The Library of Spanking Fiction: Wellred Weekly

Wellred Weekly
Volume 1, Number 12 : December 7, 2012
Items of interest regarding all things spanking

Spanking in Film: the Early Years (cont.)
by Jameslovebirch

The western TV series Wagon Train delivered one of television's most explosive spankings in The Maggie Hamilton Story (1960). In typical fashion, a spoiled young woman (Susan Oliver) is transformed into a good girl after the man asserts his dominance by pulling up her skirt and giving her a well-deserved OTK whupping on her exposed bloomers.

Among the countless films with playful, single-swat scenes, the only one worth mentioning is Adam's Rib (1949) with Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. Tracy gives Hepburn a massage while they argue. He finishes with a strong backside smack. She is outraged and recites a detailed analysis of the psychology behind the hard slap. To this, a bemused Tracy quips: "What do you have back there, radar?"

Adam's RibThe Maggie Hamilton Story (Wagon Train)

Intentional or not, one of the kinkiest punishment scenes in a mainstream film appears in the romantic comedy Bachelor Flat (1962). Terry-Thomas dreams that Tuesday Weld is an inmate in a cruel prison. "They beat me here," she pleads. We see her shadow as she bends forward and gets six hard strokes with a leather strap. (This scene can be viewed on YouTube.)

Three exceptions
Three highly unusual films, Slaves in Bondage (1937), The Roots of Heaven (1958), and The Misfits (1961), dared to show other aspects of corporal punishment (CP).

Slaves in Bondage is an obscure, low-budget exploitation film about prostitution. This turgid expose has one astonishing and unique moment. As a brothel madam shows her "specialty" rooms to a new girl, we see two lingerie-clad hookers playfully wresting on a bed and taking turns spanking each other. This is the first (and only) known mainstream film of this era to show corporal punishment as a sexual turn on (in a brothel, no less). Plus, the implied lesbianism and hint of masochism in the scene enhances its forbidden allure. (The complete film can be watched at the Internet Archive.)

In The Roots of Heaven, a band of militant environmentalists in Africa raid an elegant soiree of smug, elephant-hunting aristocrats. They punish the matronly hostess by giving her "twelve of the best" an embarrassing over-the knee bare-bottom spanking in front of her guests. The hostess' cries of pain, outrage and humiliation ("This is really awful!") are priceless. This is a unique example of CP used as a tool of social protest. A video clip of this scene is available at Metacafe.

The Roots of HeavenSlaves in Bondage

The Misfits, directed by John Huston, presents a memorable non-punishment hand-smacking that combines eroticism with humiliation. Marilyn Monroe, in her final role, plays a troubled exotic dancer who longs for a new life and respectability. At a rowdy cowboy bar, she finds a child's paddle with a ball attached on a rubber string. Showing off her skills, she whacks the ball continuously while the excited crowd places bets on how long she can keep going. Her technique involves a sexy hip-shaking movement that over-stimulates one of the leering patrons. He reaches out and smacks her voluptuous behind about a dozen times before the scene ends in a scuffle. So much for respectability.

Underground films, Irving Klaw and Bettie Page
The earliest known fetish films showing spanking, bondage, and whipping date back to the 1920s. These were created by the mostly anonymous makers of pornographic "stag films", primarily in France. A number of silent film-loops from the 1920s to the 1940s have been rediscovered and preserved, including a few by fetish photographer Jacques Biederer at his Ostra Studio in Paris. Nearly all of these films, with the exception of Biederer's, feature explicit sex scenes.

A silent featurette called The Casting Couch (c. 1924) is perhaps the earliest American stag film with a spanking scene. This has an unusual sequence of male bondage and F/M cropping.

From the late 1940s until 1957, New York shop-owner, photographer, and film director Irving Klaw added a catalog of groundbreaking erotica to his pin-up photo business. His clients requested a variety of fetishistic images, and Klaw was happy to oblige. Shortly after hiring model Bettie Page in 1952, Klaw started making short BDSM film-loops, perhaps the first of their kind. Page and other underwear-clad women in high heels performed in dozens of 16mm shorts featuring bondage, spanking, pony play, and slave training.

Unlike the hardcore stag films of that era, there is no nudity, sex scenes, or sadism in any of Klaw's films. The tone is generally lighthearted, almost playful at times. Even while portraying a stern dominatrix or bound submissive, Bettie Page often used campy mannerisms or winked at the camera to indicate that it was all a lark. Like the erotic French postcards of an earlier era, these are frolics of fantasy without any menace or realism. These specialized featurettes (and photos) were under-the-counter products sold discreetly at Klaw's store, Movie Star News, and by mail order.

When it comes to pure, non-pornographic fetish films, Klaw stands alone without any comparable contemporaries. Only a handful of 8mm loops from the '50s, by producers who may forever remain anonymous, have been rediscovered and preserved. Klaw was forced to quit making films in 1957 due to pressure from State authorities intent on putting him out of business.

By the mid-1960s, with the introduction of Super 8 film, underground bondage/spanking film-loops inspired by Klaw (now with nudity but no sex scenes) began to thrive. The production of these short films continued until the home video market emerged in the 1980s. In fact, several well-known fetish film producers such as Nu-West/Leda Productions and House of Milan started out in the late '70s making silent film-loops.

Five volumes of vintage pornographic films showing erotic bondage, spanking and whipping from the 1920s to the 1960s have been released by Cult Epics, the same company that re-issued Irving Klaw's fetish films on DVD. The Bizarro Sex Loops series from Something Weird Video contains many volumes of bondage/spanking reels from the '50s to the '70s.

