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X-Rated: The Mitchell Brothers : A True Story of Sex, Money, and Death Hardcover – November, 1992

2.4 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Cultural icons of San Francisco in the 1960s, pornographers Jim and Artie Mitchell became millionaires in their 20s with their movie Behind the Green Door . The tough, cunning brothers, who endured hundreds of porn-related arrests, were frequently in court to protect their right to be purveyors of live sex shows and flesh flicks. Both brothers used cocaine, and in 1991 Jim, described here as a loving father, snapped and fatally shot Artie, an obnoxious, dangerous drunk and sex addict who physically and emotionally abused a network of worshipful women competing to give him master-slave sex. Convicted of manslaughter instead of the prosecutor's charge of first-degree murder, he could spend less than three years in prison. McCumber, a former editor of the San Francisco Examiner , takes readers on a depressing trip through a psychosexual swamp featuring a cameo appearance by Hunter Thompson and interviews with strippers, dancers, actors, ex-wives and lovers in the Mitchells' orbit. Photos.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In 1991, the killing of Artie Mitchell by his older brother Jim stunned San Francisco. After all, the city's famous, or rather infamous, citizens had been innovative pornographers whose classic Behind the Green Door transformed the adult film industry and whose O'Farrell Theatre was the "Carnegie Hall of Public Sex." What led these colorful, unpredictable brothers to their tragically violent end? Journalist McCumber attempts to find the answers, but his book is an awkward mishmash of two separate stories. On the personal level, it is a classic Cain and Abel tale of the responsible older brother tired of taking care of an abusive sibling addicted to sex, drugs, and alcohol. On a broader front, the Mitchells' story symbolizes the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s. Because McCumber tries to cram in so much material, parts of his book has a rushed, sketchy feel , while other sections (especially the chapter discussing Artie's relationship with women) bore the reader with excessive details. McCumber's occasional Hunter Thompson-type prose is distracting and weakens his book. Still, as the Mitchells knew, sex sells, so there probably will be demand.
- Wilda Williams, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (November 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671751565
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671751562
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,482,026 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I managed until page 125 or so and couldn't read anymore. Sorry. The subject is interesting although somewhat "light" on the cultural revolution at the end of the 60s. What stopped me was the writing : this book is not written, it reads like a transcript from some audio tape. I never read anything so poorly written.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
My girlfriend was involved in the sex industry during this time and even got pregnant. I wanted to know some insight into this sex industry event during the 70's so I can better understand my girlfriend.
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Format: Hardcover
David McCumber, now at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, was an editor at the San Francisco Chronicle in the mid-1980s, where the late Hunter S. Thompson made a brief, unsuccessful stint as a columnist. McCumber knew the Mitchells and the O'Farrell Theatre; this book, therefore, perhaps was inevitable. McCumber is also a far better editor than writer, if this book is any indication.

The Mitchells, according to their biographers, saw an opportunity to make big money in porn and did just that. To the biographers, Jim and Artie were "Okie outlaw pornographers" who hired their good ol' boys from childhood as important members of their porn empire. The O'Farrell Theatre was (and remains) a mirrored house of sleaze where bikini-clad strippers hustled greenbacks from customers too shy and ugly to get girls any other way. The Mitchells made millions and spent them just as fast on women, cars, parties, drugs and so on until Artie, crazy from too much for too long, got out of control and everyone said to Jim, "Do something about him, will you?" The whole sordid tale was told much better by Hubner.
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Format: Hardcover
The Mitchell Brothers are legendary, not only in adult entertainment, but also in fighting for the First Amendment. This highly detailed book takes you through their childhood right up to the ending courtroom drama of Artie's death. The research done is incredible, up to the point of being boring. The author spends too much time dwelling on the details of Artie's various girlfriends and not enough on the adult entertainment industry in general. 450 pages is suitable for a scholarly textbook, not an autobiography written for entertainment. This is the only fault I found with this book. A pleasant surprise is the courtroom drama and how the author takes you through the entire trial and weaves the suspense all throughout. Extremely entertaining and you will become engrossed in the fine presentation. We also learn about the Mitchell's wild lifestyle and how their successful empire was built. In the end we learn an alarming lesson about our legal system and how justice is bought in America. This book is a great read if you have the patience to make it through some of the boring sections.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Just too much filler in this one to slug through to get to any real meat. It's ashame, because the author did a great job of researching the subject. This just needs to be about 150 shorter.
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