Queen of the Deuce

For two decades Chelly Wilson reigned over 42nd Street in Manhattan, then referred to as the “Deuce,” as the pugnacious matriarch of a skin flick empire. A larger-than-life character with chutzpah to spare, Wilson owned several theaters including the infamous Adonis, the most lavish, popular gay movie theater in New York. Known for her magnetism and shrewd business sense, Wilson thrived in the exclusively male underworld, prepared by her unusual history. Born Rachel Serrero into a devout Sephardic Jewish family, she was an avowed tomboy who smoked cigarettes, wore pants, and studied medicine until pressured by her father into a loveless marriage that produced two children. Always ahead of the curve, Wilson saw the writing on the wall for Jews and boarded the last ship out of Athens alone in 1939. With five dollars she turned a modest hot dog stand into a legitimate theater business before pivoting to porn and changing New York’s seedy underbelly in the process. Weaving together archival footage, home movies, animated sequences and interviews with her daughters, grandchildren, friends, and associates, Queen of the Deuce is the offbeat tale of a Jewish grandmother who built a pornographic legacy “one pubic hair at a time.”

San Francisco Premiere

Sponsored by Anne Germanacos


Release Year
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