John Jesnor Lindsay

John Jesnor Lindsay born 1939

John Lindsay was a Scottish photographer who turned to the more lucrative trade of making blue movies (i.e. short hardcore porn films for the 8mm market) during the late 60's and all the way through the 70's. A former student of the Glasgow School of Art, Lindsay had began his career as a photojournalist with limited financial success. In a hint of what was to come later, by the late sixties Lindsay had turned to photographing nudes for magazines like Penthouse and Mayfair.

Hardcore pornography was just around the corner, and by 1974 Lindsay has shot around 100 blue films for the 8mm market. Ultimately Lindsay would become as synonymous with blue films in the 1970s, as Harrison Marks had with glamour photography in the 1960s. Lindsay had numerous confrontations with the law with obscenity charges put against him, most notably October 1974 (jury unable to reach a majority verdict), November 20 1974 (retrial: found not guilty) and July 1977 (found not guilty).

Lindsay’s 1974 defense claimed he was shooting pornography for export only, and that prior to shooting such material Lindsay had visited Scotland Yard and been told he would not be acting illegally if he was shooting porn for release outside of the UK [Lindsay also makes this claim in the 2001 television documentary “The History of Hardcore”] . However the prosecution’s case argued that Lindsays film were being offered for sale within the UK and that a homegrown distribution network for his films did exist. After the not guilty verdict Lindsay began openly selling his 8mm films in the UK anyway, he also discovered a legal loophole in which hardcore films could be screened in British cinemas if they were run on a ‘membership only’ club basis. Membership Only cinemas, which worked on the principle that the premises had to be privately owned and that customers had to sign a form which instantly made them ‘members’, had been using this loophole to show soft core sex films since 1960 when Tony Tenser opened the Compton Cinema Club in London’s Soho [Hamilton, John 2005. “Beasts in the Cellar: the exploitation film career of Tony Tenser” FAB Press] . On account of this legal loophole these cinemas were free to show material without it first being passed by the British censor, and would also be immune to prosecution under the obscene publications act. By the early 70’s the staple diet of such cinemas were soft American films albeit often with a violent, S&M bent e.g. Love Camp 7, Mondo Fruedo, The Smut Peddler. Lindsay would be the first to introduce hardcore films to the membership only cinemas, when he opened the London Blue Movie Centre in Berwick Street and the Taboo Club in Great Newport Street, the latter promising its customers “good uncensored porn in all its intricate cock raising forms” [ [ Lindsay Ad circa 1976] ] . Other rival cinemas followed suit notably the Cineclub 24 in Tottenham Court Road, the aforementioned Compton Cinema, and the Exxon cinema club in North London run by David Waterfield.

Lindsay’s most notorious productions were his so-called “Teenage” or “Lolita” series of films, in which adult actresses portrayed British schoolgirls in a variety of pornographic scenarios, with seemingly the same two school uniforms recycled from film to film. The titles of these jailbait themed films included "Sex After School", "Schoolgirl Joyride" and most famously "Jolly Hockey Sticks". While the “schoolgirls” who appeared in Lindsay’s films like were clearly nothing of the sort, on at least one occasion the settings were accurate. During his 1977 trial it emerged that at least eleven of Lindsay’s films had been filmed at Aston Manor, a secondary school in Birmingham, and that “Classroom Lover” starred 19 year old David Freeman, a former head boy and Colin Richards the school caretaker [Fleshpot (Headpress publishing 2000) “Jolly Hockey Sticks: the career of John Lindsay, Britain’s ‘Taboo’ Film-Maker of the Seventies”] . Upon being found not guilty Lindsay announced his intension to produce Britain’s first feature length hardcore film and fight the British censor to have it released. Although the film never materialized Lindsay was now being dubbed “the blue movie freedom fighter” by the press, an image he indorsed in adverts for his films which claim “I risked my freedom to give YOU the right to buy them’. Several of his post 1977 films also open with a written notice that mention his trials and his not guilty verdicts.

