"Thank God for film archivist Dennis Nyback. If not for his encyclopedic knowledge of rare films and his tenacity for acquiring them, we would never have the privilege to view some astounding works of cinema." Kim Morgan

Dennis Nyback takes his films around the world. Find out how to book a show, what programs are available, how to arrange for custom programming, and just about anything you would like to know about Dennis Nyback.

Stag Party Reviewed

Illusionaire’s Musings: March 2002 Archives
March 22, 2002

After having dinner at Dot’s,

After having dinner at Dot’s, Ryan and I went to see a special feature at the Clinton Street Theater. The fun thing about the Clinton is that their film archivist has got some of the craziest stuff imaginable in his collection. They usually play indie and foreign films, but when the archivist is planning a program of short films, it’s important to pay attention because there is a good chance that this is stuff that you may not be able to see anywhere else.

The show last night? Stag films from the 1920’s – 1950’s. There was a great intro about how illegal they had been to produce and transport, but that they were very popular at men’s service clubs around the country. Women were not allowed to view them at the time. Apparently the film archivist picked up many of these gems at flea markets. The stag films were interspersed with “teasers” and other risque films that were not technically stag films, but fit into the spirit of the evening. Since the stag films did not have soundtracks, he played racy period songs for background music. (The songs were pretty entertaining on their own!) Some notes:

  • It is possible for a woman to pick up a dollar bill without using her hands, feet, or mouth. (I’ll let you figure that one out.)
  • Live eels can be used in innovative ways.
  • Small dogs can lose their balance on larger women.
  • Contemporary camera angles are not original.
  • Some of these film producers had a really wicked sense of humor.

There was one very amateur-looking one where the woman would notice the camera from time to time, then smile as if to say, “Hi Mom!”, and then another where the woman kicked the man out because he didn’t measure up to her standards. Funny to know that the industry has pretty well established roots, and that these films weren’t nearly as degrading to women as I thought they would be. The evening was more educational than I anticipated.

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