If you're a fan of those vintage sex-education films of the 1950s and '60s, this should be right up your alley. The
documentary itself, consisting of (very) short clips of such films, is interspersed with talking-head interviews with
various celebrities and others who experienced the sexual culture of the era firsthand. This format becomes rather tiresome,
as the interviewees ramble on about their disappointing dates, clumsy sexual experiences, and so on. Some of the off-the-cuff
remarks by such interviewees as William Burroughs and Abbie Hoffman are nearly inaudible; some subtitles would have been nice, but unfortunately they're not available on the DVD. If anything, the
film feels more like a trailer for the excellent bonus DVD that accompanies this set.
That bonus DVD is the real find here. It consists of ten sex-oriented films, ranging from the '40s through the '60s,
each of which are fascinating to watch. Several films on the subject of venereal disease, aimed at high-school students,
are included, as well as a selection of army training films on the same subject (warning--the army films are extremely,
but necessarily graphic). The most memorable, however, may be the hysterically overwrought, hammily acted selections
made in the mid-'60s by an organization calling itself the Citizens for Decent Literature, "Perversion for Profit" and
"Printed Poison," which concern themselves with the evils of pornographic magazines and trashy sex novels. These two have
to be seen to be believed for their unintentionally hilarious acting and their fear-mongering tactics against skin
magazines and pulp sex paperbacks of the era. (Films such as these probably did more to promote such prurient materials
than discourage them). These films are an interesting historical look into the sexual attitudes of the time.
So, consider HEAVY PETTING merely an introduction to the real prize--the bonus DVD. Three stars--two stars for the
documentary, four stars for the extra films.