Title: Inside Deep Throat
Release Date: 2005
Nationality and Language:
Running time: 90 min
Distributor and Production Company: Focus/Universal/Imagine/HBO Documentary
Director; Writer: Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato
Producer: Brian Glazer
Cast: Harry Reems, Linda Lovelace (stage names), Gerard Damiano
Technical: apparently MiniDV
Relevance to doaskdotell site:
This documentary looks like it was made primarily for
cable, but released in platform fashion, perhaps to facilitate showing a couple
of very explicit scenes to a paying adult audience. The distributor is
Universal, a major studio name and not a so-called “boutique” distributor. I
would have expected to see a company like Lions Gate pick this one up. The
documentary itself gets an NC-17 apparently because of one close-up shot of
fellatio from the original film. When I saw the film, in a small theater in
The film gives a history of the famous porno film Deep
Throat (1972, Arrow
Productions, dir. Gearad Damiano, 61 min, NC-17 in today’s system, then X).
“Deep Throat” is credited with starting a “porn revolution” that would spend
itself out in the video and
I had moved into the NYC area about then and moved into
the City in 1974. I remember seeing a few other porno films (both straight
and gay) around the old
I also recall that a first “trick” wanted to go with me to
Harry Reems was quite an
attractive, virile young man with body and chest hair in all the right
places. He played Dr. Young, with an “effective” prescription for Linda
Lovelace (playing herself), who claimed to have a clitoris congenitally
located in the wrong part of her body. (The original “Deep Throat” is listed
in Entertainment Weekly (
His conviction would be overturned, as the political climate changed—Richard Nixon would resign to end Watergate (“Deep Throat” had been a player), Jimmy Carter (a “Democrat”) would get elected, and perceptions about pornography would change. Now the feminists would see pornography as an abuse of women.
Today, Reems is a real estate
All of this brings us to a discussion of what the big deal about the public showing of sexual “freedom” really is. In fact, what is the big deal with the moralists about “sexual freedom.” The film suggests at one place that it has to do with the genders. Men would feel threatened if women were allowed to control their own sexual pleasure (the clitoris is discussed early in the film). I think there is something much bigger, and I can get at it with a kind of mathematical induction or perhaps something like integration by parts. I am a gay male, and I find the prospect of intimate interaction with men with certain attributes to be exciting? The “part-object” that attracts me is a bit like a calculus partial fraction. The larger society (the “function” to be integrated) supplies a context that makes the part-object meaningful. Therefore, I will not want to see major cultural change that destroys the value of what I find exciting. Therefore, I do not welcome the widespread mainstream social acceptance of men shaving to go into drag. In a free society, there is not much practical chance that this would happen, so it becomes a non-issue. But now apply this model to how a middle-class married-with-kids heterosexual man without a lot of separate talents of his own. Society has previously always valued his role as a father and provider, and treated his fulfillment of that role as if it enhanced his self-worth. The whole paradigm of abstinence until marriage supported this belief system. This middle class married family man is likely to feel that this postulated social support system is essential to his own sexual well being and even to his ability to perform and remain dedicated to his family. A free, “liberated” society can (unlike the circumstances that I just described for me) provide cultural shifts that destroy all the meaning of his sexual commitment. Wholly heterosexual pornography is the example of this explored by the movie, but gay liberation—and most recently gay marriage—provides another major example.
Of course, the next good question is: Why does a psychologically healthy marriage (or domestic partnership) need to depend on social supports? The Ninth Street Center had maintained during this time (the 1970s) that it shouldn’t; yet even small specialized communities will set up their own psychological support systems for the relationships of their own people. Ultimately, the contextual totality of one’s interaction with one’s larger community does take on moral importance.
