This Woody Allen film was a literal rendering of the sex manual by Dr David Reuben that “contains every idea I have ever had about sex, including a few that led to my divorce”.
Seven significant questions about sex are answered in the film’s seven episodes.
1. Do Aphrodisiacs Work? A court jester (Allen), who has fallen in love with the Queen (Lynn Redgrave), obtains a love potion. It works, but it doesn’t help to open her chastity belt.
2. What is Sodomy? A shepherd complains to a doctor (Gene Wilder) that his sheep, Daisy, no longer loves him. The doctor offers to treat Daisy, but he too falls deeply in love with her and embarks on an affair which lands him on Skid Row.
3. Do Some Women Have Trouble Reaching Orgasm? Gina (Louise Lasser) finds that sexy husband Fabrizio (Allen) does nothing for her in the bedroom, but that sex in public places can turn her on.
4. Are Transvestites Homosexuals? Sam, nearly caught trying on his mother-in-law’s clothes, escapes to the street where his handbag is snatched. The police arrive to help.
5. What Are Sex Perverts? On the TV game show What’s My Perversion? celebrities try to guess a guest’s special preferences.
6. Are the Findings of Doctors and Clinics Who Do Sexual Research and Experiments Accurate? When Victor Shakapopolis (Allen) meets up with a fellow sexologist, the eccentric and unorthodox Dr Bernardo (John Carradine), Bernardo’s latest experiment – a giant breast – breaks free and rampages across the countryside.
7. What Happens During Ejaculation? A man is out on a date when his body’s control centre finds his erection is losing steam. Sperm #1 (Allen) becomes very anxious about where it is – or isn’t – going to end up.
It’s clear that all director/scriptwriter Woody Allen needed from David Reuben’s book was the title and the chapter headings. The rest of the genius is Allen’s own.
Victor/Fabrizio/The Fool/Sperm #1