In part one, I gave you the background on Strategically Covered Nudity (SCN). Now it's time to take a look at its taxonomy. You see, it comes in a variety of forms, and I aim to provide you with examples of each. Certainly, if there are any that have been overlooked, please chime in.
In this post we will focus strictly on cinematic examples. Please understand that SCN occurs in comics, paperback covers, album covers, advertising, etc. There's plenty of ground to cover; the movies seem the logical place to start. Enjoy.
THE MODESTY BEDSHEET
It's highly illogical that women in the midst of passion would care whether they are fully covered, but that is precisely what Patti D'Arbanville in Modern Problems (1980) does. In fact, when her bedding starts to droop below the areola line, Patti, mid orgasm, has the piece of mind to slyly cover up. This trope is older than feudalism, and has lots of examples.
THE BASHFUL BLUR
Halloween II had no problem showing us Pamela Susan Shoop's boobs, but when it came to the pelvic area, it was time to keep things thoroughly out of focus.
THE STEAM CENSOR
Steam is a handy way of keeping naughty parts blurry. Speaking of the Halloween franchise, Halloween III: Season of the Witch had a fine example of that featuring Stacey Nelkin.
THE FROSTED GLASS OF SUPPRESSION
|Maud Adams in The Man with the Golden Gun|
Akin to the Steam Censor is the Frosted Glass of Suppression. Generally used in shower scenes, the glass is always just textured enough to obscure important anatomy. Yet, there's enough to see to provide mild enjoyment (unlike say, a shower curtain).
RANDOM BARS OF CENSORSHIP
Basically, props function as the stereotypical black rectangle censorship bars. In the scene above from Lifeforce (1985), a random strip of duct tape (?) makes sure we don't see too much of Matilda May. This despite the fact that she bares the goods in a respectable number of scenes in the film.
In SCN Part One, I mentioned Casino Royal and Gotham - both contain the dreaded bars...
|Daliah Lavi in Casino Royal (1967)|
|Anna Aries in Invasion of the Bee Girls (1973)|
There's a subtle difference between this form of censorship and other means which employ set pieces such as the previous Random Bars of Censorship. This is generally something in the foreground that just happens to obliterate any clear shot of nudity. The wine glass in Colossus: The Forbin Project (demonstrated in part one) is my favorite example. However, the strategically placed circle (some sort of hokey tech piece) in Invasion of the Bee Girls illustrates the tactic pretty well also. (Note that the Frosted Glass of Suppression above is an in-house censorship, not from the film).
|Margot Kidder in The Amityville Horror (1979)|
|Rebecca De Mornay in And God Created Woman (1988)|
TEXT OF CONCEALMENT
While more common in comic books (via perfectly placed speech bubbles) and magazine covers, it still occurs in film from time to time. The most notable example, perhaps, is the endlessly frustrating opening to Barbarella. Between quirky camera angles, quick cutaways and strategically placed text, it's virtually impossible to get a good look at a fully naked Fonda.
|Lana Clarkson in Barbarian Queen (1985)|
|Joey Heatherton in Bluebeard (1972)|
Afraid your film might get slapped with an R rating... or worse? Might I suggest you tone down your nudity with some sheer apparel. Transparent enough to get their attention, but opaque enough to keep the pesky ratings board quiet.
SIDE-VIEW MAKES IT OKAY
|Catherine Spaak in The Libertine (1968)|
The beauty of side-view shots is that no naughty bits are in plain sight. Precise camera positioning can even eliminate the hint of a butt crack. Yep. Side-view lets you feel all "edgy" inside by having a chick fully nude in your picture, while at the same time, completely safe and inoffensive.
THE DARKNESS CRUTCH
|Cristina Cottrelli in Pieces (1982)|
The simplest and laziest method by far is to just make the scene too damn dark to make out any well defined naughty bits. Sure, it can ruin a scene by making it incomprehensible, but sometimes it's the only way to go. The audience knows the "good stuff" is somewhere in the murk, but squinting won't help - The Darkness Crutch is in full effect, baby.
THE GREAT WALL OF PURITY
|The X from Outer Space (1967)|
Sometimes as a director you just feel like giving the audiences the bird. "Look. Here's two chicks naked and showering.... but guess what? You're not even going to come close to seeing it."
|Janie Squire in Piranha (1978)|
Who hasn't tried to get a clear glimpse of Christie Brinkley's boobs in the pool scene in National Lampoon's Vacation? It's futile, but the eyes and the mind strain nonetheless. The refractive properties of water are censor's best friend.
THE DREADED BACK TURN
|Mountaintop Motel Massacre (1986)|
|Linda Coombs in The Sex Thief (1973)|
I'll end with the granddaddy of them all. Soap bubbles have been confounding male audiences for decades. Used to their absurd limit in Bob Hope's Boy, Did I Get A Wrong Number! (mentioned in Part 1). Someone at MIT needs to research how these bubbles somehow "know" to accumulate around the naughty parts. Perhaps there's a mysterious force at work.... perhaps this could lead to the Grand Unifying Theory of the Universe. You never know.