September 15, 1995
From Entertainment Correspondent Mark Sheerer
(CNN) -- Jodie Foster skinny dips in "Nell." So does Meryl Streep, in "The River Wild." What's going on here? Or coming off, as the case may be? According to one film critic, nudity is on the rise in America's cinema.
In her book, "Total Exposure," New York Daily News film critic Jamie Bernard sees an increase in what she calls Hollywood's "body-consciousness." Bernard notes that actresses like Jodie Foster and Meryl Streep have never been equated with nude scenes. But suddenly, these actresses are taking their clothes off.
"I think this is the way, especially for women as they get into their late thirties and forties, to prove they still have it," says Bernard. "It's hard to get those young roles." (111k AIFF sound)
Women aren't the only ones showing it all in films. Male full frontal nudity is also a growth industry. Bernard said the trend started when Richard Gere, a major Hollywood star, was willing to take it all off. More recently, Bernard sees Harvey Keitel as the poster boy of male full frontal nudity. But even though nudity on films is prevalent, Bernard says not every actor should bare it all.
"For example, Sean Young, who is best known, even today, for that backseat limo scene with Kevin Costner in 'No Way Out.' (It was) not a naked scene, just a hot scene, really. She (then) took all her clothes off in a little movie called 'Love Crimes.' It was a bad movie, but she didn't look good, and people laughed."
And I know it's just my personal opinion, but I could live a longer, healthier life if Mickey Rourke would just keep his clothes on. I'm tired of seeing him naked." (119k AIFF sound)
If you think Bernard is too critical, think again. She has some personal favorites who haven't gotten naked, but should.
"Well, I would like to see Antonio Banderas take off his clothes more often than he has. I think this would be very important for film scholarship," she says. "Michele Pfieffer never really takes her clothes off, and she's gorgeous. I think a lot of people, men and women both, would love it if she would do a nude scene."
In the end, it's no surprise that nudity brings in the bucks. "Sex sells," says Bernard. "It sells soap, it sells cars, and of course, it sells movies."
And that's the bottom line.
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