Screening #9: Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex * But Were Afraid To Ask (1972)


Because of the surprising success of the “auteur” movies of American New Cinema with the audience, in the early Seventies the Hollywood studios became ready to finance films like this masterpiece of the absurd by Woody Allen.

New about Allen’s generation were not only their ideas but also their approach to film making. Predecessors had to learn their craft most of the times by working as assistant directors in the studios,  but Allen had learned the art as a graduate student of communication and film at New York University.

A descendant of Russian and Austrian Jewish immigrants, Woody Allen started his career as a writer for jokes and became successful as such at the early age of Seventeen. After his graduation he became a playwright, and wrote his first movie script in 1965 for the comedy “What’s New Pussycat?“. A year later he took the opportunity to direct his first first film “What’s Up Tiger Lily?in which he took an existing Japanese spy movie (Kokusai himitsu keisatsu) and re-dubbed it in English with new comic dialogue. After Allen directed, starred in, and co-wrote “Take the Money and Run” in 1969, he got a deal with United Artists for several films, including “Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex…”, which became one of his biggest financial hits grossing domestically 18 M US $ against a 2 M US $ budget, ranking on place 13 among the year’s highest grossing films.

Since then, Allen, who also could be considered as the father of the modern romantic comedy, has received four Academy Awards (Best Original Screenplays for “Annie Hall“, 1978, “Hannah and Her Sisters”, 1987, and “Midnight in Paris“, 2011, and Best Director, again for “Annie Hall”) and more screenwriting Academy Award nominations than any other writer. And although he had hits and misses at the box office, he fully has recovered with “Midnight in Paris” (2011) gaining more than 50 M US $ revenues on the domestic market.

Despite friendly recognition from the Academy, Allen has consistently refused to attend the ceremony. Back in 1974, Woody was quoted by ABC News as saying, “The whole concept of awards is silly. I cannot abide by the judgment of other people, because if you accept it when they say you deserve an award, then you have to accept it when they say you don’t”.

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26 thoughts on “Screening #9: Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex * But Were Afraid To Ask (1972)

  1. I remember overhearing an argument one time – maybe it was on TV or something – over whether or not we need to separate the artist from their art. I have no idea what conclusion they came to, but I know for some that the two are entirely linked. Bukowski was a drunk, and for many that brought more life (or whatever you want to call it) to his poems. van Gogh was “mentally insane” (no he wasn’t) which makes him tortured and his artwork more intense. I thought for a while that this was the only way to look at artworks. You must understand the artist who made them. Then I realized that so many stories are fantasized or just plain made up throughout time. Some art is more of a reflection of the society it was created in, etc. etc.
    So I was more so angry with myself when I had to leave (at normal class ending time) the Woody Allen screening. It made me feel dirty and icky. I love raunchy films, I love dry humor, but I could NOT get out of my mind what a creep I think Woody Allen is. I think this could be my one exception to the rule I explained above. For one, he literally acts in his films- he’s a part of them, and the few films I have seen, he is always the sneaky older man. Never does his character impress me by his maneuvers and I end up hating them all together.
    “Everything You Always…” was a film made by a (nasty) man for men. His female characters are made fools of in many different ways and the men gallivant around. I know I sound crazy, and I NEVER rant like this!! I just cannot mentally separate him as an artist, as an actor, from his real life. It’s insane to me that he plays a conniving man, creeping up on women, while his real (perhaps past) life mirrors that entirely for me.
    When I went to back up my opinions and thoughts by googling his sex scandal, I had to search soooo far back in the online news it was crazy. After all of my searching, let’s just leave it at: he sexually abused, molested, a child and his characters seem like the exact type of man who would do that same thing.
    Some positives of the film, in my mind, are that I enjoyed the jumping of genres, time periods, and the ensemble cast. His dry humor certainly appeals to a niche audience, which I can appreciate no matter if I actually find it funny, myself.
    I’m sorry – I really do wish that I liked the film. But I really hated it! Ha! However, in all actuality, I’m very happy you showed it because I have never responded this strongly, negatively, to a film before. And I think that’s awesome.


  2. I don’t… even know what to say. Is there a lot for me to say? Well, I’ll start off with saying, that was weird.

    So basically… this didn’t really feel so much like a full-blown movie but a little collection of explanatory videos mashed into the middle of footage of a million bunnies running over each other. Each of these little videos had a question in the beginning which was to be answered by said videos. The thing is though, some of these videos didn’t really explain anything. That, or it was incomplete. For example, the first one was “Do aphrodisiacs work?” It seemed to work in the video but the guy got killed in the end so was that supposed to be an interpretation that they don’t work? (That was also a really random setting compared to the rest of the videos.)

    With the one about “Why do women have trouble reaching orgasm?”.. I don’t get it. Am I missing something? Did they answer why through the video and it just flew over my head? I don’t know.

    For the “What is sodomy?” section, I had a bad feeling when the doctor first saw the sheep and instantly “fell” for it. Come on, dude. Just from looking at it and petting it… Eh, whatever. Not to mention he was so shocked when that one man came in explaining his situation with the sheep. Also, the part where the doctor’s wife busts in with the press. That was kind of.. sudden to say the least. Did she plan that and somehow get all those guys to show up? Hmm.

