a deformity and had the lower part of her lower leg amputated at age two-and-a-half, leaving a phallic stump perfect for penetration. Long Jeanne Silver plays out like a documentary that's high on sex and low on dialogue, yet the situational segments, some candid and some constructed, are subtly revealing.

The movie begins with an immediate sex scene, already in progress, featuring Joey Silvera (director of the Strap Attack series) and Amber Hunt. I felt pretty happy at this point, reassured by the apparent normality of the scene in terms of how it was shot, and by Joey's presence - being a queer little devil, his participation made me feel that the scene was between happy and consenting adults who are totally down with proceedings.

Following this opening scene, we have a little narrative spoken to camera by Jean, detailing her sexual adventures as a teen. Apparently she liked to pick up gay prostitutes and take advantage of them, as this is what we're presented with as way of a reenactment of Jean's youth. Jean, wearing an artificial leg, picks up aforementioned prostitute, promising him, "You might be surprised - I have a few things that a boy has." At this point, I started thinking about Jean's stump as a phallus, and then cursed myself for not realizing that this was the focus of the film. More on this later. Jean and the guy go back to Jean's place, and after some fooling around Jean goes off to her bathroom to do something, and hops back out announcing, "You ready for this? Huh?" The guy responds with an "Oh god..." but then they both get down to business, lubing up the stump and fucking the guy in the ass - it definitely gives a new meaning to the term "pegging" (I'm sorry...I couldn't resist).

It's notable during this scene that the male's sexual pleasure does not seem to be the focus; rather, the traditional sexual focus of the female in heterosexual porn - vaginal penetration rather than clitoral stimulation - is occupied by the male in this scene. That is to say, the male is being penetrated on his stomach, with no stimulation of the penis, while Jean engages in clitoral stimulation and her orgasm concludes the scene.

My earlier comment about Jean's stump being a phallus relates to the interesting dynamic at work in the aforementioned scene. Note that the phallus should not be confused with a penis, as is the popular perception: the phallus is the cultural source of power, associated with masculinity, stemming from childish fantasies of the penis and sexual difference. Fast cars, battleships, and guns operate as phalluses, but they never achieve this unattainable source of power (it's a fantasy) and are anxious, unstable signifiers. The same applies to the penis, and in this way the dildo has been defended as not "like a penis" (as so many feminist anti-dildo theorists would have it) but rather "better than" a penis - it's just another phallic replacement, but (disconcertingly for some) it's always hard, it's detachable, and women can work them in diverse ways. These ideas came up in my Strap Attack 10 review also.

In Long Jeanne Silver, these concepts come to fruition in the scene between Jean and the two girls she has decided to "educate," Lori Blue and China Leigh. Sat together on a couch, they have a candid conversation about Jean's history, Jean shows the girls her spread in Cheri magazine (the centerfold of which is the DVD cover), and answers questions about her stump. The questions and answers are particularly revealing of the phallic nature of Jean's stump, and the masculine anxiety regarding the inadequacy of the penis: "Is this the same size as a cock?" "I've been told it's bigger than Johnny Holmes." "Is it just like a dick?" Jean's response: "People don't have to worry about getting pregnant from it, or get any diseases from it....It always has a hard-on." And finally, "If I could fuck myself with it, I would." The anxieties that such responses might elicit are quite understandable when you consider the efforts our culture has gone to to establish the penis as the dominant form of power, only to be undermined by a far more impressive dildo or stump.

So, my viewing experience was all shits and giggles up until this point, and I was really impressed with deRenzy's complex and fun-filled film. And then something happened. Jean started to cry while talking to the girls on the couch. At first I wasn't sure what was happening - whether she was laughing or crying - because I heard her making some noise off camera, and then she said something about getting it on if she can only stop crying, followed by the girls and Jean wiping the tears from her face. But a quick rewind confirms that, yes indeed, Jean starts crying while one of the girls is saying whether or not she wants to try fucking the stump. Immediately after they're drying Jean's eyes, another sex scene starts up, but I just couldn't get into it, even though all involved were giggling and smiling, and the whole thing ended with them bundling under a blanket and rolling around laughing. It was all very fun, but I couldn't shake the whole crying thing.

