Mädchen gone wild

Schoolgirl Report DVD series revives salacious '70s German sexploitation

Schoolgirl Report #6

Every nation had its distinct cinematic response to the sexual revolution of the 1960s and '70s. Germany's was characteristic in offering the pretense of order, "scientific" educational value, and encouraging a healthy collective morality — even if all this was usually mere gloss over the usual, more marketable qualities of copious T&A.

Encouraged by Scandinavian films already tearing down censorship barriers worldwide, Deutschland screens (the free-Western ones only, needless to say) began addressing the matter directly in 1968. Then, Oswalt Kolle, a psychiatrist's son and tabloid journalist turned celebrity sex educator, commenced making features like Sexual Partnership (1968), The Sensual Male (1970), and Your Child, That Unknown Creature (1970). These fairly sober mixtures of documentary and dramatized "case histories" were as widely translated as his writings. (Nonetheless, Kolle and his family relocated to Amsterdam, citing constant harassment by conservative German politicians and media as the cause.)

Such success inevitably attracted imitation. Dr. Gunther Hunold's Schulmädchen-Report had made best-seller waves with its collection of interviews with 14- to 20-year-old women about their sexual experiences and opinions. Enter Wolf C. Hartwig of Rapid Film, producer-distributor of such savory titles as Satan Tempts With Love (1960) and Your Body Belongs to Me (1959). He bought the book's film rights, retaining Hunold as co-scenarist and consultant for 1970's Schoolgirl Report: What Parents Don't Think Is Possible, which proved so enormously popular that an entire national subgenre was born.

The resulting series of Schoolgirl Report features stretched through the entire Me Decade. All 13 are being issued on DVD by the Impulse Pictures label of South San Francisco's CAV Distributing Corporation, a project that reaches its precise midpoint next month with 1974's Schoolgirl Report Volume 7: What the Heart Must Thereby .... Watching too many of these interchangeable vintage sexploitation "documentaries" in close succession can be hazardous to your mental health, but in moderation — as with most things - — they prove instructive.

Volume 1 set the mold, sometimes in stone: factors like the groovy Farfisa-acid guitar-flute rock instrumental theme by Gert Wilden and His Orchestra (whose original soundtracks would continue to run a delightfully dated gamut from go-go discotheque to cocktail jazz to Mantovani-like schmuzak), cheap production values, Ernst Hofbauer's on-the-nose direction, the wooden acting (despite allegedly "starring many anonymous youths and parents"), and an entire opening credits sequence would scarcely budge in film after film. More flexible within a limited range were the bodies bared by 20-something actors playing teens (seldom convincingly) and the framing devices for each installation of variably comic, dramatic, and tragic vignettes.

The first movie started with a flower-decal-covered VW full of hippie chicks and dudes driving by as a female voice says "That's us: today's youth. We want a new morality without hypocrisy." Then an actor playing a reporter announces this "effective and spontaneous documentary shows our youth as they really are. [It] will open many parents' eyes."

More likely the Schoolgirl films opened a lot of men's pants. For all the earnest jabber about "sexual prejudice and why German families hang on to it," Hartwig, Hofbauer, scenarist Gunther Heller (Hunold split after the series' launch) and company weren't interested in liberating minds — let alone promoting feminism — so much as wrapping age-old male fantasies in a cloak of socioanthropological inquiry.

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