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Universal Studios Home Video presents
Inside Deep Throat (2005)

"Everyone that watches Deep Throat is watching me being raped."
- Linda Lovelace

Review By: Chuck Aliaga  
Published: September 28, 2005

Stars: Linda Lovelace, Harry Reems
Other Stars: Dennis Hopper
Director: Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato

MPAA Rating: NC-17 for (explicit sexual content)
Run Time: 01h:29m:39s
Release Date: September 20, 2005
UPC: 025192838224
Genre: documentary


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A AA-B+ A

DVD Review

Deep Throat is a landmark piece of cinema, whether you like it or not. Blasted by right-wing groups (many of which having religion as a springboard) when it landed in mainstream theaters back in 1972, the ultimate in cinematic controversy took the world by storm. People were up in arms that such "smut" (the most commonly used word used to describe it) could be viewed merely by walking into a theater, let alone be sunjected to its suggestive title in big, bold letters on the marquee.

Seeing an X-rated film had become somewhat common by the time Deep Throat came about, with 1969's Midnight Cowboy even winning the Academy Award for Best Picture. Still, never had a pornographic X-rated film been so popular. Anybody who was anybody attended screenings. Mainstream celebrities were spotted leaving various showings of the film, and it wasn't uncommon to see "normal" couples going to see it as if it was any other theatrical release.

Narrated by Dennis Hopper, Inside Deep Throat was created by documentary filmmakers Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato. They have crafted a phenomenal, in-depth look at how director Gerard Damiano went from being a hairdresser to helming the most important adult film of all time.

Bailey and Barbato's film features numerous interviews, from the likes of Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Norman Mailer, and even director Wes Craven, who admits that he worked on pornographic films early in his career, although he refuses to cite examples. The meat of the interview footage comes courtesy of the two people still living that were most directly involved in Deep Throat: director Damiano and actor Harry Reemes.

Much time is spent on the various court cases involved between the US government and individual theaters. Once it became difficult to screen the film in New York, attempts were made to branch it out to other cities, both small and large. It turns out that the mob was involved in allowing Deep Throat to be shown in many of these venues, and there is an especially poignant interview with a Miami theater owner. This owner's wife often interrupts her husband as she fears that he is on the verge of crossing a line, giving the interviewer sensitive information that could lead to a "knock on the door" from a dangerous individual.

However, the most interesting aspect centers on the lives of Linda Lovelace and Harry Reems, post-Deep Throat. The largest federal case against the film surprisingly focused on prosecuting Reems as the sole cause for its criminality. His conviction and subsequent incarceration nearly ruined his life, and he refused to speak about the film for many years. Fortunately, Reems is on board for this documentary, yet is very careful about what he will discuss.

Lovelace's life after the film was much more tragic. Going into detail wouldn't be fair for those unaware of her fate, but her side of the story is very sad, especially when her sister and high school friend talk about their initial reaction to Linda's new film career. Even more tragic is Lovelace's girl-next-door image, which makes it easier for us to relate to her, rather than most of today's adult film stars, who are manufactured surgically enhanced Barbie dolls.

Before Deep Throat, the only way an adult film could be shown in theaters was if it had some semblance of educational value, with Man & Wife: An Education Film for Married Adults serving as a visual example in Inside Deep Throat. Reems and Lovelace's sexual exploits almost single-handedly opened the door to the porn boom of the '70s. The X-rating was thrown around like it was nothing, with many filmmakers adopting their own XX and XXX ratings to one-up their competitors. Until home video ruined the event of going to see a porn film in the late '80s, seeing such films was relatively commonplace. Given today's even stricter censorship laws and conservative values, it's unlikely anything even resembling Deep Throat would get the chance at theatrical success (Inside Deep Throat itself was difficult to see on the big screen). Whether you consider that a shame or not is a personal decision, but this inability to make such a decision on a film-by-film basis is perhaps the true crime in this whole matter.

Since I know you're on the edge of your seat in anticipation, I'll tell you that Linda Lovelace's "special talent" is displayed here in all of its close-up glory, and is simply, undeniably amazing. There's plenty of other stock footage from Deep Throat as well as other adult films, so this documentary definitely earns its NC-17 rating... and then some.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The film is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, and all of the newly shot footage (interviews, location footage) is immaculate. You'd be hard pressed to find a brighter film with bolder, richer colors than this one, and these are perfectly rendered for this DVD. Even the footage from Deep Throat and the other archival sources looks better than expected. Inherent dirt and grain are still prevalent during these sequences, but colors aren't as drab as they could have been and any tears or other major print flaws are virtually nonexistent.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio is also very impressive, mainly in its handling of the music and dialogue. The music is particularly pleasing, as it always livens up various clips that we get in-between interview footage, and the dialogue during these interviews is always easy to hear. The audio in the archival footage is a bit less effective, but it could have been much worse.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish, French with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
14 Deleted Scenes
2 Feature/Episode commentaries by 1. Various participants.2. Directors Randy Barbato & Fenton Bailey.
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: There is a huge extras collection here, beginning with a pair of audio commentaries. The first is a compilation of interview footage that wasn't used, and can now be heard while watching the film. There's some great new information, and much of the individual speakers are generally timed with their physical appearance in Inside Deep Throat.

The second track has directors Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey going into detail about how they were able to compile all of this interview footage. The charm of this track is getting to hear which of the participants were easy to deal with and which ones were more reluctant to tell their respective stories.

The rest of the extras are comprised of 14 deleted scenes of various length, but totaling approximately 64 minutes. These clips are more than worthy of a look, and were only left out of the theatrical cut of the film due to time constraints. The best of these is "The Last Word For Now," which has more discussion by Wes Craven and Bill Maher, and also has Richard Dreyfuss and others who didn't make the initial cut at all having their say.

Linda Does Hollywood, The Legends of Erotica: Remembering Linda, and Linda's Exit: What's the Big Deal are great insights into Lovelace's personal life and gives us an even better feel for what she meant to the adult film industry. There's also more of Harry Reems' present-day life in Harry Reems' Athletic Club, a truly surreal couple of minutes. The rest of these scenes cover many other aspects of Deep Throat and are so expansive that a second documentary could have been put together from these.

Extras Grade: A

 

Final Comments

The recent surge in documentary filmmaking has produced Inside Deep Throat, a thoroughly engaging study of the film that was responsible for introducing adult filmmaking to mainstream America. The interviews and information that is revealed here is eye-opening, thanks to tight editing and stark narration from Dennis Hopper. Universal Home Video's DVD goes even deeper into Deep Throat, compiling a large collection of extra features in support of the film's effect on 1970s pop culture.

 


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