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Inside Deep Throat

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The Scoop

It's funny... as I sit here poised to write this, I couldn't help but be distracted by the song playing on my stereo right now: AC/DC sings (if that's the proper word) "Let me put my love into you, babe..." That's the perfect mood-setter for a review of a movie about a movie. No, a movie about a porn movie... a HUGELY successful porn movie, and probably the only one that almost every American has heard of (whether or not they admit to having seen it): 1972's porn "classic" Deep Throat.

Our Review

Made for $25,000, Deep Throat is touted as the most profitable movie ever made. It raked in an astonishing $600 million dollars in box office receipts. Where did that money go? Certainly not to the actors or director. Star Harry Reems made $250 from the film, and he was in it rather by accident (he was on the production crew, and got pulled in front of the camera in last-minute desperation). Linda Lovelace, who famously played the woman who supposedly had a clitoris at the back of her throat (hence her character's rocket-launching sexual enjoyment of her titular, um, skill), died broke just a few years ago in a car accident. And the still-cheesy-looking director Gerard Damiano, with bad white hairpiece, leathery-tan skin, and high-waisted pants, sits out retirement having made only some $1200 bucks from his most famous film.

Inside Deep Throat delves into the phenomenon that the film caused in the early 70s, when it became a box office sensation across the country. Couples and celebrities and the curious lined up around the block to see the first mainstream porn hit (or "Porno chic" as a major mag coined it). Directors Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato interview those who took part in the film, as well as those who tried to take it down. The more money it made, the more that the conservative Republican government attacked it to use as an example. The more the government went after it, the more people wanted to see it. And the whole time, the financing and the profit was apparently all in the shady hands of the mob, where appointed men would come and collect the cash receipts from box offices across the country. One of the more fascinating interviews is of a man who showed the film over 30 years ago in Florida, and is still too afraid to talk about the mobsters who controlled the money and the distribution of the film.

Yes, for those of you raising your hands, the filmmakers have kept a certain amount of porn in the film. You can't make a documentary about porn without showing some bits and pieces, hence the NC-17 rating. And for those who haven't seen Deep Throat, there are enough clips from the original film to show that the movie was quite a silly, low budget porn comedy. And, yes, there is the token clip of Linda Lovelace's, um, impressive (to say the least) skills.

Inside Deep Throat serves as a wider portrayal of not just the burgeoning mainstream porn industry, but also of the political climate of the 1970s in which it blossomed. I found the successful prosecution of Harry Reems as a political scapegoat for the whole porn industry fascinating and outrageous... even more so when all involved knew that he would get off without serving if a Democrat was elected to office (Carter was elected, and Reems' conviction was overturned). Seems eerily reflective of the conservative hysteria that has exploded since the flash of Janet Jackson's boob on national TV. The more things change, the more they stay the same, making Inside Deep Throat a historical time capsule that is more relevant than ever.

 DVD NOTES   

In addition to the typical feature-commentary by the directors, the Inside Deep Throat DVD includes many scenes which were cut from the film. You can tell the directors had to part with portions of the documentary that didn't quite go with the flow of the narrative, but the great thing about DVD is that people will still be able to see this cutting room floor footage.

There are additional montages of the uproar that the film caused at Harvard and Princeton, as well as a super-conservative town Binghamton, that was the first to put the movie on trial. One of the more hilarious bits has adult film star Marilyn Chambers explaining how exactly to perform a, errr, "deep throat". What makes this selection so wonderful is how embarrassed she gets explaining the technique on camera.

Perhaps most interesting is the amount of extra Linda Lovelace material, post-fame, that is included. The actual film rushes through the sadness that was her later years, but the extras include interviews with her daughter, best friend, and family members that relay how even 25 years after the film, Lovelace couldn't escape others' judgement of her past.

Inside Deep Throat - Theatrical NC-17 Edition

Manufacturer: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
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Linda, Webmistress

Enjoys Oscar-bait, foreign films, sci-fi movies, and even movies with talking dogs.

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