    Unless my definitions are wrong, that “transvestite” wasn’t actually a transvestite…

    I don’t even get the point of the giant, single breast that shoots milk at people… was that supposed to explain something or… I think the title should have been “Everything you always wanted to know about sex but we’ll maybe tell you in a way that will just make you more confused.” All those weird sex experiments that doctor was performing too though…

    The part with the, what was he… old, priest dude, but wasn’t exactly a priest. Whatever it was (oh yeah, rabbi), and then his wife eating pork at his feet (as he got whipped and stuff.) That was probably the strangest fantasy I’ve ever seen.

    This film is perfectly American. Sex, sex, sex. America is unhealthily obsessed with sex. How did we go from all those restrictions from the first half of the 1900s to this? I’m kind of wanting the quiet, Japanese corner of the class to speak up about this because I want their opinion on this, them being non-American and unfamiliar with such media. Americans think there are some weird sexual related things when it comes to Japan but what they don’t notice is America is pretty screw-loose itself. (Not to mention the cause of such things in Japan was from American influence, but let’s not get into that.)

    I will say though, the movie was pretty funny. A lot of it was just stupid humor. Basically, some things were just so absurd that it was funny. Kinda like Napoleon Dynamite. Some of the ideas were a bit clever, like for the last video with the body being like a giant machine being operated by little people in the body working machines and mechanisms.

    I don’t know if “enjoyed” is the correct word for my feelings on this movie, but it certainly isn’t “hate”.

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  3. This last screening was a different one. It was created to make an impression, and does just that from the beginning. The title, which honestly sounds like a university workshop run by the Counseling department, is an attention grabber. Then the actual film starts, and the thing that gets my attention is the way in which it is organized; It reminds me of an FAQ page, each section starting with a black screen on which a single question is presented.

    The topics of each short film are also well chosen, however most of the shorts seem very ridiculous or just unamusing to me. The most enjoyable one for me was the last one. I thought it was an interesting ‘perspective’ to answer the question. Overall, this film was on the lower end of films this semester- I wouldn’t watch the film again, but I enjoyed it more than Vanishing Point and Jesse James.

    To chime in on the first poster’s comment: I have to agree, some of the film did not depict safe sexual environments, and were creepy. The first one that sticks out in my head is the first mini; it did not depict an aphrodisiac, but essentially a drug that messed with the woman’s mental/sexual state, making her give consent when she would not otherwise- that is rape. The comments during that whole piece were sexist and completely derogatory. Other parts, too, were sexist and ridiculous (as previously mentioned).


  4. Well…I thought this film is so stupid movie.
    If there is one thing that makes this film good, maybe it is a style of this film. Since this is an omnibus movie, it’s kind of easy for us to understand each of the stories clearly. I cannot even believe this movie was filmed about 40 years ago from now because the each plot of the movie is not so old (I mean they have some jokes in the line and still it’s funny) and also the quality of the film is good in terms of having smooth scenes and good sounds. I know some scenes look like a little bit old, but it’s still a good quality for this period.

    Overall, I don’t like this film because I don’t get what Woody Allen is trying to tell us through this film, and I don’t even know what the title mean although after I got over seeing whole of this film. I was so bored of watching this film because there is no big plot through this film and each story is in an abstract context. For me, it’s just a worthless joke from beginning to end.

    However, at the same time, I was amazed that Allen did make this kind of movie and the U.S. accepted this movie although it was not common to focus on sexual content around that time. There can be no such thing in Japan, so I was actually surprised about that.

    But again, I don’t think this movie is a remarkable piece of work. The each story starts with the question and the entire story is supposed to answer that question, but it actually didn’t. That’s why I feel something is missing in this movie.
    I hope I like another Allen’s movie.


  5. Honestly, I have never been a fan of Woody Allen. In my opinion, if people see his movies – people either like him a lot, or they hate him: this is the reason why most of the time his new movie comes out I don’t go to see it, because probably I would hate it. I dislike Woody Allen not because of his personality, or the way he looks like: some classmates mentioned that he did a lot of “immoral” stuff, but I like Polanski, Chaplin, Kubrick no matter what. I dislike him, because he doesn’t look or feel serious for me. No matter what movie I see – yes, I see the irony, yes, it is funny, yes I see some comic situations and metaphor from our daily life, but I do not see why should I waste my time on watching something like that (I would rather watch Vanishing Point one more time).

    The movie we saw in class, Everything you Always Wanted to Know about Sex* but were Afraid to Ask, is just another Woody Allen movie. However, it represents the time it was shot in: the time of sexual revolution, when sexuality was studied in the Graduate (one of my favorites of all times), Midnight Cowboy, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice and many others. Allen shows in his picture some really weird sexual scenarios like sodomy, perversion, and giant boob that kill people – some of which I truly did not understand (the boob part)… The other ones appeared to be interesting and partially funny exaggerated sketches on what sexual life can propose us. Thus I feel the picture offers something bigger, Allen is criticizing hypocrisy of all those sexually frustrated people who hide under their mask and keep preaching about moral asceticism, which is pretty interesting.


