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Inside Deep Throat/Review

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< Inside Deep Throat
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In 1972, a film was released into adult movie theaters that marked the beginning of a new era in independent moviemaking. The film was called "Deep Throat" and starred two unknown actors Linda Lovelace and Harry Reems. The film was directed by a guy named Gerry Damiano. It cost approximately $25,000 to make and it ended up grossing over $600,000,000. It became one of the most talked about and popular films ever made.

This new documentary on the history and making of Deep Throat is one of the best I've seen in recent years. We get a wide range of commentary by those who were involved with the film, fans as well as its detractors. This film is narrated by none other than cult film icon Dennis Hopper which adds another very cool aspect to it. Inside Deep Throat gives us a fresh look into the exciting times of the late 60s-early 70s when making porn films was not so much about making tons of money, but rebelling against the straight mainstream. Directors Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato have put together a perfect piece of historical pop culture cinema.

Gerry Damiano started off as a hairdresser, and decided he wanted to go out and make porn films instead. Looking back, the pornmakers of the time are still amazed at what they were able to do. Gerry Damiano had a love of making movies and you can see even now how great he thought it was to go out and make an indie movie without all the big studio restraints. We also see that the XXX filmmakers of the early days don't think today's porn is any good in fact the majority actually look down on it.

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Much of this documentary revolves around the film's star Linda Lovelace and the impact the film had on her and her friends and family. It also gives us a look into the life of co-star Harry Reems who was used as a scapegoat when the film was brought to trial for indecency. Hollywood stars of the time like Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty stood by Harry and gave him some support. The controversy the film caused sparked debate from everyone including TV show hosts, politicians, womens rights groups and law enforcement. When the film was first shown in NYC, police actually went to theaters and tore down banners and marquees promoting the film. The porn business also had its hand in with the Mob. A large majority of porn theaters at the time were being run by the underworld, so when theaters sold out, half of the box office take would goto them. If the theater owners didnt pay, they wouldnt get their film prints to run. One of the Mob controlled ex-theater owners is interviewed here and its a very funny situation because his wife is in the background yelling at him to not answer any questions about his old Mob connections.

This film has a whole load of great interviews with people ranging from Gerry Damiano and his 70s XXX filmmaker friends, Filmmaker John Waters (Polyester, Cry Baby) Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, Comedian Bill Maher, Film Critics such as Roger Ebert, Hustler Founder Larry Flynt, Sex Therapists Dr Ruth Wessheimer & Helen Gurly Brown, Linda Lovelace's family and friends and several politicians that found the film to be nothing but trash thrust on society.

One of the things I enjoyed most about this nicely made documentary is the way all the ideas are laid out to give us a complete vision about what artistic freedom and censorship are. On one hand you have adults who have made a film for other adults to experience and enjoy, and on the other you have adults that feel there shouldnt be any kind of sexual expression in society. The great thing about Deep Throat is that even though its not a masterpiece of cinema, it made sex entertaining, artistic and funny as well as titillating. It wasn't just about the sex acts, it was about giving the adult movie going public something fresh and daring. It truly is another important benchmark for independent cinema.

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Peter Roberts is the co-founder/editor-in-chief of the Grindhouse Cinema Database (GCDb) and contributor to the GCDb's sister site Furious Cinema. He is an avid film fan that has been immersed in the world of entertainment and pop culture his entire life.
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