The release of Fifty Shades of Grey on DVD/Blu-ray this week ‒ with an alternate ending and a purported extra 10-minutes of housewife-approved steamy sex, no less ‒ affords actors Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson (the reluctant-but-proud parents of the film’s star, Dakota Johnson) an opportunity to at last, after months of refusal, see their darling daughter in action. So to speak.
As many of you may recall (but wonder why you do), back in February when Fifty Shades of Grey opened to lacerating reviews and land-office business, Dakota and mother Melanie made headlines for their awkward Academy Award red carpet interview. An interview in which Melanie stated emphatically that she had no intention of ever seeing her “little girl” in “that”; prompting Dakota to respond, à la Veda from Mildred Pierce: “Alright, you don’t have to see it…JeSUS!”
In the ensuing weeks, while a demographic too depressing to contemplate helped Fifty Shades of Grey reach $500-million in grosses, those of us who find Hobbits more believable than billionaires with V-lines, amused ourselves with the far more appealing option of watching parents/former spouses Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson squirm their way through interviews as they searched for inoffensive ways to praise their daughter’s performance in a film neither individual plans on ever seeing.
While it makes total sense that parents - even Hollywood parents - wouldn't exactly leap at the chance to see their 25-year-old daughter naked, tied up, and photogenically sexually dominated on the screen. However, it did surprise me a bit to learn THESE particular parents felt that way.
Why? Because before Don Johnson made a pastel-colored splash in Miami Vice or Melanie Griffith won an Oscar nomination for Working Girl, both stars were more noted for the amount of flesh they were willing to display onscreen than for their acting ability.
Don Johnson (above) made his film debut at age twenty in The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart (1970), a free-love relic of the flower-power era that features Johnson in various states of let-it-all-hang-out undress. Including full-frontal.
In 1971, Johnson was sexually assaulted by Sal Mineo nightly and matinees at Los Angeles' Coronet Theater in the controversial prison drama, Fortune and Men's Eyes. The play's copious amounts of male nudity and explicit rape scene (above) were big selling point at the time.
Johnson's johnson was full-frontal again in 1973's The Harrad Experiment, another sexual revolution timepiece, this time at a co-ed college specializing in enlightened hanky-panky. It was while making this film that 22-year-old Don Johnson met and fell in love with 14-year-old (!) Melanie Griffith, the daughter of his Harrad co-star, actress Tippi Hedren of Hitchcock's The Birds.
(Above) Melanie Griffith made her film debut in Arthur Penn's detective thriller, Night Moves (1975). Griffith's underage nymphet (she was 17-years-old at the time) appears topless and has a nude swimming scene.
In 1975 Griffith was cast yet again as a sexually precocious teen in a detective thriller, this time Paul Newman's Harper sequel, The Drowning Pool (above).
1975 was clearly Melanie Griffith's year, as she also showed up topless as one of the contestants in Michael Ritchie's teen beauty pageant satire, Smile.
(Above) 1977 saw Melanie Griffith paired with Marsha Brady heartthrob, Desi Arnaz Jr. in the forgotten Alaska pipeline road-picture, Joyride. By now it must be assumed Griffith had a "must remove clothes" clause in all of her contracts.
Don and Melanie were wed in 1976, and, since that's what they do, they took their clothes off and had a series of photos taken for Playboy. As it turned out, not a minute too soon, for the marriage lasted all of seven months. In following years, as motion pictures became more conservative, Don Johnson's full-frontals were traded in for the occasional shirtless scene, while for Griffith, things continued on pretty much business as usual; the comely actress clocking more topless and bottomless scenes than space here allows.
Johnson & Griffith remarry in 1989, and within months, little Dakota Johnson is born. Their re-up marriage lasting for seven years this time around before the happy but no longer cohabitating couple parted ways in 1996. Since then, both have moved on to (several) different partners, and as far as I know, have remained fully-clothed onscreen.
Now with Fifty Shades of Grey available for home viewing, far away from having to share their discomfort with a theater full of strangers, what are the chances of Dakota Johnson's progressive parents breaking down and giving their daughter's blockbuster film a watch? All of which of course begs the question...has anyone ever asked Dakota Johnson if she's seen any of her parent's earlier work?
Fifty Shades of Grey (The unrated and theatrical versions, plus loads of extras) comes out in DVD / Blu-ray on May 8th, 2015. The sequel, Fifty Shades Darker, is due in theaters February, 2017. Joy bells. Or rather, nipple clamps.
Visit my film blog: Dreams Are What Le Cinema Is For...