  6. Very unique atmosphere, almost fairytale opening definitely caught my eyes. I was very confused and I could not imagine how this film is going to be at the beginning. After all, I finally figure it out what was the director’s intention when I learned the film was based on the bestseller book. The distinctive plot explains me enough what is Woody Allen’s personal tastes and how he sees the world. I felt Allen did great job to portray very controversial topics at the moment, in artistic way.

    I thought this film was not just about the sex, but it was about secrets or something that people do not want to talk about to others. So, I felt seeing this film is like looking at one’s inside of brain. That’s why I felt it was very fantasy and even fairytaleish. Moreover, showing a various footages along with the book chapters was very new to me. Mixture of serval types of short stories was very interesting and I enjoyed. The non-continuity style remind me of french film somehow. The style makes this film more unique and distinguish from other films as well.

    Although I liked how he transformed the book into film, the way of cinematography was very odd. For instance, random extremely close ups, or very unstable, motion camera work was very strange to me. I almost thought it was documentary film or something in some part. Furthermore, I still do not get why he suddenly switched to Italian to English, I could not see the purpose of this transition. And also there is no connection to later part of the film.

    One thing that I was very glad is that I could watch this film without preconception of Allen. I actually did not know about Woody Allen himself so much until the classmates brought up and explained in the class. Thus, I could see it regardless his personal life. If I knew his personal preference toward females and sex, I might have seen and felt this film differently. Additionally, as we discussed in the class, it is very hard to argue if we should see the piece of art by judging who made and what kind of people are. I personally think that there is no certain answer to it, because we have a choice weather we accept or reject it. If it comes to art, there is no right or wrong I believe, and if it exists, it will become no longer art.

    Anyways, the opening and ending roll tied up this very chaotic, yet artistic film in away because these two rolls were at least same style. I was very enjoyed the class discussion of this film and I learned so much from others, it is always good to know different perspectives!


  7. well, it is very hard to say something about this film, “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask”. However, first of all I personally like this film. It was really fun to watch for me and I have laughed sometimes at least. According to the discussion in our class after watching it, I understood there some different comments and thoughts about this film, but I thought this film is funny and understood as ok to joke about. I mean, the contents in this film are not that serious. Someone would say that is the thing, but I think that’s why it is within ok to joke about.
    Because Ed Wood, we watched before, was about 1950s, and this film was released in 1972. You know, Ed Wood was the first movie that covers about sexual minority in films. It took only about 20 years and changed a lot. People became able to cover about sex and sexual minority (even it was just a comedy and not that serious) in 20 years. I am not sure whether it was great thing or not but its a big change, I think.
    One more thing I was wondering was why it the title “everything we always wanted to know about sex”? Because, it was funny and interesting to see but, I did not think its what I always wanted to know. I mean I felt some differences between people in 1970s wanted to know about sex and people in now want to know about sex. (I have no idea what we always want to know about sex NOW tho.)
    Maybe, it this film were released now, people might argue and complain about their descriptions about many characters in this film because this film might look making fun of those characters because it is comedy and does not describe in details.
    However, at the same time, like the episode of sodomy this film tells us that everyone can be minorities easily, so it is ridiculous to make fun of those people, I think.
    Honestly, I basically like comedy films and his comedy works too. That’s why I did not have so much negative emotion for this films.


  8. Woody Allen starts and ends the film with a bunch of rabbits. At first, I was confused, because I don’t see how rabbits connect to the film. But, I get the answer from other classmate that in America they have a proverb “Fuck like bunnies”. Then I can see the connection between rabbits and the film.
    I like how Woody Allen organized the film. This film is organized in chapter by chapter, and the film has touched everything all about sex. For example, this film has mention about the sex from ancient Europe period to modern period, and even mentions about different species. Woody Allen has also mentioned homosexual, and people who have sex problem (in Italian). Finally, the film ends with how male’s mental process when he needs have a sex.
    This is a pretty organized film, but the sex between human being and sheep kind of bother me a lot. It is kind of says that you can even have a sex with your house pet like cat and dog. The sheep chapter is hilarious, but I just feel a little bit uncomfortable.
    The last chapter seems really famous, because I have seen the last chapter before. It shows how hard it is for a man to have a successful sex.


  9. I have to say that the last film was so much different than previous films we watched in class, but it was interesting to watch as comedy. Opening was weird, but it definitely got audience attention.
    What I liked about this film was that this film tells us about sex, but it was not like really sexy or I couldn’t watch. The film was made us laugh, and it was very unique as well.
    The film was divided into 7 segments, so I didn’t get tired of watching. Personally, I liked two stories. One is “sodomy” part. I wonder if these people really exist or not. I don’t mind if these people really exist, but I think not many people can accept that.
    The other story I liked was the last one. The director is may be genius because normal people can’t think that the main place is inside of the body. It was like NASA, and it was interesting how everyone worked so seriously. Also, I laughed how every sperms think differently.
    I still don’t get one story spoken in Italian. I don’t know the director’s purpose of showing it only in Italian. Although I didn’t understand at all what they were talking, but I understood what they were doing for by just watching. Probably, that’s the director’s technique.
    Overall, it was my first time to watch this kind of sexy comedy film, but it was enjoyable. I think this film can be used for kids’ education about sex since I heard that there is not age restriction for watching the film.


