We have come to my final post in this series of reel librarian character types (see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here for previous posts). The male counterpart to the female Naughty Librarians, this type was originally entitled “The Sex-obsessed Male Librarian” in my undergraduate thesis.
Striking differences do separate the two varieties of Naughty Librarians. There are not as many examples of the males as there are females; obviously, the female Naughty Librarian fantasy reigns supreme (see here for a related post). The male charaters are more focused on actual sex, not a diluted vision of love, as sometimes seen in the female equivalent. Also, the female Naughty Librarians turn to violence more often due to repressed feelings, while their male counterparts almost never do.
The male Naughty Librarian, although a sexually charged character, is one who attempts to act out his desires because he is professionally and/or personally unsuccessful in some way. This marks the biggest deviation between the two sets of Naughty Librarians. The females are usually young to middle-aged, and quite attractive (after they let their hair down after work, of course), whereas the males are usually middle-aged to older, and usually viewed as a bit creepy or otherwise sexually unappealing to others.
The father in You’re a Big Boy Now (1966), I. H. Chanticleer (Rip Torn), illustrates the male Naughty Librarian type. While his son, Bernard, experiments with fantasies — in the film, they are expressed in Day-Glo ’60s colors — the father acts out by sexually harassing his pretty young secretaries. One scene, see above, involves Bernard’s landlady, Mrs. Thing (Julie Harris), who assumes that the father must want to rape her after she accidentally locks them both into the archives vault. She freaks out when she realizes the archives are full of “dirty” pictures of Ovid and ancient literature “pornography” (her perspective, not mine). In this instance, Chanticleer, the Curator of Incunabula at the library, is NOT sexually interested in Mrs. Thing; he is more preoccupied with saving the rare books. And let’s be blunt, she’s not the same type as the secretaries he’s used to going after.
In The Name of the Rose (1986), Michael Habeck plays the assistant librarian Berengar, a homosexual monk prone to staring and giggling. His white skin and googley eyes do stand out, and not in a good way. And then we find out that Berengar has caused a brilliant young monk to commit suicide after being forced to partake of the “sins of the flesh.” Knowing his sin, Berengar whips himself and becomes the third victim in the film because he has read the “forbidden” book, Aristotle’s second book of the Poetics.
Perhaps the most realistically lecherous of all the male Naughty Librarians, Peter Sellers plays John Lewis in Only Two Can Play (1962), a Welshman vying for a promotion of Sub-Librarian by embarking on an affair with the wife of a library board member (see below).
The beginning of the film sets up John’s character, saturating his vision with glimpses of women’s legs, breasts, and hips. He groans in frustration after he discovers a book he has dropped is called Is Sex Necessary? His obsession with the female sex is compounded by the fact tht he has a young, desirable wife — but also faces the realities of two messy kids at home. John never actually consummates the affair, and in the end, he agrees with his wife to work on his sex addictive behavior. I must note that the film does not reveal to us at the end if he has mastered his womanizing ways.
So there you have it! I hope you’ve enjoyed this series of reel librarian character types. For all the types I’ve identified thus far, please see the Role Call section of this site.