George Harrison Marks (6 August 1926 - 27 June 1997) was a British glamour photographer, publisher and editor of spanking magazines, maker of spanking films and occasional spanking actor. Earlier in his career, he directed some of England's first nudist and "nudie cutie" exploitation films.
Born into a lower-middle-class Jewish family in Tottenham, north London, George Harrison Marks aspired from an early age to a career in show business. He went on the variety stage in the late 1940s as half of a comedy duo called Harrison and Stuart, but the act did not prosper. Then he turned to theatrical photography, taking publicity shots of entertainers and showgirls. One of the latter, Pamela Green, who became his model and lover, perceived that more money was to be made out of nude photography. They went into partnership producing airbrushed photo-sets of statuesque naked women and later published a successful ‘girlie’ magazine entitled Kamera (1957-68).
Early film loopsEdit
Marks soon began making non-pornographic nude stag reels for the home-movie market under the names Kamera Productions and Kamera Cine Films. Between 1960 and 1968 he created around 140 silent 8mm film loops (ranging from 50 to 200 feet in length). These showed busty women performing striptease or appearing in whimsical situations that for some reason required them to shed their clothing.
A few of his films explored BDSM themes. Perchance to Scream (1967) and The Lash (1968) involve captive women who are chained up in a medieval dungeon and whipped. Macabre (1968) features a leather-clad dominatrix.
Marks expanded on his basic concept of combining beautiful nude women with fantasy scenarios for a series of exploitation films. The first was Naked as Nature Intended (1961), a nudist camp romp that was typical of its period. This was followed by the episodic historical fantasy The Naked World of Harrison Marks (1965).
His next film, Pattern of Evil (1968), had a darker S&M theme and controversial explicit sex scenes. This was made to compete with the "roughie" sexploitation films being made in America. It was banned in the UK but released in the U.S. in 1971 as Fornicon.
Marks returned to nudie-cutie comedies for The Nine Ages of Nakedness (1969) and Come Play With Me (1977), his greatest commercial success. Of the former a critic wrote, ‘Though acting and directing are crude, the film is redeemed by a strangely innocent ineptness’; the same could be said of much of his work. His preference for photographing and filming large-breasted women led to his being dubbed ‘The English Russ Meyer’.
Despite his fame, Marks’ private life and business affairs were often in disarray, for he drank heavily and spent recklessly when in funds. He had been prosecuted in 1971 for sending pornographic material through the post. More seriously, his position in the British erotica industry was being undermined by new, more explicit top-shelf magazines and the illicit distribution of imported sex films. Marks attempted to compete by producing ‘harder’ material but his preferred styles looked increasingly old-fashioned.
Spanking magazines and videosEdit
Marks maintained that his involvement in spanking erotica was largely a matter of chance. He frequented the same pub in Soho as the staff of the spanking magazine Janus and struck up a friendship with them. Around 1977, they asked him to provide some photo-sets and he agreed despite his ignorance of the fetish: ‘“I don’t understand all this spanking stuff,” I thought, “this has got to be a joke!” I knew nothing about it at that time.’
He soon realised that spanking erotica was a lucrative and relatively untapped market and started to make Super 8mm spanking loops (100ft in length) for sale through Janus and London Life Magazine priced at £12 each.
When the editor of Janus died in 1980, Marks was invited to succeed him temporarily on the strength of his practical experience of producing Kamera. He stayed in the job for eighteen months, overseeing the magazine’s transient re-branding as New Derriere and taking the opportunity to publicise his growing catalogue of spanking films. ‘I met a lot of people who were into it [i.e. , spanking] and they are very intelligent, articulate and charming people,’ he explained in 1984. ‘I can remember a time when I thought they were all a bunch of nutters’. The work of other publishers in the field did not impress him: ‘They were slinging anything together because they thought they were selling to addicts who would buy rubbish. I thought to myself: “If I put out a magazine with good writing and good pictures that doesn’t insult the intelligence of these people, I must find a market.”’
New Janus No.7 was the last issue edited by Marks before he left to launch his own spanking magazine Kane in 1982. ‘That magazine is me,’ he said. ‘I control everything that goes in and it’s got my name on it – bang across the cover’. Asked if he was into spanking himself, he replied: ‘No. I’m not and I never have been’. He claimed that this was really an advantage, as it stopped him filling the magazine with his personal fantasies. ‘But I have studied the subject and the readership,’ he added, ‘and I know what people want’.
The launch of Kane coincided with the rapid expansion of the home video market. In 1984 he shot his first Kane video, The Cane and Mr. Abel, starring celebrity model Linzi Drew.
Another three videos followed, but financing the production costs continued to be a problem. Towards the end of 1985, Marks formed a partnership with a professional cinematographer he had worked with in the sixties and together they formed Kane International which would go on to produce all future Kane CP videos.
Marks, having found his new niche, became the best-known maker of spanking videos in Britain, releasing a new title under the Kane International brand every month or two in the late 1980s and early 1990s. With his background in comedy and mainstream erotica, he steered British spanking cinema away from the more austerely punitive approaches favoured by Roué and Blushes in the early years of the video era. It is nevertheless extraordinary that he avoided prosecution under the Video Recordings Act 1984, which made it illegal to sell films that were not certified by the British Board of Film Classification.
A short, rotund man with a moustache, spectacles, and swept-back grey hair, Marks sometimes appeared in his spanking films, usually as himself, the editor of Kane, yet he always hankered after comedy. ‘I’m doing this in the way I’ve done everything else,’ he said. ‘Giving people what they want with a bit of humour, a bit of fun and if it helps people as well, that’s good’. Operating on the outermost fringe of British show-business, he enjoyed a reputation as an essentially harmless hard-drinking eccentric.
