A/V Room









Inside Deep Throat (18)

Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: Two

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Director's commentary. Deleted scenes. Interviews. Trailer.

AMERICA has always seemed a little prudish when it comes to the issue of sex, so it's refreshing to find Hollywood exposing a few home truths in some of its recent movies.

Kinsey, for example, demonstrated the great lengths a respected sex researcher had to go to even get people to talk about it, while Inside Deep Throat, a new documentary, lifts the covers on the controversy surrounding one of the nation's first mainstream porn films.

The film in question, Deep Throat, was released in 1972 amid a storm of controversy, given that it featured the sexploits of a small-town girl (played by Linda Lovelace) who possessed an astonishing talent for fellatio (or oral sex, to those who don't know).

The film quickly aroused the contempt of the religious right who enlisted the help of President Richard Nixon in their bid to get it banned.

But the notoriety only served to help it become the most profitable film of all time, taking in $600 million at the box office as people travelled from state to state to see it.

What's more, it is generally considered to be the film which kickstarted the porn industry - something Nixon and his war on freedom were keen to prevent when they first took it on.

Fascinated by the cultural impact of such a seemingly insignificant sex flick, Brian Grazer's fascinating documentary - which is directed by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato - examines the history of Deep Throat, from conception to present day.

It exposes the film's director, Gerard Damiano, as nothing more than a former hairdresser who seized the opportunity to make some money when he realised that the line between hardcore pornography and mainstream fare was becoming blurry.

And it shows how great an impact the film had on the lives of those concerned, including its two main protagonists, Lovelace and Harry Reems.

Lovelace, especially, suffered greatly for her 'art', first appearing as a mascot for creative freedom and sexual energy, and then being recruited by the feminist movement to speak out against the movie. By her untimely death in 2002, she was penniless.

Reems, too, was made something of a scapegoat for the film's success by the people trying to ban it and was faced with a prison sentence at the height of the hysteria.

He has since become a born-again estate agent and is one of several key figures interviewed in the documentary.

Central to Inside Deep Throat's success, however, is the way in which it keeps audiences entertained throughout its 90 minutes without resorting to too many cheap shots.

There are clips from Deep Throat, as well as various odd bits of nudity, but the film avoids the temptation to become voyeuristic, emerging as an intriguing, funny and even eye-opening chronicle of prudish attitudes versus cheap titillation.

It's certain to stimulate some worthwhile debate after you've seen it.

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