Behind the Green Door (1972)

Taxi Driver’s Eyes Wide

No history of film can evade porn. Some of it contains some clever ideas and every once in a while it actually influenced something. That’s the case with this.

Schrader has explicitly said that this influenced his “Taxi Driver” in the notion of someone driving around and creating a whole imagined sexual narrative. Kubrick has admitted no such thing with his “Eyes Wide Shut”, but one is tempted to make a dual connection: the private sex club with masked men and the imaginary narrative. (“Eyes” is about a dialog between two dreams.)

Here’s the story: A guy drives a long time, giving us the impression that this defines his character. He enters a diner and meets a friend. The two spin a tale which constitutes the remainder of the movie.

But that isn’t a simple tale. It has another nesting: the same two guys engaged in inane conversation on a restaurant terrace, while a plain girl (the only other being present) occupies a nearby table. Then we have an improbable story which could be the fabrication of the two in the diner, or the one (the driver) in looking at the girl on the terrace. (Or all could be something imagined by the driver while driving. We get a hint at the end that the latter is more probable.)

That tale is that she is abducted and placed on a stage in a private sex club so they can watch an innocent be ravished. Now begins the porn section which I suppose is tame by today’s standard. It includes a racial stereotype that Spike Lee should have put in “Bamboozled” (except he exploits that one himself).

Within that stage scene is a bizarrely psychedelic cinematic celebration of the ejaculation. Like everything in this project, the quality is laughable. But the idea is that we have four nestings.

Then the first framing is closed and we are back at the diner. The cook asks what happened next. The driver leaves and drives a very long time, during which he imagines the girl again (and we have another porn sequence).

Posted in 2005

Ted’s Evaluation — 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.


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