In 1969, Denmark became the first country in the world to pass a law legalising visual pornography, and at the beginning of the 1970s, Danish filmmakers earned a lot of money from this niche market.
However, a collection of films recently unearthed in the archives of state broadcaster Danmarks Radio shows this was not new.
A box containing over 20 different silent black and white erotic films on 16mm rolls was found in a temperature-controlled room in DR’s cellars, reports DR Nyheder.
Experts agree the films are unique and date from the start of the 1900s to the 1950s and come from different countries such as Germany, France, Denmark and the United States.
Not so straight-laced
Most of the films are pretty hardcore, but some are milder such as a striptease film from Germany from the late 1930s and the humorously-titled ‘Wrong Address’ from around 1951, in which a middle-aged office worker is surprised by a succession of young women who come into his office and take off their clothes.
Generally speaking the films are three to ten minutes long and show all varieties of sex as well as different sexual proclivities such as sado-masochism.
A number of the films also include type-written notes with descriptions of the action and short assessments of the film’s artistic quality and the performance of the actors.
“This collection is amazing. I’ve never seen anything like it,” said the historian and author Thomas Oldrup who has specialised in sex throughout history.
“As well as being historical curios, these films are very interesting and relevant – for example when you have a program in which you want to focus on body ideals, sex, lingerie fashions or this kind of thing,” added Oscar Rishede, a DR archivist involved in the discovery of the films.
Nobody seems to know exactly where the films came from, but according to the archival records, the collection first appeared in 1974 – a couple of years after visual pornography was legalised.
Otherwise, the only other clue is that they were registered as ‘Meyer’s collection’, but who Meyer is remains a mystery.
DR is appealing for further information about the films, so if any of our readers can help, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org