  10. “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex , But Were Afraid to Ask” was not my favorite, and I was a little bit shocking about the contents. When I saw the title, I did not have any idea what the movie was going to be about, but did not expect this kind of story at all. It was funny and actually made me laugh at some scenes; however, I was not so confortable watching it overall. I think for this kind of film, some people enjoy it a lot and some people don’t. Especially at the time this film came out, the sexual topic was kind of taboo and politically incorrect. So I don’t know how people responded to it. In addition, one of the reasons I didn’t really like this film so much was because I didn’t catch any message from this film. Maybe because I usually expect some kind of message from the movie or think about what the people wanted to tell audiences through the movie. I felt like it was just a humor or comedy about the sexual topics, but not the story which people spend a lot of money and make a film. I had a similar response to our previous movie “vanishing point.” (I felt that it was just a car action movie but did not have logical plot.) For both of the movies, I didn’t get why it became popular and also what was the message audience can get/learn from those movies. I did not know that these kinds of topics and styles can be a movie and more than that there are actually those kinds of movies which became popular and people enjoy it. I am not sure if Japan has the similar kinds of films, but I don’t think it was acceptable in Japan at the time.

    On the other hand, there were actually some funny scenes. For example, the episode that the Doctor fell in love with the sheep was fully. I like how the Doctor was going to be into the sheep and his face expression. It was funny that when he was on the bed with the sheep and calls her “Honey” with the serious face. And also, the doctor’s wife when she finds out that he had a sheep’s hair on his jacket and suspicious about the cheating.

    For the opening scene that a lot of rabbits were packed in a small space, I have a question that if it had any meaning or it was just used as the random scene. The scene was remaining in my head and I thought maybe the rabbit had any meaning. So I tried to search it and could not get a good answer. It is a small thing but I just wondered.

    I personally did not enjoy this film so much and surprised about the contents a little bit, but I understand some people like it a lot. Woody Allen must have a good sense of humor and unique idea. Maybe if I watched it with no expectation as the movie that has a logical story but watched it as just a comedy show, I was able to enjoy it more. But still, since I am not the person who can enjoy this kind of topic, I felt a bit uncomfortable about some scenes.

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  11. One thing I enjoyed about this film is that, even if you ignore the sexual aspects, it still does interesting things with the film medium.

    The first interesting thing I liked was the total lack of a central plot. The style of making it a bunch of unconnected vignettes was really cool. I got the general sense that one theme was tying the movie together, but the moods of the pieces were so different that they still felt very separate. Another things that tied the parts together was use of recurring actors. Even though Woody Allen acted and dressed differently throughout, it was still obvious that this was the same person.

    The other part that I thought was interesting had to with the organization. By naming the vignettes after chapters from an actual book about sex, it seemed like the movie was somehow going to deliver on the promise of its title. However, in line with the rest of the film refusing to take itself seriously, the vignettes often have nothing to do with the title, such as the one on transvestites, where the actual sketch has nothing to do with the title of “Are transvestites homosexuals?”

    Overall, I thought this movie was funny and an enoyable thing to watch.


  12. This film sure is a conversation starter.

    I thought “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex” was really interesting in its disjointed style and crossing of time periods, geography, and all that jazz. I think Woody Allen is incredibly innovative and does a fantastic job at pioneering new ways to make films and how to have a discussion with the audience.

    I actually re-watched “Annie Hall” recently and through watching this film and Annie Hall, I really felt like I got to know Allen’s style as a filmmaker. He does a fantastic job of creating films that aren’t so much a spectacle to be observed, but a conversation to be active in (evident especially by his breaking the 4th wall so often both in Annie Hall and Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex). This film was no exception. Through its disjointed narrative style composed of a series of unrelated shorts, he really runs the gamut of oddities that exist in human sexuality. I think that while some of the topics and views in the film on certain facets of human sexuality are antiquated, I do think that Allen was successful in taking a tongue-and-cheek approach to ensure that his film wasn’t obscene and wasn’t putting forward any judgement calls in regards to sexuality. What it functioned as was a conversation starter which was exactly what it needed to be in its time. I think the enduring praise of this film comes more from its station in American film history than it does in any individual piece of the film. In a time when American society was starting to embrace sexuality and see it more as a celebration of live and vitality than a descent into sin and wrong-doing, this film gave a voice to the actions of the people.

    Now, as far as Maddie’s point about not being able to separate the artist from the art. I think that is 100% a valid point. I think that if someone can do that and view this film while ignoring Woody Allen’s personal life then more power to them, but I would never say that discomfort while seeing this film is unjustified. If what the papers say is true, than this film can certainly be seen as evidence of Allen’s obsession with sex and impropriety to the point where one can feel guilty by dignifying the film through watching it.

