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Long, Stanley A. (1933-2012)

Director, Producer, Writer, Cinematographer

Main image of Long, Stanley A. (1933-2012)

Born into a working-class family in South London - his father was chauffeur to the chairman of the Hovis company - Stanley A. Long went on to become a prolific and highly successful independent filmmaker. Fascinated by photography from an early age, he began his career in the late 1940s with a job as studio assistant to a glamour photographer for the princely sum of one pound per week.

National Service saw him enlisted in 1952 in the RAF, where he gained experience taking photographs for the publicity department. Returning to civilian life in 1954, he interspersed respectable work as a wedding photographer with snapshots of naked ladies for top-shelf 'art books'. Such esoteric assignments led him to meet Arnold L. Miller, and the two collaborated on their own glamour magazine, Photo Studio, and began production of 8mm striptease films, sold by newsagents, competing with Harrison Marks for the adult home movie market. Stunned by the low production values of a nudist film they saw at the cinema, but very conscious of the profits that such films could realise at that time, Long and Miller collaborated together under the Searchlight Films banner to produce Nudist Memories (1960), Nudes of the World (1961) and Take Off Your Clothes and Live! (1962).

Alternating well-shot, inexpensively made exploitation product for the adult market with polished instructional documentary films (some of which were made for the military), Miller and Long found a profitable niche combining stylistic elements of both, notably resulting in West End Jungle (1961), London in the Raw (1964) and Primitive London (1965), described as 'shockumentaries', and British equivalents to Mondo Cane (Italy, 1962) and the series of exploitation films it inspired.

Highly skilled at providing impressive visuals on a low budget, Long went on to be director of photography on a string of films for Tony Tenser's Tigon Productions, making a valuable but uncredited contribution to Roman Polanski's Repulsion (1965) and working effectively with director Michael Reeves on The Sorcerers (1967). Reeves judged Long's lighting of a scene to be akin to "a painting by Rubens".

Long formed his own production company, Salon, in 1968. Following the success of his pseudo-documentary, The Wife Swappers (1970), directed by Derek Ford, Long went on to produce and direct a long line of highly profitable saucy sex comedies, notably the Adventures series, the main box office rival to the Confessions films of the 1970s. His autobiography, X-Rated: Adventures of an Exploitation Filmmaker, was published in 2008.

Vic Pratt

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Selected credits

Thumbnail image of Bread (1971)Bread (1971)

Mildly saucy teen comedy for the hippie generation

Thumbnail image of Primitive London (1965)Primitive London (1965)

Deliriously over-the-top, salacious 'exposé' of Swinging London

Thumbnail image of Sorcerers, The (1967)Sorcerers, The (1967)

Rourceful low-budget horror with Boris Karloff as a mad hypnotist

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Thumbnail image of Miller, Arnold Louis (1922-)Miller, Arnold Louis (1922-)

Producer, Director, Writer