Titanic. Two Moon Junction. A Night in Heaven. Sirens. Henry & June. 9 Songs. Lady Chatterley. And more. A new "body guy" genre has emerged in film during the last twenty years-a working-class man of the earth or bohemian artist awakens and fulfills the sexuality of a beautiful, intelligent woman frequently married or engaged to a sexually incompetent, educated, upper-class man. This body guy exhibits a masterful athletic, penile-centered sexual performance that enlivens and transforms the previously discontented woman's life.
Peter Lehman and Susan Hunt relate a host of wide-ranging films to a literary tradition dating back to D. H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover and an emerging body culture of our time. Through an engaging and compelling narrative, they argue that the hero's body, lovemaking style, and penis-revealed through extensive male nudity-celebrate conformity to norms of masculinity and male sexuality. Simultaneously, these films denigrate the vital, creative, erotic world of the mind. Just when women began to successfully compete with men in the workplace, these movies, if you will, unzip the penis as the one thing women do not have but want and need for their fulfillment.
But Lehman and Hunt also find signs of a yearning for alternative forms of sexual and erotic pleasure in film, embracing diverse bodies and vibrant minds. Lady Chatterley's Legacy in the Movies shows how filmmakers, spectators, and all of us can be empowered to dethrone the body guy, his privileged body, and preferred style of lovemaking, replacing it with a wide range of alternatives.