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UNIVERSAL

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato
Narrated By:
Dennis Hopper
Writing Credits:
Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato

Tagline:
It was filmed in 6 days for 25 thousand dollars. The government didn't want you to see it. It was banned in 23 states. It has grossed over 600 million dollars. And it is the most profitable film in motion picture history.

Synopsis:
It was banned in 23 states. The government didn't want you to see it. Deep Throat was more than just a titillating curiosity, it was the sexually explicit film that ignited a social and political firestorm. Inside Deep Throat examines the politics and the payoffs, the porn stars and persecution of the cultural phenomenon that remains just as highly controversial today. From Oscar-winning producer Brian Grazer comes this probing look at the sensational adult film that launched a sexual and cultural revolution.

Box Office:
Budget
$2 million.
Opening Weekend
$88.709 thousand on 12 screens.
Domestic Gross
$653.621 thousand.

MPAA:
Rated NC-17

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 1.85:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Closed-captioned

Runtime: 90 min.
Price: $27.98
Release Date: 9/20/2005

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Directors Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey
• Audio Commentary with Interview Subjects
• 14 Deleted Scenes


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EQUIPMENT
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Inside Deep Throat (2005)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 2, 2006)

Given how prominent porn is in today’s society, it’s tough to remember a time when it was terribly taboo. 1972’s Deep Throat broke down a lot of those barriers, as the hit flick opened up porn to a mainstream audience. For a look at the phenomenon and connected issues, we look toward the documentary Inside Deep Throat.

As one might expect from a documentary, we get a plethora of participants. And by “plethora”, I mean “roughly 982”. Inside opens with comments from folks not directly connected to the film or its issues, and we get comments from them and others throughout the piece. We hear from filmmakers Wes Craven and John Waters, publisher Larry Flynt, author Erica Jong, sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer, talk show host Dick Cavett, journalists Carl Bernstein and Ralph Blumenthal, sakdjsalds Camille Paglia, publishers Helen Gurley Brown, Al Goldstein and Hugh Hefner, attorney Alan Dershowitz, adult performance artist Annie Sprinkle, comedian Bill Maher, Women Against Pornography’s Susan Brownmiller, and authors Xaviera Hollander, Jon Lewis, Linda Williams, Gore Vidal and Norman Mailer.

In addition, we find many folks related to the movie and its controversies. For those who worked on or were connected to the flick, we get notes from director Gerald Damiano, actor Harry Reems, location manager Lenny Camp, theater manager Arthur Sommer, and checkers Peter “The Candyman” Manouse and Ray “The Ringman” Shipley. Others in the industry at the time include adult film actors Georgina Spelvin and Andrea True, adult filmmaker Ron Wertheim, and Paramount VP Peter Bart.

The movie includes those who dealt with the legal topics. These include prosecutors Charles Keating, William Purcell and Larry Parrish, former New York policemen John Gorman and Mike Sullivan, defense attorneys Bruce Kramer and Herb Kassner, and former FBI agent Bill Kelly. Finally, we get a few connected to folks involved with the film. These feature Linda Lovelace’s high school friend Patsy Carroll, her sister Barbara Boreman, and her daughter Lindsey Marchiano. Archival clips appear with comments from Lovelace, Reems and Damiano.

Inside takes on a mix of topics. It starts with a look at the porn industry prior to Deep Throat and the climate of society in the early Seventies. We learn about the lives and careers of the movie’s main participants as well as the film’s release and success. From there we get into its controversies and all the legal attempts to close it. The film also discusses the effects all of this had on those involved and what happened to them as well as the porn industry and society in the succeeding decades.

That synopsis simplifies things but offers a general feel for the movie’s narrative. At its heart, Inside has a fascinating story to tell. Unfortunately, the manner in which it conveys its information leaves a lot to be desired.

