Thursday, October 4, 2012

Non-centrefold Venus of the Month 11: Brigitte Maier, July 1974

We're still struggling to catch up with our regular pictorials but here, at least, is July's non-centrefold of the month, Bridget Maier and a very lovely young (22 at the time) woman she was too.  Maier was one of the top actresses in erotic films in the seventies.  

She appeared in the July 1974 issue of Penthouse and on the cover, in this effective mirror shot by Earl Miller.

Miller's pictorial inside only had eight pictures, which is a shame.  The first short sequence has her outside in the dappled sunlight.

European actresses from racy films had always been a staple of men's magazines and were popular even if the number of readers who would actually be able to see their films was quite small.  Sometimes the magazine acknowledged them as such, sometimes they didn't but Penthouse identified Brigitte as an actress in "pornographic films" right from the start of the accompanying text.

Maier had already shot her first hardcore film sequence, three years before (the fake documentary Refinements in Love (1971)) as an eighteen year old in the US.  Maier was German by birth but moved to Chicago with her family when she was four.  She moved to Los Angeles when she was seventeen and got a job as a topless dancer before getting into porn films.  

Brigitte in Refinements in Love (1971)

In Brigitte's scene in Refinements in Love she has sex on that seventies favourite the waterbed.  In fact it had only been patented that same year so its appearance here would have been one of the earliest in an erotic film.

Another ten or so films followed over the next three years, where Brigitte was usually uncredited.  In fact she didn't get her first credit until  1974 for Pretty Wet Lips.

French Blue (aka Penetration) (1974) was a mock documentary about the making of a porn film and it was her appearance in this which led to her being hired to do the Penthouse shoot.  Unfortunately, her father bought the issue and discovered about his daughter's porn career.  By January 1975 she was being interviewed by the Chicago Sun-Times, such was the interest in her.

Above, Lasse Braun, directs Brigitte in the notorious double penetration sequence in French Blue.  The film would go on to be the most successful hardcore film to show in New York.

For mid-1974 this was a bold genital revealing shot for Penthouse, although such shots would become more and more common over the next few months.

These two pictures of Brigitte obviously came from the same Earl Miller shoot as her Penthouse ones but these appeared in a European magazine some time later.  As her fame in films increased so did the number of magazine pictorials she appeared in.

In fact, the very same month that her Penthouse pictorial came out in the US (she wouldn't appear in the UK version until August) she was featured in Paul Raymond's Club International in the UK.

There is some evidence of airbrush blurring on Brigitte's bits here.  It would be some time before labia could be shown so clearly in the Paul Raymond magazines, who were running behind Penthouse's levels of explicitness at this point.

Shot by Eugene Finkei she was known as Nola in that pictorial; her fame not well known enough in Britain to  be made a feature of, as was starting to happen in European magazines.  Unusually, there was no text accompanying the pictorial, just the photos.

In 1973 she left California for Sweden and the comparatively big budget Porr i skandalskolan (1974).   Loosely translated as Porn in school for scandal it was released in the US as The Second Coming of Eva.  Brigitte was billed as the Anglicised Bridget Mayers

Brigitte (right) in one of several lesbian scenes she has in The Second Coming of Eve

Brigitte described the shoot in her Penthouse piece.  "It was really great.  The setting was an old castle and we got to live there for six weeks."  It was shot in Stockholm on 35mm film by director Mac Ahlberg whose 1965 film I, a woman (Jeg - en kvinde) had been an early arrival on US shores of a European "racy" movie.  Ahlberg is probably better known as a cinematographer and went on to do a number of minor Hollywood mainstream movies.

Maier (top) and Svennson in Porr i skandalskolan

Essentially the story involves Eva (Teresa Svennson) being sent to a "special" school after her older sister catches her masturbating in bed at home.  There she meets the other schoolgirls (all of whom look to be in their twenties) and some imported men and soon a fine old orgy starts up in which Brigitte is very prominent, especially in lesbian scenes and a threesome.

She also participates in some of the hardcore scenes in the films (not all the female cast do) and, as ever, looks to be enjoying herself at all times one of the reasons, perhaps, that she is such a highly appreciated cult figure today.

