A Century of Skin: Nudity’s Eruption into American Cinema

With Magic Mike XXL (our review here), America’s favorite male stripper sequel, hitting theaters on July 1st, we break down just how nudity has become so ingratiated with American cinematic norms. From the barely provocative titillation of the late 1800s (mmmm, ankles) to Channing Tatum wagging his shtick (sadly, not in 3D), we ask how we’ve come so far and wonder how hard the journey has been.

Nudity has been a part of American cinema for over a century. When motion picture cameras were invented, they were immediately used to film people taking off their clothes. Many early films featuring male and female nudity have been completely lost. Early films with nudity were destroyed or censored. More often, like other films of this era, early films with nudity simply chemically disintegrated over time. Read More