Inside Deep Throat is less a documentary than it is an assault on your senses. Rather than feature the usual mix of talking heads and archival materials, Inside comes at you from all directions. This means a never-ending roster of quick cuts and spiraling images along with a surprisingly active soundtrack for a documentary. Audio bobs and weaves all around the spectrum and may well make you dizzy.

I’m all for altering the usual formula used for documentaries, but this is ridiculous. It actively affects my enjoyment in the material and causes more than a few distractions. It’s hard to concentrate on the information when so much of this nonsense occurs.

Never could I figure out what purpose all the goofiness meant to achieve. For instance, when we meet checker Peter “The Candyman” Manouse, we hear about his love for Goo Goo Clusters. The film breaks into a loud rendition of that candy’s jingle. Why? How does this help tell the story? We know that Manouse loves sweets, but this doesn’t have anything to do with the events in question. Who cares?

I certainly don’t, and I found way too many of these odd, distracting moments in Inside. The movie attacks us with loud audio and choppy transitions to the point where it all feels like some strange subterfuge, like an attempt to disguise a lack of content.

This makes no sense since Inside has good material to spare. As I mentioned, there’s a terrific story behind Deep Throat in specific and the porn industry in general. We find many people deeply involved in the subjects and they clearly have a lot to say.

So why does Inside Deep Throat work so poorly? Because it’s simply such a mess. The filmmakers worry too much about how they can impress us with their cleverness. They don’t tell a concise, logical narration in this overblown and obnoxious presentation.


The DVD Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B-/ Bonus B+

Inside Deep Throat appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. With its mix of new interviews and archival footage, Throat was fine for this sort of program.

As always, I viewed the old material and the new shots with different expectations. The archival stuff jumped all over the place. It could look pretty good at times, but we also got a lot of messy, ugly clips. I didn’t have any real problems with those, however, as I figured they were about as good as we could get. In any case, the flaws of the old bits didn’t interfere with my enjoyment of the program. They blended just fine and didn’t cause distractions.

Perhaps that’s partly because the new shots never looked terribly impressive. The interviews were pretty good but not better than that. Sharpness was usually fine, though some elements could become a bit fuzzy at times. Colors were reasonably natural, though not particularly lively. Blacks and shadows followed suit, as they seemed decent but unexceptional. Overall, the visuals were more than acceptable for this kind of show.

As I alluded in the body of my review, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Inside Deep Throat was a much livelier affair – probably too lively. The soundfield opened up the material to a surprising extent and really created a swirl of activity at times. I don’t want to overstate matters and imply that the audio constantly offered information from all areas, but it definitely made use of the five speakers to a degree unusual for this kind of show. This became a distraction at times.

Audio quality was solid. The new interview comments sounded just fine, as they offered perfectly clarity. No issues with edginess or intelligibility occurred, as they provided warm and natural tones. Music and effects also demonstrated good range and definition. Despite my dislike of the track’s wild soundfield, it did enough right to earn a “B-“.

When we head to the set’s extras, we find two separate audio commentaries. The first comes from directors Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey. They sit together for their running, screen-specific discussion. They cover the roots of the project, the various participants and their involvement, societal issues and perspectives, filmmaking challenges and the anxiousness of the interviewees, and historical notes. Mostly they fill in the gaps with the notes about society at the time. We also get their own interpretation of things and some interesting twists such as how the filmmakers think their own homosexuality impacted the production. Occasional lulls occur, but overall this is a worthwhile and informative chat.

For the second commentary, we get an unusual piece. It uses outtakes from the interview sessions to expand on topics discussed in the final film. Normally I’d list all the participants, but I listened to the track in my car and couldn’t take notes on all of them; had I tried, I probably would have lost control of my vehicle and crashed. Most of the movie’s subjects pop up here, though, as we hear a lot from Damiano, Reems, and many of the others. We also get notes from folks like actor Richard Dreyfuss who didn’t appear in the flick.

