bdmetronews Desk ॥ As the creator of the popular website Mr. Skin, Jim McBride has spent over two decades celebrating and cataloging nudity in movies.
But in producing his first motion picture, the new documentary Skin: A History of Nudity in the Movies – which is, well, exactly what it sounds like – McBride wanted to take a more academic approach. Something college professors could show film majors. Call it naked academia. “We didn’t want to do something exploitative, we didn’t want to do a breast fest,” says director Danny Wolf (Time Warp, Gigolos), who McBride recruited onto the project when he realized there had never been a definitive documentary made on the subject. “I think we were able to accomplish the impossible, which making this a legitimate, informative and educational [film that] at the same time, is extremely entertaining.” And make no mistake, it may not be a “breast fest,” there is a lot of skin in Skin.
The film chronologically traces the evolution of onscreen nudity, both male and female, from the advent of film in the late 19th century (“Probably 20 minutes after they invented film somebody thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be neat if we started photographing naked people?,’” UCLA professor Jonathan Kuntz says) through the Fifty Shades of Grey movies of the 2010s. There are explorations into the Silent Film era (1915-1927), the implementation of the nudity-prohibiting Motion Picture Production Code (1935-1968), the growing market for “nudies” in the ‘50s, the swinging ‘60s, and the eve wilder ‘70s, which both McBride and Wolf say marked the most liberal America ever was when it came to on-screen nudity.