INSIDE DEEP THROAT
Generally considered the most profitable motion picture of all time, the 1972 adult film Deep Throat was more than a titillating curiosity and a huge moneymaker. Released at the very moment when the nation's movements for sexual liberation, equal rights and counter-cultural values were reaching a fever pitch, this sexually explicit film unexpectedly became the flashpoint for an unprecedented social and political firestorm-a major cultural phenomenon whose impact continues to affect us today. More than 30 years later, this film explores the phenomenon. Includes interviews with Alan Dershowitz, Gore Vidal, Norman Mailer, Camille Paglia, John Waters, Erica Jong, Dick Cavett, Bill Maher and many others.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
At once amusingly entertaining and yet searingly revealing, Inside Deep Throat is documentary gold. It is a journalistically sound probe into the social and political waves that the pioneering porn flick, Deep Throat had on America, and an intimate revelation of the impact the film's infamy had on those who made it and starred in it, from the conflicted Linda Lovelace to her tormented co-star Harry Meers. Fenton Bailey and Rando Barbato have made a film that deals with the whole phenomenon of Deep Throat in a meaningful and fascinating manner; it's made with good humour and cinematic verve.
An air of melancholy hangs over the participants in retrospect, their lives seemingly saddened and burdened by their involvement in the film. That applies to everyone on camera and behind it. The revelations of character and the vibrancy of the story make the film far more relevant than we might have expected. This contrasts with the sense of enlightenment that accompanied its wide release.
The filmmakers never let filmmaking embellishment get in the way of their story, but neither do they shy away from showing the essential sequences from the original film. It reminds us that in those days, porn movies were screened at special cinemas where audiences would watch the films all together. Not like video porn that replaced the cinemas, and where porn is consumed in private. That, too, is a part of the sex-on-screen history that is captured here.
Review by Louise Keller:
A fascinating and hard look inside the phenomenon of the so-named pornographic film, Inside Deep Throat is revealing and revelatory. Directors Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato zoom into close up, as their controversial documentary debates pornography and morality. First the facts. Made in 1972 for US$25,000, Deep Throat is the most profitable film of all time, having grossed over US$600,000 million. It featured nymphette Linda Lovelace, whose unique talent of performing profound blow jobs inspired the storyline of a young woman with a clitoris in her throat. Of course, in order to understand what the fuss is all about, key footage from the film is included, effectively edited with edited clips of a rocket launch and exploding fireworks.
Peppered with candid interviews from the film's makers and other personalities such as Hugh Heffner, Erica Jong, Norman Mailer and John Waters, we hear a lively debate about the porn industry, the morality of the time, politics and public opinion. Deep Throat's director Gerard Damiano was a filmmaker who believed that sex onscreen would naturally eventuate on the Hollywood big screen. But even though the film was so profitable, it was the mob that eventually profited from it. Certainly not the filmmaker, nor the actors. When the film was released, people flocked to see it. Everyone was talking about it, and the furore that followed prompted even more interest and box office.
Fame didn't bring Linda Lovelace happiness, and she died penniless in a car crash some years ago. Her lead actor Harry Reems made history by being the first actor to be prosecuted for his role in a film. The fact that he did not need to serve his 5 year sentence did not counter his punishment. He became a tragic alcoholic, but eventually turned his life around when he found Christianity.
There's plenty to think about in this excellent documentary that prises open the doors of many taboos, and draws parallels with the controversies of sex and politics.
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FENTON BAILEY INTERVIEW
INSIDE DEEP THROAT (R)
CAST: With Gerard Damiano, Peter Bart, Carl Bernstein, Hugh Heffner, Xaviera Hollander, Larry Flynt, Erica Jong, Tony Bill, Ralph Blumenthal, Barbara Boreman, Helen Gurley Brown, Susan Brownmiller, Lenny Camp, Patsy Carroll, Dick Cavett, Wes Craven, etc
NARRATION: Dennis Hopper
PRODUCER: Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato, Brian Grazer
DIRECTOR: Fenton Bailey & Randy Barbato
SCRIPT: Fenton Bailey & Randy Barbato
CINEMATOGRAPHER: David Kempner, Teodoro Maniaci
EDITOR: William Grayburn, Jeremy Simmons
MUSIC: David Benjamin Steinberg
PRODUCTION DESIGN: n/a
RUNNING TIME: 92 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Dendy
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 10, 2005