Marks released 101 spanking movies under the Kane International banner. After his death in 1997, the Kane spanking company was continued by his daughter Josie Harrison-Marks. She went on to create the Top Marks brand and release 35 more video titles. An obituary in a national newspaper commented, ‘Harrison Marks was a byword for the softest kind of soft pornography, a smut pedlar who became a self-perpetuating legend. He was twice bankrupt, twice arrested and four [?] times married, a vaudevillian at heart who pioneered porn in Britain and lived all his life in the same house where he was born.’ 
Filmography as director (spanking films only)Edit
Films listed in approximate order of release:-
- Bottoms Up (1977)
- Hot Ass (1977)
- Whiplash (1977)
- Flagellation (1977)
- Cane Mutiny
- Happy Tears
- Lesson for Lolita
- Six of the Best (Janus 1977)
- Rear Attack (Janus 1977)
- Late for School (Janus 1977)
- Art of Caning, Part 1 (1977)
- Art of Caning, Part 2 (1977)
- The Riding Lesson (Janus 1978)
- The Gym Lesson (Janus 1979), gym
- The School Lesson (Janus 1979)
- The Nurse's Lesson (Janus 1980), nurse
- The Prefect's Lesson (Janus 1981)
- Air Hostess (Janus 1981), stewardess
- Warden's End (Janus 1981)
- Thoughts of Girlhood Chastisements (Janus 1982)
- Night (H)Owls (Janus 1982)
- The Cane and Mr Abel (Kane, 1984)
- The Game (1985)
- also known as Bottoms Up! from California Star
- Gone to Pot
- Sugar Cane Jane
- Marigold’s Academy
- The Ultimate Chastisement of Mandy Bait, Mandy Bait (Kane, 1984)
- Problem Girls
- Kane Kandid Kamera
- Girls in Trouble
- The Punishment Man
- The Audition
- Errant Daughter
- Maid for Tears
- The Maid Upstairs
- The Caning Club
- When the Cat’s Away
- Troublesome Daughters
- Country Cousins
- I’m Sorry, I’m Sorry, I’m Sorry
- Room at the Bottom
- A Damned Good Thrashing
- Sticky Fingers (Kane 1988)
- Bad Girls Don’t Cry (Kane 1989)
- The Kane Assignment (Kane 1989)
- Six Days a Week (Kane 1989)
- Five of the Best (Kane 1989)
- US title: Six of the Best
- A Matter of Discipline (Kane 1989)
- Just Deserts (Kane 1989)
- The Caning of the Shrews
- School for Schoolgirls
- US title: Schoolgirl Fannies on Fire
- Hotel Derriere
- Schoolgirls and Daughters
- US title: Hot Young Cheeks
- Maids in Uniform
- The Flesh and the Fantasies
- Triple Trouble
- Three Cases to Answer For
- The Spankers’ Paradise (Kane 1992)
- The Rules of the Game (Kane 1992), Vida Garman
- US title: The Spankers’ Paradise 2
- The Academy of Dr Marcus Blunt (Kane 1992)
- A Sting in the Tail (Kane 1992)
- US title: Stinging Tails
- The Games People Play
- US title: The Spanking Game #2
- Rawhide in Rotherhithe (Kane 1993)
- The Beak, the Mistress, and the Schoolgirls (Kane 1994), Sue Ellis
- US title: Naughty Schoolgirls’ Revenge
- Naughty Habits
- US title: Nasty Habits
- A Spanking to Declare (Kane 1996)
- US title: Stinging Stewardess
- The Master, Mistress, Maid & her Lover
- Things that Go Bump in the Night (Kane 1996)
- A Regal Romp with the Greythorpes (Kane 1996)
- A Remedy for Noisy Neighbours (Kane 1996)
- US title: Spanked Young Tails
- Stripe Me Pink
- Uncle Silas’ Bequests (Kane 1997)
- Lottery Loser (Kane 1997)
- Three Girls in Trouble (Kane 1997)
Filmography as actor (spanking films only)Edit
- Kane Kandid Kamera (c. 1985), as himself
- The Caning Club (c. 1987), as himself, with Sue Ellis and Larry Barnes
- Country Cousins, as Mr Patel, with Liz Leather
- I’m Sorry, I’m Sorry, I’m Sorry, as narrator
- Six Days a Week (1989), as himself
- Bad Girls Don’t Cry (1989), as himself, with Sharon, Leigh, and Samantha Kirli
- Just Deserts, as himself
- Hotel Derriere (1991), as narrator
- The Spankers’ Paradise (Kane, 1992)
- The Rules of the Game (1992), as himself, with Vida Garman
- US title: The Spankers’ Paradise 2
- The Games People Play (c.1993), as himself, with Teresa May
- Harrison Marks Official Website
- Article about Marks and the origins of Kane magazine
- Making Hay - a rare early '60s "nudie" film-loop by Marks is available at the Internet Archive
- Attic Queen - another nudie short is also at the Internet Archive.
- Robert Murphy (ed.), Directors in British and Irish Cinema: A Reference Companion (British Film Institute 2006) p412.
- Allan Bryce, ‘Full Marks’, Video World, May 1997 p63.
- Tym Manley, ‘The Reluctant Pornographer’, Club International (British edition), May 1984 pp30-32. Subsequent quotes in this section come from the same source.
- Tony Sloman, ‘Obituary: Harrison Marks’, The Independent 10 July 1997.