The four-decade run of Hollywood films with comedic corporal punishment scenes faded away soon after Donnovan's Reef and McLintock! (both from 1963). However, many U.S. television shows, particularly westerns (Bonanza, The Big Valley, Rawhide, et al.) and sitcoms such as Gidget, continued the tradition for a few more years.

Woman of Fire (Bonanza)Big Valley

Jameslovebirch is a regular contributor to the Spanking Art Wiki

rollin said...
One thing left out, I think and that was the soft core porn films of the 60's and 70' by David (?) Friedman and Entertainment Ventures, Inc. He included a spanking or whipping scene in nearly all of them including "Thar She Blows", "The Masterpiece", "Starlet," "Ribald Tales of Robin Hood" and "The Ramrodder". And that's not an exhaustive list. The best one was a spy spoof called "S.M.U.T." which featured a paddling with a ping pong paddle by a nazi-ish elevator operator. (I'm not kidding!).
7 December 2012 22:52
roycon said...
Well done!
8 December 2012 14:10
Alef said...
Extremely interesting and well written! Thank you.
9 December 2012 11:22
sixofthebest said...
I am pleased that the article of early spanking films mentions my favorite, called "Roots of Heaven". For I have always loved the spanking scene, where that naughty big game huntress, Madame Orsini, is given a humiliating 'twelve of the best' spanks.
9 December 2012 20:10
bendover said...
I've seen quite a few of these films as I grew up. None of them were really breathtaking at all, but they did give a bit of excitement during the scenes. I often wondered if the writers had some sort of spanko attitude as I grew into adulthood.

In the movie Joe The King, where little Joe was spanked, pants down and bare bottom in front of the class was one such incident. the director, Frank Whaley said in an interview that he took the scene to the screen because it was actually something that happened to him in real life.
9 December 2012 20:18
Robert56 said...
I also remember one from the early 70's called "The House that Screamed" which was a horror film that contained the whipping of one of the girls.
11 December 2012 18:41
mati said...
Thanks for this interesting overview.
12 December 2012 07:08
tiptopper said...
The switching in True Grit can be seen at:
14 December 2012 04:22
Wheatwine said...
Who got spanked on Gidget? Was it Sally Field?
16 December 2012 19:14
barretthunter said...
I liked the BIg Valley still. The title could carry a double meaning!
17 December 2012 10:53
Jameslovebirch said...
To answer the above posts: This is only the first half of a longer article from Spanking Art Wikipedia (The History of Spanking in Film). I assume the rest will be in the next issue. In it I cover the sexploitation films of the 60s and other genres leading up to the present day. To answer Wheatwine, Sally Field and Brooke Bundy both got it in two episodes of Gidget.
12 February 2013 12:58
jimc said...
i did enjoy the research and the presentation of this series. i did feel sad at the demise of spanking in film as it did seem to end in 1963 with blue hawaii; mcclintock and donovan's reef. (it did seem that many years did pass before it was again spanking in films. it did seem that there were some stars or writers that did indeed think spanking was accepted. (Tim Holt comes to mind and it seems like almost all of his movies had spanking in them) I almost think spanking in tv series could almost be a seperate enity unto itself. I say this because it was in mostly westerns, but did have a couple of situation comedies that did have spanking. thanks for a great series
13 February 2013 00:39
redstar said...
There's a clip online (Daily Motion) of a French Film from the 50s called 'Gervais', based on a Zola novel, I think. It features women working in a laundry who have a fight on the wet soapy floor. One overcomes the other, sits on her back, pulls up her skirt, rips open her drawers and proceeds to thrash her with a wooden paddle while the other launderesses cheer her on. Eventually they drag her off.
17 February 2013 22:15
redstar said...
ooops! Obviously I didn't read the previous page before I posted my comment! Sorry!
17 February 2013 22:18
svanbeke said...
Great subject, several European films have similar scenes, even today!
20 February 2013 01:16
onegame said...
Now that is what movies need nowadays - a women getting her backside spanked by a man. They mention it occasionally but hardly ever spank the girl, what a shame.
27 February 2013 03:52
Minidancer said...
The spanking in Roots of Heaven is very good...even though you dont see anything! I think it is the fact that it is a public spanking that appeals to me. But i have to argue about whether it is a bare bottomed spanking or not. it clearly shows the skirt being raised but there is no arm movement or scene to show that her knickers are then pulled down. admittedly the sounds of the smacks do resemble hand on flesh. But an added glimpse of silk dangling around her ankles would have made the scene perfect!
27 February 2013 16:57
sixofthebest said...
When the Academy Awards were on the other day, they mentioned that an actor by the name of Herbert Lom passed away. A great actor of many movies. In one particular movie which all of us spanko's should remember he uttered this line, speaking as Monsieur Orsini: "If you touch one hair of her head..." The answer from Trevor Howard, speaking as Morel said, "It's not her hair that is going to be touched." Madame Orsini then had her dress raised waist high and was spanked on her bare bottom with her so-called friends looking on.
3 March 2013 20:47
sfOldBoy said...
A fascinating and thorough examination of this subject. However, the long, painful and exhaustive research necessary to compile such a detailed listing must have been excruciating. Looking forward to more, more, more!
22 April 2013 23:40
Jameslovebirch said...
Answer to sfOldBoy: I don't know if your comment was ironic or not, but researching and writing the above article was anything but excruciating. It was great fun and relatively easy to do, thanks to the internet. I enjoy writing about various film genres as a hobby (for Wikipedia, et al.), and this subject was a joy to research. I hope the second half of the article is published in the next issue.
4 May 2013 17:13

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