    I think that either response is valid when watching the works from contentious filmmakers, and I think it’s important that both viewpoints are talked about. Personally, I’m incredibly torn about Woody Allen because I absolutely LOVE his other films, “Midnight in Paris”, “Broadway Danny Rose”, “Manhattan”, and “Annie Hall”, and I find myself hoping that the allegations against him aren’t true, but on the other hand, I have to ask myself if Woody Allen’s position in Hollywood and contemporary American culture is one that allows us as an audience to be complicit in victim-blaming and denial just because we like Woody Allen’s work.

    At the end of the day, I felt the movie was pretty frivolous and entertaining, precisely because it was done by Woody Allen. His style of humor and direction are completely his own, and allows the audience to feel like Allen’s characters are like parts of the viewer’s own mind, or people they know, and make them feel at home. For this exact reason, this film can also be very uncomfortable.

    But how that giant boob moved is still a mystery to me.

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  13. I really like Woody Allen films. He always has his own special way of interpreting things. And his style is very distinct. If you watch one of his movies without knowing the title or director I’m sure that you will still be able to tell a Woody Allen film apart from others. I liked this film, it was very funny and had what seemed to be sketches throughout the film. The style of comedy showed me how much comedy has changed in the last 20 years. It was silly, ridiculous, and some of the jokes were a little old fashioned, but overall, I think that this was a very funny film. This film makes very light of sex, something that society usually takes seriously in media. To me, this film was a refreshing change. I do however think that Allen should have choose a different title. The title is long and there doesn’t really seem to be a need for it. He really tries hard to be edgier than he usually is and this film does focus on some unusual sex habits. Some parts of the film are outrageous, and not all of them work well. However all in all this movie has it’s own ‘special’ charm.


  14. The reason why the audiences watch this film is because simply they are curious about the tittle of the film, “Everything You Wanted to Know about Sex..”. I think most people would willingly like to watch the film which has “SEX” on the title, and little looks out of the mainstream.
    Actually, each episode is entirely silly, but still fun to watch. The style of Allen’s early films like this remind me of the film “Funky Forest” directed by Katsuhito Ishii. This film also is very silly, and audiences would have no idea what is going on, and most people do not like it. However, still some of them can not stop watching this till the end, and find funny on this comedy film. I have a same feeling on the film “Everything..”. It is not a comedy film which always gives a big laugh, but is very creative comedy. I think this film and Wood Allen’s film both well embody things that people are randomly thinking in their brain. Therefore, it does not make sense and chaos, but some people will think it is try interesting and be very curious to know the whole story.


  15. I personally don’t like this kind of movie because I feel little uncomfortable and awkward. I would definitely not choose this film for date. But I was impressed that Woody Allen could play as so many characters, and those seem not same person played. This shows Woody Allen’s talent as great actor. However, Woody Allen was suspected that he is “Lolita Complex” as known as pedophilia. This ruins Woody Allen’s reputation because the audiences tend to see Woody Allen not as the character he played but as Woody Allen himself. This makes the audience blind, I thought. No one knows the truth except Woody Allen himself, yet he is talented actor.
    I wanted to ask what the main character of second episode drank at the end. I laughed when depressed the main character of second episode drinks “Woolite” from the bottle and wears lamb’s wool sweater. For some who are not familiar with “Woolite,” it is a detergent for stylish but sensitive garment like wool sweater. I thought that was sheep milk, but the main character tried to commit suicide by drinking detergent. That was really hilarious. The third episode was all in Italian language, and so I thought there is meaning of using that language. I wanted to know why the director chose Italian language for this episode. Is that because the main character was a professional model? Or, it has no meaning? The answer was that the director got inspired by kinds of French movie. (I’m sorry, but I forgot the name). There was similar film about this, so the third episode was a parody of that film. I could have interesting discussion in the class, but I could not put my hand up because I was too shy. At least, I could share this in this blog entry.


  16. “Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex But were Afraid to Ask” is so different from previous films which we watched in this class. I was really surprised and shocked about the contents of this film because I did not expect it. I had never watched this kind of movie. Probably, I won’t choose this kind of film when I go to the theater. Also, the theme of this film is taboo in general, so the title of this film is so curious. I guess that many people who have watched this film may not accept and value it due to the contents. However, it was funny and silly, so actually, I sometimes laughed while we were watching this film.
    In addition, this movie is composed of seven episodes, so this movie is a collection of short stories. I think that this composition makes this film funny, and it keeps the attention from the audience. I guess that if this movie were composed of only one episode and full length story, the audiences would get bored much easily. However, when people begin to lose their concentration, the story changes to completely different episode. Each episode has different theme. I could not understand what each titles means at first, and I could not get some jokes. However, as each story goes on, I could know the director’s intention a little. Therefore I think that this composition works well.


