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Last night on TCM,  documentary called From Hitler to Hollywood, about genius Weimar filmmakers and stars who fled Berlin when (or after) Hitler came to power in 1933.

People like Marlene Dietrich, director Robert Siodmak, composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold (who scored The Adventures of Robin Hood, which I never thought of as an allegory about the Third Reich, but is), Peter Lorre (a huge star in Europe before he got out), director Fritz Lang, actor Conrad Veidt (Major Strasser in Casablanca and a big star since 1919’s The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari), most of the cast of Casablanca—and not just Lorre and Paul Henreid (resistance leader Victor Laszlo in the film), but also the bartender and the girl Bogart jilted (and comes to the bar with the German soldier, another exile from Weimar), the guy running the roulette wheel (who was in real life married to the jilted girl), and more—all had fled Germany and most were established stars there, reduced to playing bit and supporting roles in the U.S. (if they could find any work).

peterlorrecasablanca

Casablanca: Peter Lorre gets arrested and later offed by the authorities–something that could’ve happened to him in real life, which is why he left Berlin.

I learned a lot about some crucial eras in film making, and how the German emigrant film community helped get colleagues out of Europe and find them jobs in Hollywood. Most weren’t successful.

Maybe the best known and smartest of the emigrants was Billy Wilder, who directed Double Indemnity and Some Like It Hot. He’s interviewed a lot in the film. At one point he says something that really resonated, something like, “I just made films I wanted to see. Sometimes it worked out that the audiences wanted to see them, too” (I paraphrase).

I don’t mean to compare myself with a famous Hollywood director and writer (who probably was a genius), but that’s what I try to do in my erotica—write sex stories that I’d like to read. I write what turns me on. And, trust me, there’s a lot of pressure from other erotica writers, a lot of conventional wisdom that says don’t do that. They say, Find your niche. Don’t offend readers by switching gears (kinks). Stick to one kink and churn it out. Over and over. It’s all about sales.

I say, fuck that. Why can’t I, say, write a female character who joyfully (and graphically) enjoys sex with herself, a male lover, and another woman? Why do I have to write stuff that doesn’t turn me on?

Obviously, I don’t. So I resist the pressure and write stories about anal sex,  pseudo-incest,  a lesbian falling for a trans woman,  a threesome that combines MF, FF, FFM, femdom, BBC and probably a couple other kinks I can’t remember. All in one story.

But the pressure to make money is intense. I’m warned, don’t do it.

Instead, I stick to my guns and rate a story by how many times I interrupt myself to masturbate.

I take validation where I find it. Billy Wilder nailed it.