Michel Wichard, director; Jean Mitry, writer

The Fourth Sex (aka Le Quatrième sexe; France; 1961)

Original Benton window card

 

In this picture released by Radley Metzger’s Audubon Films, Sand, an American lesbian, becomes enmeshed in a love triangle after she seduces an attractive young Parisian woman, Caroline.  Although Caroline has fallen for Sand, Sand soon finds herself attracted to Caroline’s brother, Michel.  Although the advertising campaign for this film proudly displays its lesbian sexuality with the phrase “Girls Who Like Girls,” the film itself backs away from the lesbian love story. Sand finally chooses the man, Michel, over Caroline, suggesting that her lesbianism may have been just a phase or, as is so popular in male heterosexual fantasies, that the lesbian may have been won over to heterosexuality by the virile power of a real man.  The sexy tag line, “Is she… or isn’t she?  Only Her Lover Knows for Sure” is very similar to the tag line used in the promotional materials of the gay draft dodging comedy, The Gay Deceivers (1969) later in the decade (i.e. “Is he or isn’t he? Only his draftboard and his girlfriend know for sure”).  The script for The Fourth Sex was written by influential French film theorist Jean Mitry.

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