Films of Joseph W. Sarno

Films of Joseph W. Sarno

8 Episodes

“One of the true pioneers of celluloid erotica,” cinema, American film director and screenwriter Joseph W. Sarno (1921-2010) was dubbed the “Chekov of soft-core” by The Village Voice and the “Ingmar Bergman of 42nd Street.” His early black and white films are praised for their chiaroscuro lighting and their complex psycho-sexual plots, but it was his more explicit art-house film, INGA, shot in Sweden in 1968, that brought him international attention. Never a fan of explicit triple-X filmmaking, Sarno continued to write and direct adult films through the 1970s and ’80s, often working under a pseudonym or offering his director’s credit to the film’s female lead. Among his most noted films are SIN IN THE SUBURBS (1964), CONFESSIONS OF A YOUNG AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE (1974), ABIGAIL LESLIE IS BACK IN TOWN (1975), LAURA'S TOYS (1975) and MISTY (1976). Recently, Sarno’s work has been the subject of retrospectives at several noted institutions and festivals, including Anthology Film Archives, New York Underground Film Festival, the Lake Placid Film Festival, the Vienna Filmmuseum, The Cinemateque Français, The Turin Film Festival, and the Warhol Museum.

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Films of Joseph W. Sarno
  • Sin You Sinners

    Episode 1

    In Joseph Sarno’s hypnotic noir Sin You Sinners, a medallion forged in a voodoo ritual preserves an exotic dancer’s youth and beauty. When her jealous daughter and employer hatch plots to steal the amulet for themselves, it sets off a chain of events ending in murder.


  • Sin in the Suburbs

    Episode 2

    Sexploitation auteur Joe Sarno explores the dark side of the American dream. Audrey Campbell (Olga's Girls) stars as Geraldine Lewis, a lonely housewife and mother who distracts herself with racy friends and a secret affair. Discovered in the arms of another man, Geraldine immerses herself in a ...

  • Pandora and the Magic Box

    Episode 3

    When King Minos discovers Theseus is on a mission to locate the rightful ruler of Greece, he sends his buxom servant Pandora to disrupt the search. Meanwhile, Zeus selects Theseus to protect a wooden box “full of trouble.” Add a handful of Amazons and one king in drag, and you have the screwball...

  • Vibrations

    Episode 4

    Aspiring poet Barbara moves to Manhattan to jump-start her career and sex life, only to spend her evenings listening to the sounds of her neighbor’s vibrator. When her extroverted sister Julie comes to town, Barbara is forced to confront her repressed sexual desires. An early classic by sexploita...

  • All the Sins of Sodom

    Episode 5

    Newly restored to High Definition from the original film elements, ALL THE SINS OF SODOM, directed by "the Ingmar Bergman of 42nd Street," Joseph W. Sarno, has been hailed as “one of Sarno’s most captivating films.” (Video Watchdog). Encouraged by his agent, Henning, a struggling NYC photographer...

  • Vampire Ecstasy

    Episode 6

    Dripping with gothic atmosphere, Vampire Ecstasy (1973) is director Joseph Sarno’s mesmerizing foray into the horror genre. When a trio of beautiful young women journey to their ancestral home to claim an inheritance, they fall prey to a coven of witches’ intent to reincarnate their deceased vamp...

  • Confessions of a Young American Housewife

    Episode 7

    A grieving widow embraces life and passion during a visit to her sexually open daughter’s home in this boundary-pushing erotic drama from sexploitation auteur Joseph Sarno. New York sophisticates Carole and Eddie spice up their sex life by swapping partners with their close friends, Anna and Pete...

  • A Life in Dirty Movies

    Episode 8

    A Life in Dirty Movies is a love story about legendary sexploitation director Joe Sarno, "the Ingmar Bergman of 42nd Street," and his loyal wife and collaborator Peggy. The film follows the Sarnos for a year, as 88-year old Joe struggles to get a new film project off the ground - a female-centric...