dir. DON JURWICH USA | 1976 77 mins
The wild 1970s in the whirling pornographic persiflage of some fundamental Westerncivilization fairy tales. Dropouts from the Hanna-Barbera studio have filmed their hidden obsessions.
In general, the cinematography of the 1970s brought the breaking of many taboos concerning presentations of sex and violence. The combined pornographic retelling of popular fairy tales, Once Upon a Girl ... is an exemplary sample of the poetics of its time and, to many, a relic of a bygone era, pointing out its hysterical hunt for arousing a physical reaction in the audience. For that matter, the seventies are referred to through allusions to other period works, for example by a direct visual citation of Vampirella, a famous comic hero. Behind the project were a couple of bored animators and workers of the Hanna Barbera studio, who cooperated in the making of popular cartoon series such as Scooby-Doo and The Flintstones. The father of the idea was the renowned animator and producer Don Jurwich. The film outraged a lot of people, and until today it was promoted as "a work which almost destroyed the careers of those who worked on it". Quite logically, it soon acquired a cult status as well.
Once Upon a Girl... combines short jump cuts with live action as where Mother Goose is driven to the court and accused of obscenity. In her defense, she gives evidence of what really happened between the Prince and Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and those she met in the woods and what the real adventures of Jack and his giant beanstalk were. The evidence is already narrated in animation, distinctly referring to the style of the studio the cut-loose makers came from. On the whole, the film is episodic in character, with individual sequences of a repetitive pattern. Within the limits of the notorious stories the characters glide from their expected and expectable behavior into a most bizarre sexual action. However, one must admit that Don Jurwich maintained a delicate decency, as far as possible and admissible in the porn genre.
Within the distribution conditions of today, the film would never have made it to the cinema screens; however, the loosened and revolutionary atmosphere of thirty years ago made it possible, although even then it was a short journey taken by the animated porn before it was submerged in the fans' underground and under the counter unoffi cial distribution. In the 1990s the film was released on DVD under the patronage of the Severin Films company which gives all its love to filling the market with the most obscure pornographic films, frequently created as a pastiche of works of classic cinematography. Besides the opportunity for viewers to watch the uncensored version of this subversive corporeal play, the DVD also offers a bonus in the form of an unusually honest interview with the producer William Silberkleit, who speaks about the economic aspect of exploitation films with unexcited openness. Both the interview and the film are impressive proof of the mentality of the film industry in the rebellious seventies.
Don Jurwich graduated in animation and design at the Art Center College of Design in 1954. During his longtime career as an animator he worked for several prominent American studios, working for Hanna-Barbera studio for several decades (1965-1995), where he collaborated on a number of classic TV animation series (Tom and Jerry, Scooby Doo...). FILM BEFORE FILM ATTACK OF THE HUNGRY HUNGRY NIPPLES dir. Walter Santucci | USA | 1997 | 4 mins