Most of Lindsay’s blue films - he made in the region of 4,000 - have basic, straight to the point plots and titles, "Sex Ahoy" features sex on a yacht, "Convent of Sin" finds two motorists falling foul of sex crazed nuns, "Oh Nurse" features sex between nurses and patients. A more eccentric title "Gipsies Curse" (sic) sees a female gypsy attempting to sell flowers to a housewife who then bashes the gypsy over the head with the flowers and gets into a catfight with her, that eventually ends up a sexual threesome when the gypsy’s husband (Timothy Blackstone) shows up. "Sexangle" and "Health Farm" (both 1975) are two of Lindsay’s more ambitious efforts, running at over twenty minutes each and the only Lindsay titles with any continuity between films, with both featuring the same lead character, the buxom Lady Samantha. Police interest in Lindsay’s activities intensified towards the end of the seventies, his premises were raided several times and attempts were made to close Lindsay’s cinemas on charges of “running a disorderly house”. To gain evidence of this undercover police officers had become members of Lindsay’s cinema in the hope of catching audience members masturbating. Lindsay alleges that an insider at Scotland Yard informed him that the police had been given orders to close his business down by all means necessary. In the early eighties Lindsay had also began selling compilations of his films on video, taking advantage of the then unregulated state of the british video industry- and selling them at 45 pounds per tape through mail order (the tapes generally contained two or three films and rather uniquely professionally made trailers for other Lindsay titles) [ [ List of Lindsay films released on UK video] ] . Lindsay’s Taboo video releases have since become collectors items and because of their scarcity are known to command high prices (a 1982 video of Betrayed and several other shorts recently sold for over 120 pounds on ebay). In 1983 Lindsay’s premises were again raided, and he was sent to trial, this time he was found guilty of obscenity and served 12 months in prison. Lindsay alleges that the four videotapes seized that helped convict him were planted by the police [McGillivray, David 1992. “Doing Rude Things: The History of the British Sex Film 1957-1981” Sun Tavern Fields Books] . Upon his release he retired from pornography, and opened a marine broking company in Kent. Although it is believed he may have recently moved back to his naive Scotland.

As well as his blue movies Lindsay also produced the feature films, The Love Pill (1971), The Pornbrokers (1973), The Hot Girls (1974) and I’m Not Feeling Myself Tonight (1975). At least two of these were also filmed in hardcore versions for export. The Love Pill is notable for starring comic actor Henry Woolf in at least nine different roles (Woolf is only credited with playing one part, but played several others under heavy make-up). Lindsay also hired the famous Page 3 Model Flanagan to play a bit part in the film, although most of the women who appear in small, nude roles in the film were in fact strippers recruited from a nightclub in Dean Street, which was also a setting for a scene in the film. The Pornbrokers, a documentary style look at Lindsay’s work in pornography, was banned by the British censor, but passed as X by the Greater London Council for a limited release in the capital. The Pornbrokers receives an unlikely plug in the 1974 comedy Vampira (film) in a scene where David Niven’s Dracula and Teresa Graves go and see the film at the Jacey cinema in Trafalgar square [] .

Outside of The Pornbrokers Lindsay speaks about his career in Naughty (1971) directed by Stanley Long, Mary Millington’s True Blue Confessions (1980), Sex and Fame: the Mary Millington Story (1996), and The History of Hardcore (2001).

He was also the stills photographer for Derek Ford’s The Wife Swappers (1969), and can (accidentally?) be seen in the film taking stills during the second version of the scene in which a woman in kidnapped on Westminster Bridge.

Notable Discoveries

The following began their careers in Lindsay’s blue films, and would later move on to more mainstream 'over the counter' work, usually in the form of roles in British sex comedies or walk ons in sitcoms.

* Mary Millington, appeared in several Lindsay titles most notably the lead role in Miss Bohrloch before becoming the British sex symbol of the 1970s thanks to appearances in magazines like Playbirds and Whitehouse.

* Pat Astley played the maid in Lindsay’s End of Term, then several years later appeared as Young Mr. Grace’s nurse in the 1977 season of Are You Being Served, as well as roles in British sex comedies and the horror cheapie Don’t Open Till Christmas.

* Timothy Blackstone, blue movie leading man in several Lindsay shorts, occasionally had minor roles in soft core feature films and was an extra in the Doctor Who story Genesis of the Daleks. The brother of Baroness Blackstone he was convicted of insider trading in 2003 []

* Maureen O’Malley modeled and performed in blue films for Lindsay circa 1973. Is seen being interviewed and auditioning for Lindsay in his 1973 film The Pornbrokers, the authenticity of these scenes is questionable, but at the very least the film provides a reasonably believable reconstruction of O’Malley meeting Lindsay. O’Malley later went onto model for David Sullivan’s magazines under the name “Miss Mary Whitehouse”.

* Lisa Taylor, appeared in the infamous Lindsay short Jolly Hockey Sticks, later acted in several British sex comedies (Under the Bed, Let’s Get Laid).

Partial Filmography

* "Miss Bohrloch" (1970)
* "Betrayed"
* "Oral Connection" (1971)
* "Wet Nymph"
* "Sex Angle"
* "Sex Ahoy"
* "Oh Nurse"
* "Desire"
* "Health Farm"
* "Jolly Hockey Sticks"
* "White Hunter" +
* "Convent of Sin" +
* "Triangle of Lust"
* "Boarding School"
* "End of Term"
* "Amanda at Night"
* "Fruits of Sin"
* "Hot Sensations"
* "Kiki and Lil"
* "Misadventure"
* "Sexational"
* "Sex kitten"
* "Untamed"

+ -indicates films cited at Lindsay’s obscenity trials.


* Sheridan, Simon 2007. "Keeping the British End Up: Four Decades of Saucy Cinema" (third edition) Reynolds & Hearn Books

* Lindsay, John 1975. “The Sexorcist”

External links

* [
* [ Australia Trailer for 'The Pornbrokers']

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