The Girl on a Motorcycle, also released as Naked Under Leather, was a 1968 romance/psychedelic film directed by Jack Cardiff and starring Marianne Faithfull. It was the first movie to get an X-rating in the USA.
The framing story is that Rebecca, a young, recently married woman, leaves her husband Raymond in bed, dons her one-piece black leather riding suit (and nothing else), revs up her motorcycle, and rides through France and West Germany to her lover Daniel.
Satan in High Heels(1962) is a drama/exploitation film most notable for being produced by Leonard Burtman. Burtman was a major publisher and entrepreneur in the American fetish scene in the 1950s and 1960s. This film and a 1953 film short called Cinderella’s Love Lessons, starring Lili St. Cyr, were his only producer credits. Jerald Intrator, the director, had previously made Striporama (1953), featuring Bettie Page, Lili St. Cyr, and other 50s burlesque queens.
If Bonanza and The Andy Griffith Show were 1962 America as it dreamed of being, Satan in High Heels is the seedy underbelly. Stacey Kane (Meg Myles), a burlesque dancer on a skeezy midway, robs her junkie ex-husband and heads for the big city, where she becomes a nightclub singer and gets involved in the twilight world of quasi-mobsters and sexual deviants. Everybody in this movie smokes like a chimney and drinks like a fish.
Samuel Cook was a serial rapist who attacked
women in their homes in Cambridge, England, between October
1974 and April 1975. He was known in the press as the “Cambridge
There was a peculiarly theatrical quality to
Cook’s crimes. Today, we are still grappling with the idea that
most rapes are committed by people the victim knew. Cook fit the
stereotypical view of a rapist at the time, a socially marginal
figure who broke into homes and assaulted strangers. Reportedly, if
he didn’t find a victim, he would write taunting messages on their
What’s significant for this discussion is that he wore a black leather hood with the word “RAPIST” literally written across the forehead. What puzzled me was, why and how did Cook get a leather mask? An ordinary cloth or wool ski mask or balaclava would have sufficed to conceal his identity.
What are the sartorial origins of the black-clad dominatrix? I will skip the more familiar examples from recent years and try to find the earlier examples.
Certainly everyone will remember Diana Rigg as Mrs. Emma Peel (“Miss SM Appeal”) in the UK spy TV series The Avengers. Her most overtly kinky costumes were features in the episodes “A Touch of Brimstone” and “Death at Bargain Prices.”
Diana Rigg as Emma Peel in The Avengers, wearing the leather jumpsuit costume from “Death at Bargain Prices”
Dressing For Pleasure is a 1977 25-minute documentary directed by John Samson, who made a career out of films about outsider topics (e.g. tattoos, competitive darts, the sexual lives of disabled people).Continue reading »
Despite Vimeo attributing it to Marc Campbell, IMDB lists it as Dressing for Pleasure (1977) directed by John Samson and Mike Wallington, about the 1970s UK leather/rubber/latex scene. Including interviews with John Sutcliffe of Atomage fame, and a clerk at McLaren-Westwood’s SEX shop.
I like the framing device of the models posing in and around a giant book printed, as if the people in the photos and illustrations of something like John Willie’s Bizarre or an Atomage catalogue magically came to life.
Cole, Shaun. ‘Don We Now Our Gay Apparel’: Gay Men’s Dress in the Twentieth Century. Berg, 2000 Amazon
If there’s a predominant theme in Cole’s book on the history of gay fashion in the twentieth century, it’s that gay fashion is always imperfectly mimetic, a tangled mix of “passing, minstrelization and capitulation”, to quote sociologist Martin P. Levine (pg. 3)
Vintage Sleaze has a post on Tana Louise, the premier fetish/bondage model before Bettie Page and girlfriend of bondage pioneer Lenny Burtman.
The post ends with stating that the 1940s/1950s porn/fetish/kink world is still largely unexplored:
There are thousands of untold stories from the golden days of sleaze, as this blog proves, and that there have been over 800 posts here already only indicates how many more are to be told. Yet, from this writer’s perch, Tana Louise is the MAJOR untold story of the 1950s. A story not even scratched.