Inside Deep Throat

Inside Deep ThroatSynopsis: Go deeper inside the movie the government didn’t want you to see.

It was banned in 23 states. The government didn’t want you to see it. Deep Throat was more than just a titillating curiosity, it was the sexually explicit film that ignited a social and political firestorm. Inside Deep Throat examines the politics and the payoffs, the porn stars and persecution of the cultural phenomenon that remains just as highly controversial today. From Oscar®-winning producer Brian Grazer comes this probing look at the sensational adult film that launched a sexual and cultural revolution.

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Inside Deep Throat 8.0

eyelights: its exploration of a complex subject. its stylish production. its large number of interviewees.
eyesores: its brevity.

“It was a mid-world between crime and art.” – Norman Mailer

‘Deep Throat’ changed everything. Released in 1972, the hardcore porn film struck a chord with a public that had recently been challenging the confines of the status quo. It became mainstream: everyone (young and old, singles and couples, celebrities, …etc.) was going to the cinema to see this landmark motion picture.

Two years after its release, it was still 11th at the box office, ultimately making an estimated 600 million dollars on a budget of 25 thousand. It made a star of its lead Linda Lovelace, who became a household name, and its name found its way into popular culture, being referred to on sitcoms and even discussed on nightly talk shows.

Then the government went to war against it.

First it was municipal governments, starting with New York City: ultimately, 32 cities tried the picture and 23 managed to ban it. ‘Deep Throat’ was on the run, but this only built its notoriety, exploded its box office numbers. Then the FBI got involved and, in 1976, co-star Harry Reems was tried for conspiracy to distribute obscenity.

And the poor guy wasn’t even supposed to be in the picture!

He got five years. Hollywood was in an uproar: It was the first time that an actor had ever been tried by the U.S. government; there was growing concern that freedom of expression was being trampled on and that anyone could be next. Celebrities left and right spoke up against his conviction. Meanwhile, feminists rose up against it.

…with the unexpected support of Linda Lovelace herself.

The war over ‘Deep Throat’ was hardly over. And its repercussions are still felt in our culture today.

‘Inside Deep Throat’ is the story of ‘Deep Throat’, as told by its participants in new and archival interviews. Produced in 2005 by Brian Glazer for HBO Documentary Films, it’s an uncensored exploration of the societal changes that set the stage for ‘Deep Throat’, its initial impact, the controversies, the trials, and its aftermath.

What’s amazing is the sheer number of celebrities and pundits involved in the making of this picture, commenting on the film and its place in history: Dick Cavett, Wes Craven, Larry Flynt, Hugh Hefner, Erica Jong, Bill Maher, Norman Mailer, Camille Paglia, Annie Sprinkle, Gore Vidal, John Waters, Dr. Ruth Westheimer and many others.

I don’t know if I had seen ‘Deep Throat’ yet when I first saw this documentary some ten years ago. I had certainly heard of it: ‘Deep Throat’, ‘Behind the Green Door’, ‘Debbie Does Dallas’ and ‘The Devil in Miss Jones’ were the titles I kept hearing about when I was a kid. I just couldn’t get my hands on it (i.e. it was before the internet).

So I don’t know if I had a sense of what the original picture was about when I saw this documentary. But, while ‘Inside Deep Throat’ assumes that its audience has seen the source material (heck, everyone from a certain generation seems to have seen it!), it also establishes the context and backstory so effectively that you don’t need to.

It even shows you that infamous scene (you know, as a point of reference).

Uncut.

What struck me about ‘Inside Deep Throat’ is just how well-conceived and produced it is: This is one slick documentary, using all sorts of techniques to render itself visually appealing and to flow smoothly. At the time, this was one of the most professional-looking documentaries I had ever seen- if not the most. It’s absolutely terrific.

And it’s fully engrossing: if the story of ‘Deep Throat’s success doesn’t captivate you, then the government’s indictment of it will. Or the gritty stories of its underworld connections will. Or Harry Reems’ plight (and most eloquent defense on public television) will. Or Linda Lovelace’s conflicting personality shifts will.

‘Deep Throat’ didn’t just make fellatio mainstream, it made pornography mainstream. It helped to destigmatize pornography (partly thanks to the New York Times write-up of it called “Porno Chic”) and a huge industry developed in its wake. For good or bad, it can be credited for our societal attitudes about pornography and sex in general.

All the more reason to see ‘Inside Deep throat’.

Go deep.

Story: n/a
Acting: n/a
Production: 8.5

Nudity: 5.0
Sexiness: 2.0
Explicitness: 4.0

Date of viewing: March 25, 2016

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