Brigitte (left) n Justine and Juliette

Brigitte also appeared in Justine och Juliette (1975) by the same director; a hardcore re-telling of the Marquis de Sade story

Brigitte in Playmen, October 1974

Brigitte's appearance in erotic films was picked up by other magazines and a few months later she appeared in the Italian magazine Playmen as "Brandy Blue" where, as with the Penthouse piece they mention that she has recently taken up with an erotic film maker in Amsterdam.

Brigitte in Marriage and other Four Letter Words

Maier appeared in nine films in 1974 but only a few were proper full length movies with a semblance of a plot.  One of the better ones was the American shot Marriage and other Four Letter Words where she plays half of a married couple helping to bring some excitement into the lives of another couple, who have lost their spark after a year of marriage, by introducing them to swinging.  After a game of mixed doubles tennis (in which Brigitte wears a tiny, pink chiffon babydoll nightie as a tennis dress) the couples swap partners and Brigitte orally services the hero in a most impressive way.

Brigitte in Sensations (1975)

This is apposite because after working in Sweden she moved to the Netherlands where she met film maker and photographer Lasse Braun and became his girlfriend (also mentioned in the Penthouse piece although not by name).  It is said that Maier's oral  ministrations on Reuben Sturman, then the biggest distributor of adult magazines in America, had a lot to do with Braun getting the finance for his new film Sensations (1975).  Sturman is credited with the invention of the peep booth; a coin operated one man cinema which would show hard core "loops".

Brigitte in Sensations

Braun, after the success that Sensations brought him would make many of these loops for Sturman's vast international pornography organisation and Brigitte Maier would star in quite a few of them.

Brigitte on the cover of one of Lasse Braun's film "loops".

Amazingly, Sensations was shown at the Cannes film festival and was a huge hit propelling Maier and Braun into the limelight and really launching Braun's career.

Brigitte with on/off boyfriend Lasse Braun

Braun, despite his Germanic sounding name, was actually an Italian called Alberto Ferro, from an aristocratic family who studied law at the University of Milan and was due to follow his father into the diplomatic corps.  His doctoral thesis on censorship was hugely controversial in Italy but was translated into Danish by a Danish MP and thereby led to the abolition of censorship in that country in 1969.  Braun had been making erotic films since the early sixties in Spain and France but it was only when he  moved to Copenhagen and then the Netherlands that he was able to make his films without the constant fear of being arrested.  Eventually, he gave up making erotic films, largely because he believed that the cheap videos coming out of America had no artistic or sensual merit.  Braun always shot on film and had studied cinematography in Sweden.

In Playboy, December 1975

By December 1975, Sensations had got Brigitte so well known that she was featured in Playboy's annual review of Sex Stars in, for them, quite a revealing pose.

Magazine articles continued, although there was now no question of her appearing under an assumed name.  Indeed, she was a big enough draw to be highlighted on the cover of Men's World in May 1976. They described her as the "first sex superstar since Linda Lovelace, Marilyn Chambers and Georgina Spelvin became household names."  In fact Maier was far more attractive than Lovelace, Chambers or Spelvin and had a better figure (5'8" tall and 36-24-36 according to Penthouse).

The magazine admitted that these shots had been photographed before she found fame in French Blue and Sensations but this "amazing intimate color close-up of Brigitte Maier!" as the cover blurb breathlessly promised would no doubt have not caused any disappointment for fans.  What could be shown in mens' magazines had changed in the two years since her Penthouse appearance.

From Color Climax 1977

Appearing in European magazines, such as the Danish quarterly hardcore magazine Color Climax, which first appeared in April 1968, Brigitte displayed even more and performed with both men and women in pictorials for them.

After Sensations she only made five more full length films and retired from the industry at the end of the seventies, although she continued to do short films and magazine pictorials during that time.

Her naturally curvy figure, uninhibited performances with both men and women, birthmark on her bottom and quirky gap between her front teeth (something that models today are paying to have done!) made her an appealing and distinctive performer in the second half of the seventies. 

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