  17. This film is not erotic but all skits are ridiculous. This ridiculousness would cause some people to be annoyed. However, I liked this film because I could watch it without thinking and enjoyed Woody Allen’s characters. Everything You Always… is my first film which is formed by different skits. The length of each skits is good for me to not get tired  of watching, and actors who are acting foolish roles sereously make me laugh. 

    What I liked most is that Woody Allen starts talking to us in the first skit. I usually like the scene where characters in the screens talk to or watch the audience through the camera. Sometimes this technique does not work, but in this film, It works at least for me. 

    Hoever, the skit about sheep makes me uncomfortable. Although there is no sexual scene of man and sheep, it was disgusting and I could not get a joke from that skit. Also,  another skit based on Italian TV show is difficult for me to understand. Watching parody without knowing reference is hard to enjoy, so I felt I was just watching sexual TV show.    


  18. This was an interesting movie and it brought up a lot of taboos that many people in the 70s may not be familiar with. It was funny how that took very serious topics and made it easier to digest. For example, sodomy can be considered really bad, however the skit with the sheep was really funny. I also like the sperm skit. I think for a lot of people, talking about these topics today can be hard to digest so its good that this movie was mostly harmless fun. I was surprised at the number of celebrities there were in this film. I think even today many celebrities would be turned off to the idea of working in a silly movie about sex. To me it just seemed too risky to work with a movie that can have a lot of backlash.
    I noticed that some of the ideas about sex were outdated compared to today standards. The skit with the cross dressing man was kind of confusing. I think we all know that cross dressing and homosexuality are different. I understood that he was cross dressing but where did the homosexuality play in? Although students mentioned that the wife seemed to dismiss the issue and kind of judged him, for some reason I felt like she was hiding her sexuality. Kind of like he was the cross dresser and she was gay. Just the way she acted felt to me that she was hiding something rather than judging him but I am probably wrong.
    I also for got about the Woody Allen scandals. Actually this was the first Woody Allen film I have seen. I remember hearing about the scandal but never put two and two together until it was brought up in class. I feel like because this movie was made before his scandals it is not as bad as if his scandals were before the movie. However now that I know his scandals it makes me want to judge him. Did he make this movie because he wanted to make a discussion about sex or was he just a creepy pervert like how he was represented in the film. It adds on a whole new perspective to the film. If I had known about his past before I watched the movie, I too may be too distracted by my personal opinions of Woody Allen to watch the film just as it is.


  19. I really enjoyed the movie because it has this unique, kind of dark humor, which is interesting. I think the title is a bit misleading because it’ not about conventional sex but it focuses more on feticism and taboos. I think the format is really interesting because it’s dividend into many small chapters and each chapter it’s in its own time and space that are not connected with each other. There’s one chapter that kind of puzzled me because it was in Italian and there was no subtitles which was intentionally done. Since I understand Italian, I wonder what kind of effect it gave to people which didn’t understand, which also was the way intended to be viewed. Personally, despite the bad Italian pronouciation, I thought the jokes were actually funny and It would’ve been more exciting to understand the speech as well.

    I think through this movie we can really see the “auteur” period because the creativity of the director is so prominent. This movie breaks so many rules of major production movies which why its interesting to see how director takes advantage of his/her freedom. Some scenes in the movie were really original and unthinkable in the mainstream movies. For example, the giant boob scene, the human body from our organs point of view and so on. I think those are really creative touch that enhanced the movie a lot. In a sense a feel bad that nowdays the director doesn’t have as much power as in the “auteur” period. Now the creative power is mostly in the hands of the producer which made movies really repetitive because the same formula is always been used to sell better. But I think for people that have some knowledge about filmography, they’re not going to enjoy much the mainstream movies because they are too predictable. So the downside is that directors that want to make something creative won’t receive high budject as in the “auteur” period. 


  20. Indeed, this film was completely different from all the ones we watched before. And, personally, that was one of my favorite ones. Although I’m not quite sure wether or not those questions are everything I have always wanted to know about sex, the movie managed to entertainment me throughout the whole time. It was funny, original and well developed. The idea of dividing the movie into small sections made it simple and complex at the same time. Simple because the sections were pretty compact and quick and complex because the author made approaches to controversial themes like sodomy and transvestism.

    What I really like about this movie, though, was the comic touch in each and every piece of the movie. I just couldn’t take it serious. For example, although I find the part of the sheep very creepy and weird, I couldn’t help it but laugh while I was watching the movie. I didn’t even realize how serious it was by the time i was watching it. Also, the last section (What happens during an ejaculation) was brilliant… The plot was genial, fun, funny, funny, funny and… did I say funny yet?! With all due respect to all of those who dislike Woody Allen, this guy is genius. I get that he might not be a good person, but I think we shouldn’t take that into consideration while watching his films. After all, we should judge a piece by its content, not by its author’s personal life.

    However, I do believe some people might have felt uncomfortable while certain topics were being approached and I do see where they are coming from. I guess it all depends on your personal opinions about sexual content and how comfortable you feel when talking about it. It is predictable that someone who is more open minded in regards to sexuality tends to like this movie more than a conservative person. Therefore, i do understand the reason why some people did not enjoy it.

