Darling (1965) - Julie Christie plays a fashion model, an icon to set alongside the fashion photographer (see Blow-up, below), whose rise and rise in the Swinging London of the early Sixties is sharply etched by director John Schlesinger. Christie is briefly glimpsed at the Playboy Club, along with a pack of other stars, in the Secret History film Bunny Girls.
Blow-Up (1966): Director Michelangelo Antonioni's masterly movie, set in Sixties London, has bigger fish to fry than the Playboy Club, but his protagonist David Hemmings, a trendy fashion photographer, would have been a Playboy regular, albeit with a cynical smirk playing on his face while he played chemmy.
Kaleidoscope (1966): Warren Beatty stars opposite Susannah York as a glamorous gambler planning a big heist in London. An amusing caper movie, with many scenes set in gaming clubs, which captures the fantasy of the potent playboy male rather better than Hugh Hefner.
I'll Never Forget Whatshisname (1967): Oliver Reed plays an advertising genius who tries to buck the system, A movie redolent of London at the apogee of the Swinging Sixties and one of director Michael Winner's better films.
Death of a Centerfold (1983): Made-for-TV movie based on the Dorothy Stratten murder, with Jamie Lee Curtis as the Playmate and Bruce Weitz (Hill Street Blues) as her husband.
Star 80 (1983): Bob Fosse's version of the Dorothy Stratten affair, starring Mariel Hemingway as Stratten. The movie was bitterly attacked by Hefner (played by Cliff Robertson in the film) who stated that 'recreational sex can be moral'.
Hugh Hefner: Once upon a time (1992): Authorised documentary of Hefner's life - Hefner as he wants to be remembered. According to Chicago Sun Times film critic Roger Ebert, 'Hefner's Playboy image was an extension of Hef, the upperclassman at Chicago's Steinmetz High School, throwing neat parties for his friends ...'
The Neophiliacs by Christopher Booker.
The best book about the Sixties, written shortly after the event by a founder-member of Private Eye magazine, one of the phenomena of the decade and still with us. Out of print but may be available from libraries.
All Dressed Up: Sixties and the counterculture by Jonathon Green (Pimlico, 1999) £12.50.
Memories of the Sixties from those who lived through them mediated by the expert hand of Jonathon Green, himself a former underground journalist and survivor of the decade.
The Sixties: Social and cultural transformation in Britain, France, Italy and the United States by Arthur Marwick (Oxford University Press, 1998) £25.00.
Cultural survey of the decade in which the professor of history at the Open University weaves a tapestry of the times informed by wit and scholarship.
The Playboy Book - Forty Years: The complete pictorial history by Gretchen Edgren and Murray Fisher (ed.) (General Publishing Group, 1993) £30.
The authorised history of Playboy magazine which, in its own words, has been since 1953 the 'source for the final word on fashion, society, fiction, technology and, of course, beauty'. Colour illustrations throughout. Booknews described it as a 'grotesque and fascinating collection of bad (and popular) taste, and a vulgarian's delight'.
The Playmate Book: Five decades of centerfolds by Gretchen Edgren (Aurum Press, 1996) £35.
The companion to The Playboy Book (above). Colour photos of no fewer than 512 Playmates plus interviews.
Inside the Playboy Mansion: If you don't swing, don't ring by Gretchen Edgren, with an introduction by Hugh Hefner (General Publishing Group, 1999) £30.
The Century of Sex: Playboy's history of the sexual revolution, 1900-1999 by James R Petersen (Grove/Atlantic [US], 1999) £25.
A wide-ranging history that argues that the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s was part of a larger social evolution that began long before the advent of penicillin, Playboy or the pill and continues today.
The Killing of the Unicorn by Peter Bogdanovich.
A memoir of Dorothy Stratten by the noted film director, who was in love with the former Playmate at the time of her death and blames the murder on the Playboy mystique. The book is out of print and its details are sketchy, but you may find it in libraries.
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