[box cover]

Inside Deep Throat: NC-17 Edition

The tale of how a porno film shot over six days — which allegedly grossed $600 million and shook the world in its wake — is a gripping one, and it's been well told. Unfortunately for the 2005 documentary Inside Deep Throat, it already had been done by John Bloom (aka Joe Bob Briggs) in a chapter of his book Profoundly Disturbing, which covers everything worth knowing about the film: The legal troubles, the mob financing, and the sad story of Linda Lovelace. In his causal, conversational style, Bloom — who's long been one of the great writers about exploitation movies — does a brilliant job putting the film in its context and importance while also noting that the product itself isn't very good. He also does it in 18 pages (in fact, Bloom's piece is one of the best modern essays on a film this writer has been privy to read). On the other hand, Inside Deep Throat is a pleasurable enough 90 minutes, but it feels more like "VH-1's Behind the Porno," all surface and montage without ever feeling substantial. Talking with surviving members of the film's cast and crew, including star Harry Reems and director Gerard Damiano, and narrated by Dennis Hopper, Inside Deep Throat covers all the bases, but — perhaps due to her death in 2002 — star Linda Lovelace's perspective is absent, and the lack of her voice harms the documentary's attempt at broad scope. Furthermore, little is made of Lovelace's about-face in the 1980s, when she aligned herself with the feminist movement and wrote Ordeal, in which she claimed she was held at gunpoint when she started appearing in pornos. Without a serious anti-pornography perspective, Inside Deep Throat is too unbalanced, and too smug. The film's greatest strength is found in its interviews with amusing pundits (including Gore Vidal and trash-master John Waters), and though some interviewees can claim little bearing on the film (like director Tony Bill and Dick Cavett, who admits he's never seen it), Inside Deep Throat is worth perusing, if only to hear someone like Helen Gurley Brown expand on the regenerative powers of a semen facial. The film's biggest detriment is its too-familiar soundtrack — in particular the inclusion of "Spill the Wine," a song that Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights (1997) simply owns. Universal presents Inside Deep Throat in its original NC-17 theatrical version with a good anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (there's also an R-rated cut available, which excises brief footage of Lovelace performing the subject's titular act, among a few other things). Supplements include two audio commentaries, the first with directors Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, and the second a collection of recollections from the interviewers. Also included are 14 deleted/extended scenes (running 55 minutes), and the film's theatrical trailer. Keep-case.
—DSH



Back to Quick Reviews Index: [A-F] [G-L] [M-R] [S-Z]

Back to Main Page