The Skin: A History of Nudity in the Movies trailer has arrived. The definitive documentary on the history of nudity in the movies begins with the silent movie era and moves through to present day. Director Danny Wolf examines the changes in morality that led to the use of nudity on the big screen, while emphasizing the political, sociological, and artistic changes that shaped this rich history. Nudity has always been controversial even as new dialogues continue on the subject as to whether it is right or wrong.
The Skin: A History of Nudity in the Movies documentary features revealing interviews with actors including Pam Grier, Eric Roberts, Shannon Elizabeth, Sean Young, and Malcolm McDowell, along with directors Peter Bogdanovich (The Last Picture Show), Kevin Smith (Clerks), and Amy Heckerling (Fast Times at Ridgemont High). In the trailer, we see American Pie’s Shannon Elizabeth talking about the benefits of tackling nudity so early on in her career. Mariel Hemingway also credits her willingness to perform nude as something that helped her career.
However, not everybody is as lucky as Shannon Elizabeth and Mariel Hemingway. There is a dark side to the industry, which is also explored in Skin: A History of Nudity in the Movies. The documentary delves into the gender bias concerning nudity in motion pictures and will follow the revolution that has pushed for gender equality in feature films today. A deep discussion of pre-code Hollywood and its amoral roots, the censorship that “cleaned up” Hollywood and how the MPAA was formed leads into a discussion of how nudity changed cinematic culture through the decades. It culminates in a discussion of “what are nude scenes like in the age of the #MeToo movement?”
Even today, most of the nudity found on-screen is from women. It has only been recently that men have been taking part more, but still not nearly as much as women. The #MeToo and Time’s Up movements have helped to open up a new dialogue, but the future is still uncertain as to how nudity works safely for everyone involved on a Hollywood set. With that being said, new protocols have been put in place by SAG-AFRTA as of this year. Intimacy coordinators on sets now have more power than ever to address the problem of sexual harassment on sets.
It’s even been said that the future of sex scenes on the big screen will be through the use of CGI, which is a whole other argument. It’s not clear at this time if the documentary will get into the new technological horizons. Skin: A History of Nudity in the Movies is directed by Danny Wolf, produced by Paul Fishbein, and executive produced by Jim McBride, aka Mr. Skin. Skin: A History of Nudity in the Movies released on demand August 18th. You can check out the SFW trailer above, thanks to the Quiver Distribution YouTube channel.
Writer for Movieweb since 2017. Enjoys playing Catan when not writing about superheroes and Star Wars.