More than 30 years after Deep Throat first burst upon the public consciousness,this documentary examines the chasm between the modest intentions of the movie's makers and the unforeseen legacy they inadvertently created.

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From the production team who brought us the excellent fiction and non-fiction films The Eyes Of Tammy Faye (2000), Party Monster (2002), 101 Rent Boys (2000) and Plushies & Furries (2001), comes another documentary about - you guessed it! ... sex.

This time the World Of Wonder directing/producing team Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato dive underground into the world of pornography, surfacing with a more 'overground' producer to help raise the substantial funds required to get this project just right. Usually associated with more family-friendly fare such as The Cat In The Hat (2003) and Cinderella Man (2005), Brian Grazer knows a doco-hit when he sees one, which is what Inside Deep Throat is shaping up as. And why wouldn't it be? Its subject, 1972 porn film Deep Throat is one of the movies that changed the nature of pornography, and most importantly, who and how porn was consumed.

As trash movie director John Waters comments in the documentary, Deep Throat created 'porno chic', dragging pornographic movies out of seedy grind houses and into mainstream theatres - and for that matter, mainstream culture. Ordinary suburban couples now popped along to their local cinema to see this story about a woman (Linda Lovelace) whose clitoris was located in her throat, only able to receive sexual gratification by giving oral sex. Of course this 'remedy' was prescribed to her by her concerned doctor (Harry Reems). (In the documentary we also meet the screenwriter who came up with that 'genius' porno plot idea).

Celebrity actors such as Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson publicly defended the film when the inevitable censorship war came along. Made for $22 000, Deep Throat eventually grossed $600 million, fiercely divided moral opinion and created unholy alliances between the most unlikely of groups, including feminists and conservative politicians, who united in their stand to have the movie banned.

Inside Deep Throat
is a zealous documentary that tackles a myriad of issues with gusto. Blending archival news footage with excerpts from the film and a large number of recently recorded interviews, it's as if Bailey and Barbato wanted to shake the 'tree' to see what and who would fall out. Laying on the ground under the canopy are most of the players and pornographers involved in making Deep Throat (including director Gerard Damiano and star Harry Reems), the politicians who wanted it banned, and stories about the mobsters who bankrolled and distributed Deep Throat, ultimately profiting from it the most.

The film works strongest when looking at the connections between sex and politics. That's what Barbato and Bailey do best. Sex n' politics is one, thing, but sexual politics is another. Surprisingly - for a film from these two filmmakers - it is sexual politics where Inside Deep Throat operates at its weakest. What I found disappointing from this otherwise very good, revelatory film was the treatment of Deep Throat's female star Linda Lovelace, and also feminist politics.

While much time was devoted to the eventual ordeal Lovelace's costar Harry Reems underwent (he became the film's fall guy, charged by the FBI with 'obscenity'), her complicated story and relationship with appearing in Deep Throat was all but side-stepped. Also put into the too-hard basket was a decent discussion about the pros and cons of porn, and how it impacts on those who consume it and perform in it. As someone interested in the debates and discussions pornography raises, Inside Deep Throat could have gone, well, deeper.

Details

R18+
1 hour 25 min

Genres