Whatever the scientific investigation of sex and marriage reveals, the cultural divide remains. We have a debate about “morality” right now—whether “morality” is partly a shared collective concept that goes beyond rational self-interest and consequentialism. The Supreme Court, when striking down state homosexual-only sodomy laws in the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas case, maintained that now the right of privacy weighs heavily over more vague claims about communal morality. Still, one should be sensitive to the pressure that people raising families feel in today’s society, if they have been made to deal with the growing notion that family responsibility is but a trivial nuisance.
A somewhat famous “X” film in the gay
community in the early days was The
Light from the Second Story Window (1973, Jaguar, dir. David R. Allen,
120 min, now NC-17) with a “rear window” kind of plot (much more acting and
plot than common for X films of that day; this film would probably make the
art market today), starring Rick Cassidy and William R. Lasky.
I remember writing the director on an old typewriter (well before the days of
computers). In those days, there was concern about censorship, too, and about
With Me (2005, ThinkFilm/Conquering Lion, dir.
Clement Virgo, 92 min, NC-17, Canada) starts out with a total upper body
nudity shot of Leila (Lauren Lee Smith), with a soliloquy about the details
of female sexual satisfaction. She has been having trysts, and she is
desperate for love here in
Am Curious (Yellow) (“jar ar nyfiken: en film i gult”) (1967, Criterion/Grove, dir. Vilgot Sjoman, 121 min, NC-17).
This film was famous for being seized by U.S. Customs and viewed as obscene.
It is a curious experiment in many ways. The central character Lena Nyman
traverses her life as if a third-person observer; the movie is reflexive, as
it is about making a movie about her life. So it is topical, and gets into
all the issues about the social class system and participation in national
defense. I thought that as a matter of history,
Grove Press was famous in those days as the publisher of
avant-garde authors (like Burroughs – “Naked Lunch” – and Miller). As it
happened, in the 1970s they were right next door to the apartment building
that I lived in at
am Curious (Blue) (“jar ar nyfiken: en film i blatt”)
(1967, Criterion/Grove, dir. Vilgot Sjoman, 108 min, NC-17). This is the second film, again,
discursive, utilitarian, and about making a movie, all to frame the docudrama
that meanders. Here
Caligula (or “Caligola”, 1979, Analysis/Penthouse, dir. Tinto Brass, wr Gore Vidal, 90 min/160 min, NC-17). Malcolm McDowell plays the notorious Roman emperor who wielded absolute power over the lives and bodily integrity of others. The film exists in several versions of varying lengths, depending on how much debauchery you can take. It is graphic, and it doesn’t pay to repeat it all here. Nero was as bad. What is interesting is to go back to the high school world history texts and study the moral values of Roman society. Government was an evolution, that backslid into the empire. But patriarchy was absolute; a father owned his family and could even have his kids killed. In a class society, control of your family was the one thing you could count on having, and that idea of “family values” explains a lot of what went on. It teaches a good lesson.
Shortbus (2006, ThinkFilm/Fortissimo, dir. John Cameron Mitchell, 101
min, sug NC-17) may seem like a high-class porno
“X” film, but it has a lot going for it. Sure, a lot of the sex is live and
impromptu, but perhaps not too much more shocking than what “Eyes Wide Shut”
could have been. There are a lot of knickknacks in the film that add a random
story. First NYC is shown in dominoes (the way
The Rules of Attraction (2002, LionsGate, dir. Roger Avary, novel by Bret Easton Ellis, 100 min, R) has some spoiled rich kids in a bisexual love polygon. It starts with an “End of the World Party” and doesn’t give opening credits until 14 minutes into the film. The kids do have a world’s end with a suicide fest – and then world travel -- toward the end. Ian Sommerholder looks as good as it gets (with some split screen fantasy scenes); also with Kip Pardue, James Ver Der Beek, Jessica Biel. The film keeps shifting gears, like a disco DJ breaking up the dances with pauses.
Return to doaskdotell movies
Return to doaskdotell movies, books, plays strike page
Return to doaskdotell home page
Email me at Jboushka@aol.com