Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Those of us who had to suffer such "instructional" films as Dating Do's and Don'ts in high school will be especially entertained by Heavy Petting. In the visually sarcastic manner of the nuclear-age documentary The Atomic Cafe, the film assembles masses of information and misinformation about teenage dating rituals of the 1950s. Clips from contemporary movies, TV programs, commercials, and "sex hygiene" short subjects are used throughout; perhaps once upon a time these vignettes could have been taken seriously, but here they're only good for howls of laughter. Interspersed among the vintage footage are interviews with such children of the 1960s as David Byrne and William S. Burroughs. One look at the 1950s as depicted in Heavy Petting, and it's easy to see how the sensuous, psychedelic '60s came to be.
commercials, dating, film-clips, irony, morals, mores, retrospective, sex, sexuality, social-change