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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Movie Reviews > Inside Deep Throat

MOVIE REVIEWS

INSIDE DEEP THROAT (2005)

Starring Harry Reems, Linda Lovelace, Gerard Damiano, Linda Marchiano, Arthur Sommer, Herb Kassner, Larry Parrish, Bill Maher, Hugh Hefner, Wes Craven, Norman Mailer, Dick Cavett, Carl Bernstein, Helen Gurley Brown, Lenny Camp, Alan Dershowitz, Larry Flynt, Al Goldstein, Xaviera Hollander, Erica Jong, Charles Keating, Camille Paglia, Georgina Spelvin, Andrea True, Gore Vidal, John Waters, Dr. Ruth Westheimer and the voice of Dennis Hopper.

Screenplay by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato.

Directed by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato.

Distributed by HBO Documentary Films.  90 minutes.  Rated NC-17.

Inside Deep Throat

What was Deep Throat

A historic piece of of groundbreaking cinema that broke taboos and briefly made pornography not only acceptable, but even kind of fashionable?  A cheap, poorly made amateur film that just happened to become the most profitable film ever?   Proof of the moral bankruptcy of the American public?  Turns out the answer is all of the above, depending on who you talk to. 

It's funny looking back at the turmoil caused by the release of Deep Throat in the 1970s.  At the same time it is kind of scary, because this documentary makes an effective argument for the fact that Deep Throat was not only a breakthrough for the forces of free speech, but more importantly it was a catalyst for the political hold that the religious right has taken on the United States.  Deep Throat was the first film that truly rallied the forces of "morality" to impose their ideals upon others. 

I still remember, as a small child, a very short period of time when X-rated films were playing in first run theaters.  After a few phenomenons like Throat, The Devil In Miss Jones and Behind the Green Door, the fad quickly faded out with long-forgotten films like Naked Came the Stranger and Linda Lovelace For President.  In fact, this final film is touched upon here, making it look like it was an even worse film than... well, Deep Throat.

Actually, Deep Throat was not the first amendment triumph that its supporters suggested.  Nor was it the evil, demoralizing piece of filth that its detractors claimed.  All it was is a really rather poorly-made film that by some odd series of circumstances happened to be the right film at the right time to start kick-start a phenomenon.  It somehow made pornography, for a short time in the sex and drugs 70s, rather chic. 

A series of talking heads like Hugh Hefner, Helen Gurley Brown, Norman Mailer and Camille Paglia pontificate on the importance of Deep Throat as a cultural force, but they all seem to be missing the point.  Much more nuance is taken from the people who worked on the film, a series of older, somewhat eccentric and cynical people who made a little film for $25,000 that ended up grossing $600,000,000, and yet none of them made any serious money from it.

Instead all the money went to their mob backers while many of the people behind it had their lives ruined in one way or another.  Harry Reems, who was part of the crew before being hired to star in the film for $250, was actually indicted on obscenity charges and came close to spending five years in jail before the ruling was overturned.  Still, Reems was never able to translate his notoriety to legitimate work, eventually becoming an alcoholic and drug addict.  Now he is a born-again Christian and a Real Estate broker.

Star Linda Lovelace's story was even more tragic, she was a lost soul who floated from one cause to another from pro-porn to anti back to pro just because she craved acceptance.  This film sort of skirts some of Lovelace's tragic life, they only touch upon her abusive relationship with boyfriend Chuck Traynor who introduced her to adult films and they also quickly skirt past her 2002 death in an alcohol-related automobile accident. 

In the end, the most interesting thing that Inside Deep Throat uncovers is the naivety of the people who were responsible for the film.  They really felt they were at the head of a revolution that would change forever both adult and mainstream films.  When director Gerard Damiano complains about the cheesy state of pornography today, explaining that he could never do it because it is just a series of sex scenes without any pretense to a story or production values, you realize that in his own way he does see himself as an artist to this day.  (2/05)

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright 2005   PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved. Posted: September 16, 2005.

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Copyright 2005   PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved. Posted: September 16, 2005.