New System for Handling Films Marked as Adult
Recently, a lot of sexploitation and other classic exploitation and cult films have been removed from Letterboxd because someone on TMDB has been marking them as Adult. I think that the process of importing titles needs to be rethought, because it is drastically affecting my abilities to keep track of my lists and reviews, and it really hurts to see titles disappear after I have put effort into writing reviews and managing lists.
Something really needs to be done about this, because this has continued to be an issue since I first started using the site, and so far there has been no solution to these issues.
Let’s do this: can someone in this thread compile a list of “important/historically significant” adult films that should be on LB. Then we can see about adding an exceptions list to our importer that uses this list.
"Bat Pussy" is widely regarded as one of the earliest pornographic parody films ever made as well as one of the worst (poronographic) films ever made. I think it's historical significance warrants a page on Letterboxd.
For my money, you can add just about any hardcore flick Roger Watkins ever directed. Perhaps not historically significant, but certainly of a high cinematic quality.
All these adult films have been either influential or they have a small but significant cult following, or they blur the line between exploitation and pornography, or they are historically important in the history of censorship in film. I know you want to avoid the flock of contemporary porn movies, but surely some of these films have some historical or artistic value that shouldn't be completely ignored. Not to mention the fact the many had a theatrical release.
This letterboxd list is worth checking
Sinful Dwarf (1973)
Deep Throat (1972)
Behind the Green Door (1972)
Cafe Flesh (1982)
Boys in the Sand (1971)
Devil in Miss Jones (1972)
Alice in Wonderland: An X-Rated Musical Comedy (1976)
Resurrection of Eve (1973)
Sleepy Head (1973)
High Rise (1973)
Italian Stallion (1970)
Memories Within Miss Aggie (1974)
Weekend in Stocholm (1976)
The Second Coming of Eva (1974)
A Woman's Torment (1977)
The Private Adventure of Pamela Mann (1974)
Sex Freaks (1974)
Sometimes Sweet Susan (1975)
Story of Joanna (1975)
Justine & Juliette (1975)
The Passions of Carol (1975)
The Defiance of Good (1975)
Pussy Talk (1975)
The Autobiography of a Flea (1976)
3 A.M. (1976) (apparently edited by Orson Welles)
The Naughty Victorians: An Erotic Tale of a Maiden's Revenge (1976)
Naked Come the Stranger (1976)
The Opening of Misty Beethoven (1976)
Sensetional Janine (1978)
Kansas City Tracking Co (1976)
Barbara Broadcast (1977)
Debbie Does Dallas (1978)
Maraschino Cherry (1978)
The Ecstasy Girl (1979)
Ultra Flesh (1980)
Neon Nights (1981)
Centurians of Rome (1981)
New Wave Hookers (1985)
The Satisfiers of Alpha Blue (1981)
Adam and Yves (1974)
The Destroying Angel (1976)
Edward Penishands (1991)
I've just realise that Thundercrack is not on letterboxd. You are kidding me, right?
Hi There! Is something that can be done about this? I am writing a thesis on the significance of adult film in the 1970s, with a focus on the rise of animated pornography. I can understand that some of these titles would be available, but to disregard the historical significance of films such as Deep Throat, Cafe Flesh or the Sinful Dwarf is baffling. They have been studied by film academics for decades, books have been written about them, acclaimed critics have reviewed them, and they had an immense influence in Cult/exploitation cinema if not even the mainstream in some cases. At least the "porn chic" golden era of the 1970s of pornography should be included, since well, it is an unquestionable part of the history of cinema. Not to mention that many sexploitation films, pink films, and French extreme films on letterboxd blur the lines between soft-core and hard-core all the time. To just exclude them all together seems extreme. Surely should be a case by case situation.
Richard Hern commented
Jess Franco's movie Shining Sex is marked as 'adult content'. I would like the ability to add this to Letterboxd. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0232633/
Ditto, add adult films. I see there's already a list on letterboxd of titles to add, but it's been some 5 years and nothing has been done. Here's some of them again:
Alice in Wonderland: An X-Rated Musical
Beyond the Green Door
Boys in the Sand
Debbie Does Dallas
The Devil in Miss Jones
The Opening of Misty Beethoven
Add me to the list of people begging for adult content. Hide it behind a patreon membership, make a "see adult content" check box, do what you have to do but by ignoring all adult films, you're ignoring a massive part of film history.
Keenan Tamblyn commented
Yeah there's only really two ways of tackling this, either import every film marked as adult and hide them by default, allowing users to choose if they want to see them or not OR allow a selection of important titles to be added, maybe creating a seperate genre tab on TMDb would be the only solution. Movies like Sinful Dwarf, Deep Throat, A Woman's Torment etc. deserve to be talked about, there's such a hazy line between sexploitation and pornography for many many many films of the 70s and 80s that it seems ridiculous to exclude a lot of "adult" titles.
Mason Horsley commented
I know this sounds bad, but I mean, it would help. I know I'd like a place for serious feature-length porn movie reviews!
Morbus Iff commented
Thundercrack! was flagged as an adult movie on TMDB in November 2019. TMDB won’t “change it back” because it IS actually an adult movie, even if it is a weird, funny, cult one. An inconvenient truth.
So it looks like Thundercrack!, a cult film that many people like and have rated on the site, has now been removed because TMDb won't change it back from Adult. This is getting ridiculous.
