Debbie Does Dallas (1978)

Written by Mike Lyon on March 5th, 2008

Debbie Does Dallas is one of those much-talked about porn classics that few people have actually taken the time to see. For my part, I’ve seen it about eight times over the course of the past decade and used it as a teaching tool. I’ve watched two different modern remakes and I even took in the off-Broadway musical version during my first year in the Big Apple. Theoretically, I should be the biggest Debbie fan in the world! But in the final analysis, its originality notwithstanding, it’s a difficult picture to recommend outside the context of its obvious historical importance.

And Debbie Does Dallas is definitely an important work. It may features all the hallmarks of early porn: a straightforward narrative story, unremarkable-looking actors, a funky if erratic original score and lots of hair; but what we may perceive as a relative lack of sophistication today was unique and groundbreaking in 1978. Debbie is arguably the first modern teen sex comedy, the progenitor of that storied genre, from Porky’s to American Pie. In fact, it is so liberally cribbed from within this genre that it begs the question: why haven’t more people seen it?

Honestly, because it hasn’t stood the test of time; to be fair, almost no films from the dawn of porn have. The producers of early theatrical releases of this nature could not possibly have predicted the omnipresence of pornography in modern culture. At the touch of a button, we can experience a vast array of unimaginable sexual activities; the curve of filth trends ever upwards – nothing stays shocking for long. Narrative porn has gone the way of the dodo – its power to titillate long ago surpassed its ability to entertain. And in this world of infinite sexual possibilities, no one wants to watch the same porn they watched last week, much less an awkward, half-funny mess made thirty years ago.

These days, Debbie is a museum piece, ancient history; she got old, and though we’re all content to examine her legacy, no one wants to watch her fuck anymore.

[rating: 4]

1 Comments so far ↓

  1. Garth says:

    I just saw Debbie and her sequel a couple of weeks ago. I was dubbing some old porn to dvdr to get rid of the tapes. They had been sitting in a box for years, untouched. I gave all of them to a guy who still uses tapes. I know. He’s a ludite.

    I had forgotten how poorly made so much of the old porn was. When it was new in the 70’s and 80’s it was pretty exciting. It was what you had. Magazines were often black and white in those days. I remember telling guys in school that I had a nudist magaine. This was in the late 60’s, and they were excited that you could see bush in a magazine that they hearing about. They tried to talk me into bringing it to school, but I don’t think I did.

    I remember back in the 80’s when a couple of friends were staying in the spare room and they discovered the box with the porn in it. They weren’t snooping, I told them if they got bored laying about the house they could go through the boxes of books and magazines the lined the wall of the room they were sleeping in. Even then I had way too much stuff. The lady of the couple commented on the unattractiveness of the people. It’s true, you had to sit through 2 or 3 Lisa DeLeeuw’s to get to a single Lisa Thatcher. Now cute girls in porn are a dime a dozen.

    I’ll work my way back through your reviews and comment some more later. I have to go off to the LEGO club meeting soon.


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