The information closely follows the progression of the film. This means that if the on-screen subject is the involvement of organized crime, then the commentary connects to that topic. In a way, this is more of an audio essay than a commentary, particularly since it elaborates on the subjects discussed in the film. View it as akin to a set of footnotes. It’s a valuable resource and a nice addition to the set.

In addition to the movie’s trailer, we get a collection of deleted scenes. We find 14 of these. They include “The Binghamton Trial: Cliterally Speaking” (seven minutes, 18 seconds), “Beverly Hills: Holly Gets Wood” (3:59), “Quincy House: Poison Ivy League” (3:36), “Princeton: Throat Deep in the Suburbs” (3:17), “Cut Throat: Where In the World is Bobby DeSalvo” (2:42), “Harry Reems’ Athletic Club” (2:24), “The Tucson Trial: Where Gerry Met Annie” (5:15), “The Zen of Deep Throat” (3:48), “Linda Does Hollywood” (3:39), “The Legends of Erotica: Remembering Linda” (6:17), “Firedance with Me” (1:57), “Women Against Pornography” (2:03), “Linda’s Exit: What’s the Big Deal?” (2:49) and “The Last Word For Now” (6:07).

Each of these could have fit into the movie without too much trouble. These cover some Throat trials and issues related to its exhibition, the fate of underworld figure DeSalvo, the activities of the “Harry Reems Athletic Club”, oral sex techniques, Linda Lovelace’s attempts to get into non-porn films and her legacy, the work of Women Against Pornography, and thoughts about sex and pornography in modern society.

We hear from a very long roster of participants. These include Broome County NY historian Gerald Smith, Binghamton Press and Sun-Bulletin’s Dave Rossie, Binghamton theater owner Richard Kras, Binghamton retired school teacher Dee Stulcup, former projectionist Frank Schofield, Binghamton defense witness Charles Winnick, Binghamton defense attorney James Barber, CA Judge Leonard Wolf, CA prosecutor Sheldon Lodmer and his wife Emily, CA defense attorney Robert McDaniel, former Harvard University tutors Elisabeth and Roger Swain, Harvard alumni Nathan Hagen and Carl Stork, Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, former Princeton prosecutor Bruce Schragger, NJ Pep Boys manager Bob Kazak, retired FBI agent Bill Kelly and wife Virginia, Miami Beach theater manager Arthur Sommer, Bobby DeSalvo’s widow Janice, adult actors Harry Reems, Marilyn Chambers and Georgina Spelvin, adult performance artist Annie Sprinkle, Cine Plaza theatre manager John Jacobs, retired FBI agent Robert McNeal, AZ prosecutor Dan Knauss, director Gerard Damiano, authors Xaviera Hollander, Helen Gurley Brown, Norman Mailer and Erica Jong, movie producer Lili Zanuck, Linda Lovelace’s former assistant Delores Wells, choreographer David Winters, Lovelace’s sister Barbara Boreman, current Deep Throat owner Ray Pistol, Lovelace’s daughter Lindsay Marchiano, Women Against Pornography co-founder Susan Brownmiller, Lovelace’s friend Ruth Nash, Screw magazine founder Al Goldstein, talk show host Bill Maher, filmmakers Paul Mazursky, Wes Craven, actor Richard Dreyfus, Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, and sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer.

As I mentioned, any of these easily would have blended with the final film. Should they have been there? Probably not. We find some good material, especially in regard to the various legal issues. However, the movie rambles enough as it is, so extended elements likely would have made it even more incoherent. That said, it’s good to find them as a DVD bonus.

Perhaps Inside Deep Throat itself would have worked best as a DVD supplement. Viewed on its own, the documentary falls flat. It examines a fascinating subject but does it in such a distracted and hyperactive manner that it doesn’t deliver the goods. The DVD presents decent picture and audio along with a pretty nice set of extras. Too bad the movie itself remains such a disappointment.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.8181 Stars Number of Votes: 11
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main