“THE BED”— 1967 and Full-Frontal Male Nudity

“The Bed”

1967 and Full-Frontal Male Nudity

Amos Lassen

James Broughton, a gay poet and artist made the short film “The Bed” in 1967 and it is regarded as “the first non-pornographic US film with full nudity”. It has remained an underground, midnight movie favorite but not many people have had the chance to see it since these days it is only available on line and in DVD compilations of Broughton’s work. It is a surreal short that depicts life a it revolves around a bed. We see the bed roll down the mountain and innocent nude lovers appear, the tempter/Pan plays a saxophone and a snake slithers on the bed, a mother prepares the bed, other rituals are performed, a baby appears, a lizard comes out of a man’s mouth, and then a whole slew of varied and symbolic characters sleep in it, usually naked and often making love or participating in various pleasures and playing odd games. Sex games grow in their kinkiness, until, eventually, people get sick and die on the bed. What the film is then is a poetic, erotic homage to an important piece of furniture.

The characters are beauties of all ages, including a coterie of young dance students, famous artists and avant-garde celebrities. This is strange, mischievous and anarchic film that takes a look at all sorts of things that could happen on a bed – gay, straight, bisexual, mundane, silly and occasionally sexy – and all with plenty of nudity. Some of the imagery is quite bizarre but then there are those that do bizarre things in bed.

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