American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
There’s a rumor that Stanley Kubrick once considered making a big budget pornographic film just to show people how it should be done. I’m not sure it would have worked. Hard-core pornography has a way of moving beyond eroticism and into images of clinical detail. I’ve always found soft-core movies more erotic.
But it would be interesting to see how a really great director would handle the subject. The most erotic films I’ve seen have been more suggestive than explicit, and a short list might include Ingmar Bergman’s “The Silence,” certain passages from Fellini, Eric Rohmer’s “Chloe in the Afternoon” and a Chicago Film Festival winner, Vera Chytilova’s “The Fruit of Paradise.”
The only hard-core film I’ve seen that was effectively erotic was “The Devil in Miss Jones” -- and it was erotic not because of its hard-core content but in spite of it. It worked because its star, Georgina Spelvin, was so able to project emotion, involvement, and abandon. Now comes a porno movie said to be even better, “Behind the Green Door.” It isn’t.
It doesn’t work even though it has high-quality camera work, imaginative use of music and visual effects, and Marilyn Chambers. She is the most beautiful porno actress yet. (You may find her smiling out at you from the front of our Ivory Snow box.) And there’s no denying that in the movie’s trapeze scene she qualifies as the busiest actress in porno history.