The remaining two scenes were more of the same, for the most part, with the second-to-last scene standing out as really cool. Paul Thomas plays a man who is given a very special birthday present by his wife, but must wear a blindfold. Naturally, it's Jean, and she sets about fucking PT's wife while he is serviced orally by her. After a while, PT is being neglected, and vocally expresses his anxiety, announcing that he's being neglected, demanding "Somebody pay attention to me!" Well, buddy, your pleasure will have to take a back seat for a moment, because Jean and your wife are getting busy. This doesn't last long, of course, as PT takes off his blindfold and is shocked by what he sees (see pic above). The remaining activity does *not* include PT engaging in some anal as I had hoped, but rather some good ole' hetero-penetration between PT and his wife, with a side-order of stump.

I really enjoyed this movie - at least until the sobbing, and then I started reassessing what I was seeing. Regardless of the ambiguity of the emotions on display, I am genuinely impressed by the complexity and subtlety of this film, and got a lot out of it. Recommended to those who can handle it.


X-Ray Specs said...

As I noted several months ago, in two of PT's directorial movies that were 10 years apart, male anal rape was included in both. It would have been damn interesting if PT had had anal performed on him in this movie.

I still think that male anal is a personal fear of PT, but I haven't seen enough of PT's films OR have forgotten what I have seen to make an accurate assessment. Perhaps with your wider range of viewing, you might be able to comment on this.

CrazySexyMetalChick! said...

I thought I'd seen everything!

I actually had to Google "Jean Silver," I was so surprised to hear about this film.

Gore-Gore Girl said...

Mr. X-Ray: I have never seen PT do anal (girl on guy), but I have seen at least one movie by him that features male anal rape (Cry Wolf) - what was the other one you saw?

Metal Chick: yes, indeed, it's real. And very interesting too! Thanks for stopping by!

X-Ray Specs said...

I couldn't remember the other PT movie and was too lazy to look through all of my reviews trying to find it. But Thank Goodness for Google. I just entered xxxmarkstheplot and anal rape and up pops Debbie Does New Orleans!

In "Debbie Does New Orleans" it was actually just a threat of male anal rape that gets Debbie to forgo her own dreams to save her no account boyfriend.

Gore-Gore Girl said...

Oh yeah! That ending pissed me off somethign bad - he was such a loser. I guess there's something to be said for a movie where the girl rescues the guy, but still.

Good find, X-Ray!

Monster Scholar said...

All I can say is wow. I love your though provoking commentary on this film. I agree with you that the emotional outburst by Jean does call some things into question. Like does she see the stump and her difference as something empowering or does she feel exploited because of her oddity? I do love the reaction of the miffed husband "What about me?!" Haha

Gore-Gore Girl said...

Thanks! Yeah, I'm unsure about Jean's feelings of empowerment - the crying was a surprise to me because it happens just after she is talking about her stump, her sexual partners, etc, and laughing and giggling with the girls. It's only when Jean poses the question as to whether one of them wants to try it out, and the girl kind of says "maybe" and ums and ahs, and then you hear Jean crying. It's definitely strange and confusing, and sad.

BlackSix said...

I remember Carter Stevens saying that he didn't like seeing Jean cast in films just for her leg so he purposefully made her the lead actress in one of his films and avoided exploiting that angle(the film is House of Sin).

In several of the films she appeared it seems they disguised her leg so that it wasn't apparent that she had a stump, eg. in the infamous scene in Waterpower.

Gore-Gore Girl said...

Hey Blacksix! I remember seeing Waterpower and being confused as to which performer she was - well, obviously looking for a girl with a stump didn't work! I liked her in LJS, so its a shame that behind the scenes things might not have been too great for her. I felt that the movie treated her stump with respect - I didn't find it degrading. I wonder if people who find it degrading simply find the stump disconcerting, so they assume its degrading.


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