Morbus Iff commented
I'm gonna reedit and repost my summary from 2018 as literally nothing has changed since then. Most of the new comments since 2018 all promote the "simplest" or "easiest" solution and, as a developer (entirely unaffiliated with Letterboxd), these solutions and suggestions are anything but.
Let's assume the following, as good faith:
1. Some Letterboxd users want to track adult films.
2. Adult films are divisive and many feel disgusted by them.
3. From a historical perspective, any film of any genre can be important.
4. Creating a singular list of "important films" of any genre is impossible.
5. The Letterboxd team is small and busy and has other priorities.
Then, to clarify my role in this:
* I'm a user of Letterboxd. I, too, want to track adult films.
* I'm a developer who has written software and books about software for 25+ yrs.
* I literally own every Vinegar Syndrome release.
* I am not a lawyer.
And, finally, to reiterate "how it works right now":
* Letterboxd DOES NOT decide what films are adult or not.
* Instead, Letterboxd (LB) uses the crowd-sourced data from TheMovieDB (TMDB).
* Anyone can set, and unset, an "is adult" flag on a film in TMDB.
* If an adult film is listed in LB, it's because the data is inaccurate in TMDB.
* If the TMDB data is corrected, the entry is removed from the public LB.
* If you logged or reviewed the film in LB, your data remains in your export.
* The last official response on this issue was back in 2018.
There have been two primary suggestions on how to "fix this":
Remove the "adult film" filter entirely. From (my) developer's perspective, this seems the easiest programmatic solution because it's "just" a matter of removing the "is this film flagged as adult in TMDB?" check within the importer and updaters. It sounds soOoOO easy that, why, jeez, it must be SUPAH simple to accomplish for such a "small and busy" team like Letterboxd. However, it opens Letterboxd up to a huge can of worms when it comes to search engines and content filters (marking Letterboxd as an adult site because it has adult film covers or pornographic text across hundreds of pages), when it comes to parents and children (nudity in the movie posters, salacious text in the descriptions), and when it comes to the fervency of the "adult films are the devil's work" crowd (consider the obsessive details of IMDB's "parents guide" for a film, which is "acceptable" in its salacious details because we're "saving the children" dontchaknow). Add in differing definitions of adult content and child protection laws depending on where you live, and this "simple solution" would likely cost Letterboxd MORE time, MORE hassle, and MORE money (legal fees, a wider audience of angry users no longer subbing, etc.). It's just not tenable.
The other solution seems the safest from a user experience perspective: adding an "I want to see adult content" flag to a user's profile. However, from (again, my) developer's perspective, this is also the most costly to implement. Nearly every single "view" (not "page") on the site would need to be modified to support this flag. It's not just a matter of "me" wanting to add adult content to my lists, but also of "you" viewing my profile and feeds. It'd require a rewrite of the caching engines of the site to support adult vs. non-adult preferences. It affects everything at the stupidest level of detail: should the "You've watched 17 of 34" films statistic on a list count adult content? Should it show "17 of 34" for one user and "17 of 26" to another? Or some horrible amalgamation of "17 of 26 (8 adult films hidden)"? What about all the other stats that are calculated and then cached to prevent recalculation on every page load? For a "simple" site with little traffic, sure, doing all this would be relatively easy. But when you've got hundreds of thousands of users and millions of page requests, you've got a very different set of problems to solve. For a "small and busy" team like Letterboxd, this suggestion would likely take months of careful and concerted work for, likely, the smallest percentage of their user base. And any rendering bug would open Letterboxd to the same can of worms as the first solution above.
Robert Beveridge commented
Please address this. The suggestion, made multiple times, of hiding/showing by user account is likely the best way to go here.
I'd argue all adult films are "actual films". It's incredibly ignorant to discount an entire genre of filmmaking like that. And yes some might be more objectively artistically minded than others, but same goes for any genre. There exist a great many adult films that I'd argue constitute genuine works of art.
I suggest that pages marked as "adult" be filtered from searches and blocked *by default*, but once a user makes an account they can go into the settings and turn the filter off if they so choose. Some of my genuine favourite films can't be listed on Letterboxd just because they happen to have sex in them.
Ruggero "GasmaskAvenger" Jacopetti commented
So why is The Sinful Dwarf banned from Letterboxd?
Its more sexploitation than outright pornography, IMO.
It would be great if there was an accept or deny adult content option in the user settings.
Peter Spencer commented
Yes, they are not "actual films" but they're films nonetheless, and some people watch them.
So I think letterbox should include such films from Digital Playground to Dorcel.
I especially would LOVE to review Vixen's After Dark, starring Tori Black.
So let's add adult movies on letterbox.
Those in favour, send a vote!
It's now been almost 5 years since this topic was started, what's happening? There's not much to be added than what has already been more eloquently stated but this should be resolved sooner rather than later - it's incredibly frustrating not to be able to log some movies, not to mention the fact that certiain directors filmographies (Jess Franco, Joe D'Amato, Andrea Bianchi, Roger Watkins, Radley Metzger to name a few) are incomplete.
The hypocrisy in allowing certain sexually explicit films (Gaspar Noe's "Love", Lars Von Triers "The Idiots", Nagisa Oshima's "In the realm of the senses" etc. etc.), but still banning others which I assume are deemed "less worthy" because there is not a recognized name attached to them is quite sad.