The Schoolgirl Report series retrospective

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

Schoolgirls, interviews and sexploitation - The story of The Schoolgirl Reports

Schoolgirl208.jpg

Oh the 70s, what a fun time they had back then. Especially in Germany, things were still going extremely well, with tons of economic growth, an ever expanding rich middle class, good way of life and the movie business prospering. Interesting things were happening in terms of social structures. The paternalistic, conservative and well ordered society was coming apart - at least that was what the old folk probably thought. A revolution was going on. Not only were the young kids, the political left and other anti-establishment parts of the country constantly clashing with the old ways, especially the sexual revolution was reaching a high point. What Kinsey did in the United States, others did in other places as well. Young and old people were asked about their sexual habits, young kids were no longer following old patterns, the culture of free love that had started with the hippies years earlier was making inroads into the core of the society, people's living rooms - and high schools, to the dismay of the parents.

Günther Hunold was Germany's Dr. Kinsey. In a best-selling, and very controversial book he asked teenagers about their sexual habits. The result of his study was not only attacked due to its content as such but his methods and intentions were also put into question. Despite its impact, the author seemed not to believe in the success of his own work and sold it to the producers instead of insisting on a share of the revenue.

Schoolgirl109.jpg

In 1970, director Ernst Hofbauer and producer Wolfgang Hartwig picked up the book for a meagre 30.000 DM and made a movie that was, officially, a sex report film, an educational movie ("Aufklärungsfilm") for mature audiences. But the highly exploitative nature was obvious, and audiences knew that. The movie was an enormous hit, topping the box office for weeks, spawning no less than twelve sequels and scores of similar movies of the same genre, with soft- and hardcore spin-offs sitting on video store shelves still today.

The movie cost only about 220.000 DM to produce, but about six million people saw it when it came out. The sequels were less successful but considering their low production value, made considerable money until the very last episode, which still drew more than a million people. Worldwide, the whole series drew over 100 million audience. The movies were made exploitation-style, with shooting usually lasting only little more than two weeks, with mostly all-amateur actors and actresses and shot usually on location and in studios in and around Munich.

Meadchen06.jpg
Campuspussycats.jpg

How could this success be explained? Not only was overt sexuality still a taboo by the time the films hit the theaters, their theme also considerably exploited sexual fantasies and built on the success on mainstream teen movies, which also drew on the popularity of entertainment that emphasized freedom and fidelity and standing up to parents, teachers and social rules. In addition to that, the ban on pornography in Germany lasted until 1975. After the ban was lifted, theaters showing pornographic movies became common and the Schoolgirl movies with their relatively tame depiction of sexuality lost their appeal. The series was however, aside from the last two installments, rated 18 (Germany's to date highest rating, comparable with an NC-17 rating). DVD and TV versions of the film suffer from self-censorship until today, even though they would no longer cause any problems today. Their reputation, as with many sex-related films in cinema history, precedes their content. Just consider Deep Throat, a movie everyone seems to know but hardly anyone you talk to has ever actually watched, just on a sidenote.

The series' amateur nature, as mentioned, also meant that hardly anyone with acting abilities was ever cast, not to mention popular names, and not just because of financial reasons. A low number of participants in the series had success afterwards. Some of these names include Ingrid Steeger, Friedrich von Thun, Lisa Fitz (today she's a stand up comedian or something), Heiner Lauterbach (today he's one of Germany's most respected actors), Peter Steiner (ditched his soft-porn career ages ago and turned to folk theater, every Bavarian age 40 and over knows his shows, not sure how many realize that he was banging Heidis and Gretchens before) and others.

The controversy surrounding these movies are mostly due to its concept. The action depicted on screen had a pseudo-scientific feel to it even though it was actually laid on very thick and exploitative. The movies were called hypocritical, perverse, polemic and pseudo-authentic fantasies.

Schoolgirl202.jpg

The films were produced by Rapid Film and distributed by Constantin Film. In the USA, they were distributed for example by Hemisphere Pictures.

The titles of the official series were:

Sebround.jpg
Sebastian, co-founder and admin of the Grindhouse Cinema Database (GCDb). He also started The Spaghetti Western Database (SWDb), The Quentin Tarantino Archives, The Robert Rodriguez Archives, Nischenkino and Furious Cinema. Outside of movies, he works on the intersection of technology and policy. He lives in Berlin, Germany.
Newsletter
  • Grindhouse Database Newsletter
  • Exploitation books
  • Kung fu movies
  • Giallo BluRay