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Heavy Petting


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Product Details

  • Actors: Spalding Gray, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Sandra Bernhard, David Byrne
  • Directors: Obie Benz
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Color, Special Edition, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: May 29, 2007
  • Run Time: 75 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000NVL014
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #384,986 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Heavy Petting" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Rare extended sexual confessions of Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Spalding Gray, Abbie Hoffman, and more
  • Filmmaker interview
  • Ten sex-ed, anti-pornography, and VD scare films of the '30s, '40s, and '50s: As Boys Grow..., Molly Grows Up, Dance Little Children, The Innocent Party, In Defense of the Nation, Easy to Get, Know for Sure, Perversion for Profit, Printed Poison, Social-Sex Attitudes in Adolescence

Editorial Reviews

HEAVY PETTING is a hilarious and salacious exploration of the sexual mores of the 50s as seen through the eyes of a generation that lived through the Sexual Revolution. Creative baby boomers--including musician David Byrne, performance artist Spalding Gray, comedian Sandra Bernhard, radical activist Abbie Hoffman, and poet Allen Ginsberg--candidly and hilariously recall their sexual coming-of-age tales in intimate interviews. Joyously campy and refreshingly carefree, HEAVY PETTING blends humorous, unbelievable footage of unhelpful sex ed videos with classic snippets of The Wild One and Elvis’ hip gyrations, not to mention Bernhard talking about playing "doctor," a less-than-straight Ginsberg on a disastrous encounter with a girl, and Byrne on the childhood myths of masturbation. Eternal mysteries such as the female orgasm, the universal appeal of Marilyn Monroe, and the rituals of high school are laid bare by this lovable group of characters.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By crazycatlady on December 14, 2009
Format: DVD
If you're a fan of those vintage sex-education films of the 1950s and '60s, this should be right up your alley. The
documentary itself, consisting of (very) short clips of such films, is interspersed with talking-head interviews with
various celebrities and others who experienced the sexual culture of the era firsthand. This format becomes rather tiresome,
as the interviewees ramble on about their disappointing dates, clumsy sexual experiences, and so on. Some of the off-the-cuff
remarks by such interviewees as William Burroughs and Abbie Hoffman are nearly inaudible; some subtitles would have been nice, but unfortunately they're not available on the DVD. If anything, the
film feels more like a trailer for the excellent bonus DVD that accompanies this set.

That bonus DVD is the real find here. It consists of ten sex-oriented films, ranging from the '40s through the '60s,
each of which are fascinating to watch. Several films on the subject of venereal disease, aimed at high-school students,
are included, as well as a selection of army training films on the same subject (warning--the army films are extremely,
but necessarily graphic). The most memorable, however, may be the hysterically overwrought, hammily acted selections
made in the mid-'60s by an organization calling itself the Citizens for Decent Literature, "Perversion for Profit" and
"Printed Poison," which concern themselves with the evils of pornographic magazines and trashy sex novels. These two have
to be seen to be believed for their unintentionally hilarious acting and their fear-mongering tactics against skin
magazines and pulp sex paperbacks of the era. (Films such as these probably did more to promote such prurient materials
than discourage them).
Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By CapHappy on May 21, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
A very interesting documentry. Coupled with old 50's and 60's educational films various Alternative artists and random people are interviewed about puberty, sexual awakening and their memories of early sexual experiences. Among those interviewed are Laurie Anderson, William S. Burroughs, Abbie Hoffman, Alan Ginsburg (who explains in a very brief and funny story how he became a homosexual), and David Byrne. Great intercutting and very entertaining. It is frank in discussion but never dirty or obscene. A great and fun film.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By FilmDog on March 31, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The film is fun and funny.. terrific music and fast paced. Some of the sex ed clips are so wild you can barely believe they were made for real. Ginsberg and Burroughs seem like an intelligent, ascerbic couple. Abbie Hoffman is full of manic energy. Spalding Gray tells evocative stories. David Byrne is honest no matter how embarassing. Josh Mostel (Zero Mostel's son) is the star.

Regardless, the extras are fascinating. The dancing in EASY TO GET is some of the best I've ever seen, and this is an all black film from WW II! And I love the Kansas teens shocked by the "sore down there", not to mention the "tall aggressive blond" hunting for sex partners at the ballpark.

The long interview segments are worth it too, as they give a real sense of who the key characters are. The Burroughs and Ginsberg interview is historic.

So, my vote: watch it, but don't miss the additional materials!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By S. Rumpl on January 15, 2009
Format: DVD
The clips are crazy... some seem like they were recreated.... I love the scene where the father slaps his teen daughter in the face for wearing a slip in the living room!!! Uh, dad, do we have a problem here? These characters interviewed are totally on target. Ginsberg's story of the girl with big breasts is classic. So watch it!

I was equally enthralled by the longer interview takes with Ginsberg, Burroughs, David Byrne, Spalding Gray, etc. And the VD films from WW2 are amazing... .
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 12, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
I saw this movie when it first came out in the theaters back in 1989. It wasnt a major release or anything. They showed it the Tampa Theater in Tampa, FL. I took my wife, then my girlfriend, on our second date to go see it just cuz it was showing at this theater that wasnt a mainstream movie house. We were both 19 at the time and we thought it was a trip!! I cant believe the movie is still around on video. I think its definitely worth the price. Peace.
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