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in Filmmaking
on Dec 10, 2006

Over at her journal, author Susie Bright eulogizes Gary Graver, the d.p., director, and colleague of Orson Welles in his later years, by noting the breadth of his overlooked biography. In addition to crewing films like A Woman Under the Influence, working extensively with Roger Corman, directing many low-budget horror films, and even shooting Ron Howard’s first feature, Grand Theft Auto, Graver, pictured here with Welles, directed many adult movies which, while included on iMDB, have been omitted from his various industry obits.

Here’s Bright:

Graver was memorialized everywhere, acclaimed in every paper from New York to L.A. But nowhere is it mentioned that for twenty years, Gary Graver directed and shot more than 135 erotic, X-rated films— several of which are considered among the best “adult” movies ever made: 3 AM, Amanda By Night, and V:The Hot One. The man is an Adult Industry Hall-of-Famer….

Graver’s best porn work was from the era in the late 70s and early 80s when X-rated movies were still “allowed” to be heavy, to be dark. 3AM and V don’t have sunny endings. The level of emotion, and in both these cases, loss, is something you’d never see in the perky popcorn of today’s XXX. His cinematic style, the eroticism created by his camera and lighting, is unsurpassed. None of the contemporary young directors or actors in adult would even know how to pull it off. It’s practically a lost art at this point, just like Orson [Welles]’s movie that is never going to be finished now.

Bright, who says she “studied his porn like it was D.H. Lawrence with a lens,” looked to Graver (who directed his adult work under the name Robert McCallum) and his work as an inspiration when she was hired to be the “lesbian sex consultant” to the Wachowski Brothers when they were filming their first feature, Bound.:

If you look at Bound, and then go watch McCallum’s 3AM shower scene between Georgina Spelvin and Judith Hamilton, you will see where I got all my thrills. Georgina was the best actress porn ever had (Devil in Miss Jones) and Judith was her real girlfriend at the time. I sent a copy of that tape to Larry and Andy Wachowski, with the note: “watch the master at work.”

As a small tribute to McCallum on his passing, Bright’s post includes her essay “Sex Consultant to the Stars,” which she wrote about her experience working with the Wachowski’s.

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