    But, wel… I just love it! It was the most fun among all of those we watched before. Thanks, Karl, for making me watch this movie. And although it was not everything I wanted to know about sex, it was everything it could be funny about sex!


  21. The tile, “EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SEX; BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK (1972),” sounds like the film, which never be popular, so I was surprised when I find this film’s success. This film was really new as the theme is sexuality, and I wondered why studios paid for this kind of film. But the lecture taught me that in the early 70s Hollywood studios became ready to finance film like this because the society became more open to sexuality. What I liked about this movie was that the whole story breaks up into short chapters. Because of this, I did not get tired of each of them, and I felt like I was watching comedy shows. Even though some of stories were bored, I was able to find the story that I like. Moreover, it was great that each of episodes has completely different style.

    The episode, “What is Sodomy” was my favorite. The story was ridiculous, but I enjoyed its foolishness. The story was simple, and the doctor fell in love with sheep and his life was destroyed because his wife knew he had sex with sheep. I enjoyed the whole story, but what I liked was that when his wife found sheep wool on his shoulder, and suspected infidelity. This scene was the most ridiculous scene I ever watched in the movies. Moreover, I also liked the chapter, “Why Do Women Have Trouble Reaching an Organism.” This story describes a woman who can only reach organism in public. At first, I was not sure what the story is about because of its language. They speak Italian, and there was no sub-title. Thus, the viewers watch this episode without any language, and I think this technique makes this episode fun a lot. I really could not understand what this story wanted to say, but it seems like Woody Allen’s saying that we do not have words to talk about sex, as it is a universal topic.

    I overall thought that Woody Allen is clever and creative enough to get an idea, which people never had. I thought that Woody Allen successfully made this film funny, and genre stereotype of sexuality had changed probably in a good way. However, when I think about the tile after I watched this film, I do not get how it related to the episodes. Because I could understand there are a lot of things or issues related to sex, but the film itself does not give any lecture for people how to figure them out.


  22. Moral of the story: Sex is the most awkward thing ever, and no matter how much scientists do research on it or how much we know, practice is different from theory, and it still remains something mysterious. Woody Allen captures the absurdity of it all through humour and originality.

    In the first vignette, the bumbling fool is trying to get with the unreachable lady who is above him through trickery. He doesn’t succeed, and is punished.

    Then there is the doctor who called the patient in love with a sheep “crazy,” and then finds that bestiality is actually a part of his own nature. I read that as a commentary on how many parts of society feel about sodomy and declare it as “unnatural.” Often, some people condemn others for their actions and desires without considering that those things might be a part of their own nature.

    Then the transvestite. I actually found this vignette charming, and I sympathised with the character. It was kind of endearing to see what a joy he had on trying on women’s clothes in secret. Then, he had to go to great lengths to hide it from others, but ends up going along with the part well in front of a crowd… Until his wife outs him. “Why didn’t you tell me? I would have understood. I would have understood you are sick and a pervert.” I thought this scene was very clever. It does prove that not all transvestites are homosexuals, and through his wife’s response, we see how some of society is confused about transvestism.

    Then, there is the giant boob, which was stopped by a giant bra. I felt that kind of showed that the female body is sometimes something mysterious that is feared by men, and that it should be constrained.

    There is somewhat of an objectification of women here, but men were not portrayed much better, either. They were mostly lascivious fools. I think it’s just a stereotype that Woody Allen exploited for the sake of humour, and not meant to be taken seriously.

    There was discussion as to whether we can separate the artists from the work. There is only a certain extent to which you can. So much of the creative process involves the artist’s subconscious. Their work is shaped by their environment, their experiences, their environment, and their beliefs. It is often said that genius and madness are often linked. Often great artists have something “wrong” in their brain that allows them to create like they do. The exception to this might be performing artists and actors, since their work involves separating themselves from their identity to become someone else.

    All in all, this film was a fun romp. Highly entertaining and whimsical, this film was an irreverent glimpse into human sexuality. I think we are meant to feel awkward about it, but we are also supposed to laugh. Society does enough of a job making us take sexuality too seriously.


  23. I have mixed feelings when it comes to this movie. I enjoyed it, but I think a large part of my enjoyment came from watching it with an audience of people. If I had decided to pull it up on my own and watch it on my laptop I probably would have given up within the first act, maybe the third, tops. Sexual puns and hokey scenarios work for me only to an extent. The entire film reminded me of prolonged episode of SNL, and one that was touch and go. Sometimes you have a skit that works and sometimes you don’t and so many of these, at least for myself, worked only because I had a group of people that I was able to share a shocked “is this really happening” laugh with in front of a big screen. Looking at the film from a different angle, I do respect it for being a movie that took went all out, no-holds-barred in terms of discussing a topic that was taboo for the time. They took the taboo and blew it so open in such a ridiculous and offensive manner that it was almost impossible to actually be offended. Just like the “so bad it’s good” style of movie, this one was more of a “so wrong, it’s…..” well if not right, than at least something approaching that. Imagining myself seeing the movie in theaters when it originally aired, I could see myself having a very different reaction than the one I have now, seeing it as hilarious for hitting such “I can’t believe they just did that” topics with just force that you can’t help but respect it for its sheer gumption. The film made snide commentary on just about everything covering rape, pedophilia, bestiality, sadomasochism, a whole slew of fetishes… It was rather scandalous even by today’s standards, and yet at the same time was more of a farce and mockery of the whole subject rather than actually producing a film that was sexual in any real way. I kind of like this about it.

