Peter de Rome
June 28, 1924 (Juan-les-Pins, Alpes-Maritimes, France) - June 21, 2014 (Kent, England, UK)
Peter de Rome was an acclaimed maker of gay erotic films. His collection of experimental erotic films shot between 1969 and 1972, released as The Erotic Films of Peter de Rome, was one of the earliest releases by influential New York gay porn studio, Hand in Hand Films. Peter de Rome released his two feature films, Adam and Yves (1974) and The Destroying Angel (1976), through Hand in Hand, as well.
De Rome was born in the South of France, but grew up in Kent, England. During World War II, he volunteered for the Royal Air Force. After the war, he acted with the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, then became a film publicist, including with David O. Selznick.
De Rome moved to the U.S. in 1956 and became involved with the Civil Rights movement in the south in 1963. During this time, he made his first movie, which was a short documentary called New Orleans. In New York during the 1960s, he began making erotic short films on 8mm film for his own use and entertainment. One of these short films, Hot Pants (1971) won the first prize at the Amsterdam Wet Dream Film Festival, where it came to the attention of Hand in Hand Films' Jack Deveau and wound up in his shorts collection that Hand in Hand released. Another short porn film in this collection, Underground, is notably unique in that it was covertly shot in New York subway trains.
De Rome's first feature Adam and Yves is arguably his most impressive artistic achievement. Shot in Paris, it is the story of an American and a mysterious Frenchman. The film also includes a sex scene set to the audio of the recitation of a dirty poem by W.H. Auden, the last known footage captured of Greta Garbo (walking down the street), and an early all-black orgy sequence. His second and final feature, The Destroying Angel, is a fascinating horror/porn hybrid, loosely based on an Edgar Allen Poe story, about a priest, mushroom trips, and doppelgangers, that deals with inner conflicts between religion and sexuality and features some visually striking and truly strange sequences. De Rome contributed a couple of short films to two more Hand in Hand Films shorts collections, Private Collection and In Heat.
De Rome stopped making films upon the advent of AIDs in the early 1980s. His work has been praised by countless critics ("The most interesting and sexy gay films I have seen, and the most cinematically talented. Extremely erotic, with a sort of Cocteauesque magic and strangeness." - London Times), William Burroughs ("Gassy films... a real rarity."), and his short film work has been re-released by the British Film Institute. De Rome also gained renewed attention as the subject of a recent documentary, Peter de Rome: Grandfather of Gay Porn (2014).
Selected Filmography - Cameos:
Good Hot Stuff (1975)
Selected Filmography - Director:
The Erotic Films of Peter de Rome (1972)
Adam and Yves (1974)
The Destroying Angel (1976)
Private Collection (1980) (short film: Deliveries in the Rear)
In Heat (1985) (short film: 3 P.M.)