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On this edition of The Rialto Report, we’re joined by the enigmatic and elusive Jonas Middleton, director of Through the Looking Glass.
Jonas grants us a rare interview to talk about his three X-rated films from the 1970s – Cherry Blossom (1972), Illusions of a Lady (1974), and Through the Looking Glass (1976) – religion, Catharine Burgess, Jamie Gillis, Christa Helm, Andrea True, Al Levitsky, Joao Fernandes… and the chances of a Through the Looking Glass 2.
This episode running time is 62 minutes.
Jonas Middleton had a significant impact on the New York adult film industry – yet he only directed three films.
And two of these – Cherry Blossom and Illusions of a Lady – have rarely been seen since their original release in the early 1970s.
He directed his masterwork, Through The Looking Glass, in 1976, and then virtually disappeared from public view for the next 30 years.
During that time he rarely thought about the film that was developing such a cult reputation, and when I first contacted him 10 years ago, he was surprised that anyone still remembered it.
It’s a striking film, looking like an avant-garde and experimental piece of work, whilst mixing elements of the sex and horror genres.
Today Jonas is proud of his artistic achievement, but.. and there’s often a but.. why did it have to contain hardcore sex?
You see, Jonas Middleton is a man of religious conviction, and God has never been far away from his life and work. A church group was even responsible for the funding of these sex films.
And so it can’t be easy to feel proud and perhaps uncomfortable at the same time. In fact he feels he’s been paying the price for making adult movies ever since the 1970s.
This is his first recorded audio interview. In truth I’m not sure how keen he was to do it, but I am grateful that he took the time to talk honestly about his life and work.
Buy Jonas Middleton’s Through the Looking Glass on DVD here.
Read about the full story of the Woolworth Mansion, the location for Through the Looking Glass, in our article here.
With thanks to Dr. Neil Jackson (University of Lincoln, UK) for sending us the illustrations on this page from the UK and French releases of Through the Looking Glass.
You can read Neil’s excellent article “Jonas Middleton: Reflections on Through the Looking Glass” in issue 167 of Video Watchdog.
Jonas’ Middleton’s ‘Through The Looking Glass’ artifacts:
An excellent and classy start to the year! Great podcast.
Exceptionally good interview with Mr. Middleton.
So refreshing to hear an interviewer who is genuinely interested in the subject, and a subject who is candid and pleasant at the same time.
Like most creative endeavors, they come from all angles and places and people. They seem to be inspired by someone with a dream. Jonas Middleton, from cutting negs in the apple to the the big fest in France, the dream became a reality. It’s always about the work for the dreamer. Thank you Ashley and the Rialto Report for keeping us, ever so gently, in deep focus.
The Rialto Report goes where others fear to go. Who knew all this about Jonas Middleton – the guy who made ‘Looking Glass’..?!?
Another intriguing podcast from the Rialto Report, regarding an adult film personality whom I knew very little about. After listening to the podcast, I’m definitely ordering the DVD of Through the Looking Glass! Thanks for the links.
I was thinking the same thing Frank… I just put my order in for TTLG. I’d love to see the soft version that Jonas talks about too.
Ashley – I hope Distribpix etc. are paying you a fee for all the great work you’re doing in raising their profile!
Cindy, got my DVD of this film, and was very impressed. Hardcore is minimal, compared to most adult films, it reminds me of the first time I saw “Carnival of Souls” with Candice Hilligoss, so many years ago.
Mr. Middleton can be justifiably proud of his film, which is quite an affecting ghost story. Jamie Gillis was never better, and Catherin Burgess was excellent.
I recommend it highly.
Wonderful interview! I felt like I traveled through time back the exciting early 70’s!! Must see these films!!
Great interview! There needs to be a sequel. I’d also love for his short film to surface some day.
GREAT JOB ASHLEY!
At last someone has delivered. The fans have been waiting for the special edition of ‘Looking Glass’ for years – and now, you’ve stepped up to the plate and given us what no other DVD company has been willing, or able, to do.
Love this show – best on the net!
Love, love, love this show.
Just 2 complaints: can we get it every week, and can it be twice as long?
Apart from that – perfect.
JM interview as usual,unmatched
In journalistic integrity. Would
that scribes covering the halls
of power could be as straight.
How you can keep this up with
the survivors of that “at risk”
Would love hear more on the
related and immutably
intertwined topic re: org crime
and porn in 60’s & 70’s .
Don’t ask me how I know,
But in this area(southern New
England),the bent nosed crowd
and the ward heeler pols
pretty much worked hand in
greasy thumb to split up
The spoils for a long time….
I know that this was pretty much
The case in most of the country.
Would be great to hear someone
On the record about this….
Great interview! Through the looking glass is one of my all-time favorites and it’s not just a great porn film, it’s a great film period. Jamie Gillis is creepy as hell!