Inside Deep Throat (2005)

Genres - Film, TV & Radio  |   Sub-Genres - Biography, Film & Television History, Sexuality  |   Release Date - Feb 11, 2005 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 92 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Fast-paced and too slick by half, Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato's Inside Deep Throat is a fun and fascinating primer on the unlikely impact of the cheaply (and mostly ineptly) made 1972 porn flick. It didn't just change the lives of its participants forever (and, clearly, in the case of stars Linda Lovelace and Harry Reems, for the worse); it had a profound effect on American politics and culture. The film moves quickly, skimming the surface in many instances. It glosses over many of Lovelace's charges about how she was treated during filming and later, when she became notorious. It never delves into affable director Gerard Damiano's connections to his reputedly mob-backed investors. But there's certainly a lot of fascinating information disseminated through the film, and the filmmakers make it clear that the huge political battle that ensued over the film was a precursor to contemporary culture wars. Larry Flynt and Alan Dershowitz are among the documentary's entertaining talking heads, evoking Milos Forman's equally snarky and engaging The People vs. Larry Flynt. Although Deep Throat was rightly seen as a sexist fantasy by feminist critics, Bailey and Barbato make it clear that its groundbreaking engagement with the very notion of female pleasure, despite the immature approach, was an essential part of what made the film such a target for censors like Tennessee prosecutor Larry Parrish (who nearly sent Reems to jail for his performance) and the since-disgraced Charles Keating. There's even a startling clip of Reems debating Roy Cohn, perhaps the ultimate sexual hypocrite, about his case. Inside Deep Throat, with its 1970s-style groovy graphics and tittering adolescent's view of sexuality, has a willfully disreputable tone, but it provides surprising insight into the evolution of American culture.