    Delving into the individual chapters (that’s another thing I liked about the film. You definitely get from how it’s set up that this was adapted from a book.), the closing chapter was hands down my favorite. I’ve always loved that silly yet creative “your body is run by a bunch of little people inside you” concept (I think the first intro I ever had to it was in a Calvin and Hobbes comic as a kid) and I’ve never seen it better than executed than here. I loved all the concepts of the desperate struggle to maintain erection, to finding the guilt (in the form of the priest) and apprehending him, even to Woody Allen as the “I have serious doubts about this” sperm. This was the most creative and comical bit to me. I appreciated the giant rampaging boob for its B-movie horror film “the Blob” homage that it was (and this one got some legit laughs from me too with the straight faced cop lines “I’ve seen this before! They usually come in pairs!) but the opening crazy sex scientist scene fell flat for me. I actually really liked the Gene Wilder sheep love skit (oh Gene Wilder, you play crazy passionate so well) but the “are transvestites homosexual” skit left me totally not knowing how to feel. I felt like it was leaning on the image of the big burly man in the little dress as its main source of humor and that just left me feeling weird and little offending on part of actual cross-dressers. (Oh hey, I guess this movie is capable of offense! But not really because once again. So over-the-top that it didn’t really bother that much.) I wasn’t very into the Italian one, but I did like the idea that the subject was universal and understandable despite language gap. It was a bit confusing at first but by the end it was pretty obvious she had a exhibitionist kink going on.

    The only thing that does make me at all uncomfortable with the content isn’t the content so much itself as it is the fact that it’s all with Woody Allen at the forefront. I’m generally pretty good at separating the work produced from the one producing it, but the conversation we had in class hit a few important points in my opinion. It’s this film particularly that I find hard to separate from Woody Allen what with the issues concerning Woody Allen’s proclivities involving young women. Watching a guy who is tied to a pretty skeezy scandal in this film where he acts pretty skeezy leaves me feeling a bit… off. I think overall I would prefer seeing his other romcom films, but for me, this whole movie might have been worth it for “human body” skit alone.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I’d like to say something positive about “Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex But were Afraid to Ask” because I’ve writing most of my blogs about how I don’t care for the film one way or the other, but there’s not much I can comment on. It was too difficult for me to watch, and I really wanted to leave the room after the first act. My personal distant for the film makes it hard to judge it fairly. Just because I didn’t like it doesn’t make it bad, and there were a few things the film did that worked to its advantage. I liked how they took a book interpretation and made a parody of it only slightly inspired by the text, and I enjoyed the structure of the movie with its short unconnected acts, but it was so off putting that unless you’re a member of the audience who finds sexual humor the most entertaining thing in a story, there wasn’t much of substance there. It personally repulsed me.

    It was a parody of a book that parodies other film genera in a sexual context. From the medieval reenactment to the mad scientist movie to the game show act, the only thing new that was brought to each genera was the sex. Everything else was by-the-book and as I said in class, if that’s not your kind of humor there’s nothing there for you.

    During the discussion, when I brought up with the movies appeal the class response was ‘what did you think it was going to be about?’ I was really hurt and insulted, and I wasn’t convinced my point was invade. It was made for a specific group of people and that lowered its universal appeal (and affected my personal enjoyment). The film used only one type of humor that grew stale and depended on the changing stories to mix it up. By the end of the first act I wanted to leave the room and by the end of the third I couldn’t continue watching. I knew exactly what kind of movie it was and I didn’t enjoy it, so what does the context have to do with it? I would never have chosen to watch this movie if I had the option, and because of this I felt like I being told to shut up, that wasn’t allowed to point this major flaw out, and that my intolerance for sexual humor meant I had nothing to contribute to the conversation. So I don’t think there is anything left for me to say here.


  25. As most of the films we’ve been watching have been very dark, I enjoyed watching something comedic. Even if it is extreme at times, it was hilarious.
    I suppose the only thing that disturbed me the most was the segment about the sheep. Yes, it was extremely ridiculous, but it also felt very wrong laughing at it, since this kind of thing does actually exist, and it’s a scary thing. However, Gene Wilder was hilarious as the sheep-lover.
    About the comment about the director being a sleaze bag in real life… I suppose I’m the kind of person who doesn’t think or care about directors. Even though the director of this film is kind of a jerk, I don’t think that detracts from his work (hey, that rhymes!). I think it’s a good comedy when the viewer is able to separate it from the name of Allen.
    Getting into more modern films, we also see pop culture references start to get into film. Throughout the film, the characters make witty comments about real life crises and pop culture phenomenon. I thought it was really funny to hear much more witty humor than in past films we’ve watched.


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