Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Inside Deep Throat (Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato, 2005)

Gerard Damiano's Deep Throat (1972) is one of the most influential films ever made. Not because it was completely new. Not because it was a great film. It was influential because it changed many aspects of modern cinema. The modern pornographic film industry owes everything to Deep Throat, and that advent killed the market for filmmakers like Russ Meyer and in many ways Hammer. Nudity alone would no longer suffice. It also changed what we were willing to see in mainstream cinema like Midnight Cowboy (1975), Cruising (1980), and Last Tango in Paris (released 1973). None of those films, though notorious to film buffs, have the lasting fame of Damiano's film.

Inside Deep Throat is a documentary about the filmmaker and the times, but is largely centered on the legal battles and political climate that effected and propelled the film to infamy. It has interviews with many notable people such as Norman Mailer, Gore Vidal, John Waters, Camille Paglia, and Helen Gurley Brown. A note for the sensitive, there is a scene from the actual film which depicts full penetration, so beware.

This is a fairly well done documentary. They do focus on the legal element, touching briefly on the aftermath. Linda Lovelace, the star of the film, denounced it saying she was coerced—the filmmakers wisely avoid getting into discrediting her claim nor supporting it. They talk briefly to the male lead, Harry Reams, who was the only person charged with a crime. Reems was paid $250 to appear in Deep Throat, and was very nearly sentenced to five years imprisonment. Damiano, who masterminded the film, apparently lost control of it to his partners.

Deep Throat was a cultural phenomenon, and is important in how we look at America after World War II. You don't have to watch Deep Throat to appreciate it's cultural influence. The movie itself is unimportant. Even Damiano agrees it is a bad film. The film does further the left/right polarization of America and is (unfortunately) important in the rise of the religious right. If you can stand a little nudity, and the aforementioned hardcore clip, Inside Deep Throat is well worth watching.

(viewed on Netflix streaming)

5 comments:

Dr. MVM said...

I saw that film. Really enjoyed it.

Robert M. Lindsey said...

I just watched the 1976 King Kong with Jessica Lange and they find her adrift in the sea. She was on the deck of a ship because she didn't want to watch the movie they were watching on the yacht. The yacht sank, but she was saved. "Anybody else you know saved by Deep Throat?" she says.
RetroHound.com

Darius Whiteplume said...

@Dr. MVM - The docu, or the original? (or both?) :-) I have not seen all of the actual film, but who can watch a whole porno anyway?

@RML - That is funny. I have never seen KK'76. Thanks for the note.

Lazarus Lupin said...

It was an important film, and it was part of an era of filmmaking that embraced other tabboo breaking films like the works of John Waters. It's a great documentary.

Lazarus Lupin
http://strangespanner.blogspot.com/
Art and Review

Darius Whiteplume said...

@LL - I often thinks Deep Throat's impact is underrated. It's big contemporaries, "Behind the Green Door" and "The Devil In (and?) Mrs. Jones," are likely better films, but the legal impact cannot be denied.

Post a Comment