The Opening of Misty Beethoven

The Opening of Misty Beethoven is an American pornographic comedy film released in 1976. It was produced with a relatively high budget and filmed on elaborate locations in Paris, New York City and Rome with a musical score, and owes much to its director Radley Metzger (directing this film as "Henry Paris").[1][2][4] According to author Toni Bentley, The Opening of Misty Beethoven is considered the "crown jewel" of the Golden Age of Porn (1969–1984).[1][2]

The Opening of Misty Beethoven
Original film poster
Directed byRadley Metzger
(as "Henry Paris")[1][2]
Produced byRadley Metzger
Written byRadley Metzger
(as "Jake Barnes")
StarringConstance Money
Jamie Gillis
Jacqueline Beudant
Gloria Leonard
Terri Hall
Music byGeorge Craig
Gioacchino Rossini
CinematographyRobert Rochester
Edited byBonnie Karrin
Distributed byCatalyst Productions
Joy Bear Pictures
VCA Pictures[3]
Release date
March, 1976
Running time
86 minutes
CountryUnited States


In an adult erotic take-off of George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion (and its derivative My Fair Lady), the film is about a sexologist who tries transforming a low-skilled prostitute into a goddess of passion. While he tries to prepare her to seduce a gay male art dealer (played by gay porn actor Casey Donovan), it is he for whom she develops feelings. During the course of her training, she manages to please three men at one time, pegs a man, and seduces the gay art dealer, among other sexual conquests.[5] In this film, Henry Higgins (of Pygmalion) is replaced by Dr. Seymour Love, the sexologist, played by Jamie Gillis.[4] Eliza Doolittle (of Pygmalion) becomes Dolores "Misty" Beethoven, who is played by Constance Money,[4] and Colonel Pickering becomes Geraldine Rich, played by Jacqueline Beudant. During the film, Misty achieves "elevation" better than Love and Rich had hoped and then cuts them off, as in George Bernard Shaw's play. However, this film then sees Misty return, take over for Dr. Love, and run the "school". Dr. Love is present but in a very subservient position. It is clearly Misty who is in charge by this time.



The film The Opening of Misty Beethoven was released during the Golden Age of Porn (inaugurated by the 1969 release of Andy Warhol's Blue Movie) and the phenomenon of "porno chic"[6][7] in the United States, in which adult erotic films were just beginning to be widely released, publicly discussed by celebrities (like Johnny Carson and Bob Hope)[8] and taken seriously by film critics (like Roger Ebert).[9][10]

In this Golden Age era, most films of the time were expected to have at least minimal plots. Misty's plot was more elaborate than most; it was based directly on George Bernard Shaw's play, Pygmalion, as well as the Broadway and Hollywood success My Fair Lady. Some historians assess The Opening of Misty Beethoven as attaining a mainstream level in storyline and sets.[11] Author Toni Bentley called the film the "crown jewel" of the Golden Age.[1][2] The film is also satirical, with many added comic touches and dialogue designed for laughs. It includes Mark Margolis's first role. The Opening of Misty Beethoven has the distinction of being the first widely released porn movie to feature female-on-male pegging.[12]

The Italian Edition by Noctuno is an extended version of Misty Beethoven with footage not seen in the original film. Some of the extra footage was used in Barbara Broadcast (Misty's bondage sequence) and Maraschino Cherry (Misty with the matador). All other cutting room floor footage can be found in the Distribpix Misty Beethoven DVD extras. The film was initially rejected for UK cinema by the BBFC and released in a heavily pre-edited form with an additional 1 min 55 secs of censor cuts in 1983. The fully uncut hardcore print was passed with an R18 rating by the BBFC in 2005. It is rumored that the full uncut version was released in the U.S on Laser Disc by Lorimar Home Video. It was also said the Laser Disc Print runs at 87 minutes and has 1:33 ratio. The cool (softcore) version adds several scenes to pad the running time. They include: the servants celebrating at the Italian villa in cave-person outfits, Lawrence and Barbara watching Kojak on TV, Misty and Geraldine together in a tub and, last but not least, cigar guy's female partner on the plane talking to a dejected Seymour Love.

During the film, some dialogue between Misty and Seymour is spoken but not clearly heard, drowned out by a flight attendant talking to a passenger. The sequence's beginning and end are heard, but the middle is virtually inaudible. Surprisingly, the film's script has the missing words, the back and forth as follows: heard is: Misty: "It'll be strange to be back in the States." Seymour: "First trip?;" then not heard is: Misty: "No, I tripped with my brother when I was 16. I was at a dance. I learned a lot from that trip;" then heard is: Seymour: "Well... you're gonna learn a lot from this trip."

