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Inside Deep Throat
2005 - NC-17 - 92 Mins.
Director: Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato
Producer: Brian Grazer
Starring: Linda Lovelace, Harry Reems, Gerard Damiano, Dennis Hopper
Review by: Harrison Cheung
Official Site: www.insidedeepthroatmovie.com/
   
Before the likes of porn queens, Traci Lords and Jenna Jameson, Linda Lovelace was a superstar and cultural phenomenon after she made her debut in 1972 as the star of a $25,000 blue movie called ‘Deep Throat.’ According to the new documentary, ‘Inside Deep Throat,’ that film is the most profitable of all time, grossing over $600 million to date.

From Oscar and Emmy winner, Brian Grazer (‘A Beautiful Mind,’ ‘Arrested Development’) comes an entertaining and educational documentary that serves as a mini-history of the porn industry and its ramifications on censorship and freedom of speech. With clips and excerpts (some explicit), we watch the dawn of porn when it was thinly disguised as “sex education” until the pivotal year of 1972 when ‘Deep Throat’ hit the big screens in Times Square. Why was ‘Deep Throat’ such an important film? Reviewed by the New York Times as “porn chic,” it was the first depiction of deep fellatio. In the time before VCRs, here was a movie that was drawing mainstream audiences to adult theaters to watch explicit sex on the big screen.

Narrated by Dennis Hopper, ‘Inside Deep Throat’ follows the film’s plight as the FBI and the Supreme Court prosecute the movie and its male star, Harry Reems, as obscene. But before the documentary turns into conservative-bashing, it smartly points out that the most vehement forces against the movie ended up being feminists who regarded porn as the exploitation of women.

Illustrated with numerous new and archival interviews of director, Gerard Damiano, the late Linda Lovelace, Harry Reems, and celebrities such as John Waters, Erica Jong, Wes Craven, Dr. Ruth, Norman Mailer and Gore Vidal, ‘Inside Deep Throat’ does an effective job explaining why this movie was important to both the adult and mainstream film industries. Fearing censorship, Hollywood moved to support its porn cousin. In today’s post- Janet Jackson-wardrobe-malfunction era, it’s not hard to understand how a $25,000 porn flick outraged the U.S. federal government under Nixon.

A nostalgic soundtrack powers the documentary – from early 70s pop rock to mid-70s disco. Damiano recalls that he optimistically thought the financial success of ‘Deep Throat’ signaled the beginning of an inevitable convergence of porn and mainstream movies. Ironically, the conservative and feminist backlash kept the mainstream studios even further away from depicting explicit sex.

Damiano also wistfully compares his 1970s porn-making days to indie film – and like any indie film, he had a challenge to find theatrical distribution. In the case of ‘Deep Throat,’ the Mafia got involved. Today, thanks to VCRs and DVDs, people can watch porn at home. The documentary tells us that in 2002, just over 270 films were released by Hollywood. By comparison, the porn industry released over 11,000 titles that same year.

Though ‘Inside Deep Throat’ is primarily focused on the cultural impact on American attitude toward censorship and sex in the movies, it also too briefly covers the fate of its tragic star Linda Lovelace who died penniless in 2002. Claiming that she was forced to perform the sex acts in ‘Deep Throat,’ Lovelace became a feminist spokesperson, writing a tell-all book and appearing with Gloria Steinem on talk shows to crusade against porn. Her male co-star, Harry Reems couldn’t find work in mainstream film and ended up an alcoholic/addict, panhandling on Sunset Blvd.

Constructed with humor and intelligence, ‘Inside Deep Throat’ is a smartly drawn documentary that will make audiences think about censorship and pornography in a different light. You may not watch porn, but do you want the government to dictate what you can and cannot watch?
 
Movie Guru Rating
An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater.
  4 out of 5 stars

 
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