2012 restoration

In 2012, DistribPix oversaw a complete restoration of the film, with the full cooperation of the director. The result had a limited exhibition in theaters, but the main outcome of the project was the first-ever official DVD and Blu-ray releases. In addition, a fully annotated CD soundtrack was released. A listing of the music on the film soundtrack was released earlier.[13][14]


Awards from the Adult Film Association of America:

Other awards

Music soundtrack

1."Bourbon[13][14]"Brian Bennett3:36
2."Confunktion"Dave Richmond4:37
3."Glass Tubes"Brian Bennett3:22
4."Giovane Flirt"AAlessandroni3:26
5."Ippica / Going Great"Franco Bonfanti2:28
6."Heat Haze"John Cameron2:52
7."Mighty Atom"Steve Gray2:54
8."Rebel"John Moran4:09
9."Teorema"Brian Bennett2:08
10."The Fuzz"Duncan Lamont2:40
11."William Tell Overture"Gioachino Rossini3:44


In 2004, Misty Beethoven: The Musical!, a musical remake, was released. It featured Sunset Thomas, Randy Spears, Julie Meadows, Asia Carrera, Chloe, Dave Cummings, Mike Horner, Evan Stone and Tyce Bune. It was directed by Veronica Hart. The film won the 2004 XRCO Award for "Best Comedy or Parody"[22] and the 2005 AVN Award for "Best Sex Comedy".[23]

See also


  1. Bentley, Toni (June 2014). "The Legend of Henry Paris". Playboy. Archived from the original on February 4, 2016. Retrieved January 26, 2016.
  2. Bentley, Toni (June 2014). "The Legend of Henry Paris" (PDF). Retrieved January 26, 2016.
  3. VCA Pictures
  4. West, Ashley (April 7, 2017). "'The Opening of Misty Beethoven' (1976): Jamie Gillis and Constance Money". The Rialto Report. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
  5. "Blu-ray Review: THE OPENING OF MISTY BEETHOVEN, The Porno Pygmalion, Is A Revelation In HD". Screen Anarchy. Retrieved October 20, 2019.
  6. Blumenthal, Ralph (January 21, 1973). "Porno chic; 'Hard-core' grows fashionable-and very profitable". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  7. Porno Chic (
  8. Corliss, Richard (March 29, 2005). "That Old Feeling: When Porno Was Chic". Time. Retrieved January 27, 2016.
  9. Ebert, Roger (June 13, 1973). "The Devil In Miss Jones - Film Review". Retrieved February 7, 2015.
  10. Ebert, Roger (November 24, 1976). "Alice in Wonderland:An X-Rated Musical Fantasy". Retrieved February 26, 2016.
  11. Mathijs, Ernest; Mendik, Xavier (2007). The Cult Film Reader. Open University Press. ISBN 978-0335219230.
  12. Nault, Curran (Summer 2010). "Bend Over Boyfriend to Take It Like a Man: Pegging Pornography and the Queer Representation of Straight Sex". Jump Cut (52).
  13. Staff (2016). "The Opening of Misty Beethoven - Original Soundtrack Music listing". IMDb. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
  14. Staff (2013). "The Opening of Misty Beethoven Soundtrack (1976) - OST Music Soundtrack". Retrieved February 26, 2016.
  15. Hilton, Thomas H. (August 1, 1977). "The Porn Awards". Adam Film World. Vol. 6 no. 6 (issue=66). pp. 16–17.
  16. Hilton, Thomas H. (December 1, 1977). "The First Annual Erotica Awards". Adam Film World. Vol. 6 no. 8 (issue=68). pp. 18–21.
  17. Staff (March 14, 1984). "AFAA - 8th Annual AFAA Erotic Film Awards - official program". Adult Film Association of America.
  18. Frank Thistle, "The Second Annual Erotica Awards," Adam Film World, January 1979, pp. 24-27, 72.
  19. AFAA, "Seventh Annual Erotica Awards," official program, June 23, 1983.
  20. Staff (January 11, 2002). "Adult Video News Awards - Winner - Best Classic DVD". AVN Award. Retrieved January 28, 2016.
  21. Transcript of AVC video, A Night of Legends: First Annual XRCO Adult Film Awards, 1985
  22. Staff (2016). "XRCO Award". Memim Encyclopedia. Retrieved February 22, 2016.
  23. "Best Sex Comedy". Retrieved March 2, 2014.

Further reading

  • Cook, David A. (2002). History of the American cinema. 9. University of California Press. pp. 274–275. ISBN 0-520-23265-8.
  • Heffernan, Kevin, "A social poetics of pornography", Quarterly Review of Film and Video, Volume 15, Issue 3, December 1994, pp. 77–83. doi:10.1080/10509209409361441.
  • Lehman, Peter, Pornography: film and culture, Rutgers depth of field series, Rutgers University Press, 2006, ISBN 0-8135-3871-8.
  • Williams, Linda, Hard core: power, pleasure, and the "frenzy of the visible", University of California Press, 1999, ISBN 0-520-21943-0.
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