DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Inside Deep Throat

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Steve Tannehill, Sep 14, 2005.

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  1. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    XenForo Template  Inside Deep Throat Studio: Universal Studios Home Video Year: 2005 (2005 Release) Rated: NC-17 Aspect Ratio: 1.85x1, enhanced for 16x9 displays Audio: English DD 5.1; Commentaries Captions/Subtitles: English SDH; French and Spanish Subtitles Time: 1:29:39 Disc Format: SS/DL Case Style: Keep Case Warning! If you are offended by explicit or unusual scene... Please do not attend this show! - Sign in front of movie theater showing Deep Throat The Feature: Inside Deep Throat is the story of the first porno movie to take that industry into the mainstream. It was produced for a mere $25,000 and it reportedly went on to gross $600,000,000. Couples went to see it--many of whom had never seen porn. It was a date movie! Adults of all ages (even--gasp--grandparents) from all walks of life went to see it. It became the talk of the news media and pop-culture entertainment. And it became a legal and political target. Inside Deep Throat covers this, and more. Produced by Brian Grazer (A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13), and written/directed by award-winning documentarians Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, what could have been a titillating excuse for a late-night cable is instead a fascinating look at the film, its creators, and the controversy surrounding it. In the days before Deep Throat, the only way to present hardcore material in a movie was to call it a "sex education" film. One such example was Man & Wife: An Education Film for Married Adults, hosted by a doctor, and accompanied by biological diagrams. The concept of a plot--even a thin one--was pretty much pointless. (Well, that is still true.) But the frigid Fifties led to the culture shock of the Sixties and to the Sexual Revolution of the Sixties and Seventies. Jackie O. went to see an X-rated movie. An X-rated Hollywood feature even won the Oscar for Best Picture. in early 1972, filmmaker Gerard Damiano discovered an actress by the name of Linda Lovelace, and was in awe of her talent. That gave him a gimmick--and a movie title that pretty much instantly sold itself. With 2/3 financing from the Mob, he wrote a loose script, took a crew down to Florida and shot Deep Throat in less than a week. Everyone pretty much thought that the premise of the movie was absurd. But when the movie opened in Times Square, people started lining up to see it. The film's popularity was largely by word-of-mouth (sorry, I had to slip in at least one bad pun). The movie was explicit, but it was also funny. Deep Throat was confiscated as obscene in New York City three times--the third time on-camera, for effect. But the audiences kept showing up. And when the New York Times wrote a piece titled "Porno Chic" it only brought more people to theaters. But the City of New York had other ideas. One of the exhibitors was prosecuted for showing an obscene film, and lost. The movie was banned from the city. But then it spread across the country. Ultimately, Deep Throat was tried as obscene in more than 32 cities, and banned in 23 states. The FBI stepped in, attempting to tie the filmmakers to the mob (but apparently doing nothing to hamper the mob's collection techniques at theaters showing the movie). And, ultimately, Harry Reems himself was prosecuted for participating in the film. (If only we were so lucky with Keanu Reeves.) Sadly, the story did not end "happily ever after" for everyone. Over three dozen people--from Deep Throat star Harry Reems to attorney Alan Dershowitz, porn publisher Larry Flynt to talk-show-host Dick Cavett, Hef to Dr. Ruth, Helen Gurley Brown to Susan Brownmiller--are interviewed (over 100 interviews were conducted in total). Archival footage from the era is added--some great stuff, like a Johnny Carson monologue snippet, zany dialogue from an original Smothers Brothers show, interviews with little old ladies who had just seen the movie, even a talk-show interview by arch-hypocrite Roy Cohn of film star Harry Reems. Narration by Dennis Hopper brings it all together. As the NC-17 rating should imply, the movie is at times very explicit. There is plenty of nudity. The language is graphic. There is some "action" which would probably pass for R-rated these days. And there is one jaw-dropping scene that shows how the movie Deep Throat got its name. (I suspect that the R-rated version of the movie cuts this scene!!!) I did not screen the R-rated version of Inside Deep Throat. There are documented differences in supplements (covered later). I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on the R-rated version if you've seen it, but I personally find the concept of cutting a movie to achieve a lower rating almost as odious as some might consider Deep Throat. Inside Deep Throat scores because it takes the subject matter seriously, even when it gets explicit. The Feature: 4 / 5     Video: To properly review the video quality of Inside Deep Throat you have to separate the transfer from the content. The content--some of which is archival footage of varying degrees of quality--runs the gamut of grainy black&white, to faded newsreel footage. But the current-day interviews are all stellar. The transfer looks very good. If you just consider the current-day interviews, the color and detail are outstanding. If you throw the archival footage into the mix, you may not have a demo disc, but you will have one that certainly does not distract from the purpose. So I'll rank the video quality accordingly. Video: 4 / 5     Sound: The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is front-focused with a couple of forays into the surround speakers. The front channels provide separation to the music soundtrack, which does include a number of oldies. The dialogue is center-focused. I don't expect a showy soundtrack for every documentary, and this one was fine. Sound: 4 / 5     Extras: Although the packaging does not say it, the NC-17 version of Inside Deep Throat includes 64 minutes of deleted scenes, ranging in length from 2 to 7 minutes. There are fourteen scenes total, with four exclusive to the NC-17 version of the DVD. The scenes all have a finished look to them, except they are presented at 1.78x1 anamorphic widescreen unlike the 1.85x1 of the feature. Most of the scenes are interesting, but to have included them in the movie would have given it a 2.5 hour runtime. That's a bit excessive. The scenes are titled:
  2. The Binghamton Trial: Cliterally Speaking (7:18)
  3. Beverly Hills: Holly Gets Wood (3:59)
  4. Quincy House: Poison Ivy League (3:36)
  5. Princeton: Throat Deep in the Suburbs (3:17)
  6. Cut Throat: Where in the World is Bobby de Salvo (2:43)
  7. Harry Reems' Athletic Club (2:25)
  8. The Tucson Trial: When Gerry Met Annie (5:16)
  9. *The Zen of Deep Throat (3:49)
  10. *Linda Does Hollywood (3:39)
  11. *The Legends of Erotica: Remembering Linda (6:17)
  12. Firedance With Me (1:57)
  13. Women Against Pornography (2:03)
  14. Linda's Exit: What's the Big Deal (2:50)
  15. *The Last Word For Now (6:08) * exclusive to NC-17 edition The disc includes not one, but two commentary tracks. The first track is a composite commentary assembled from the 800 hours of interview footage shot for the film, as well as some of the clips cut from the final film. What I've heard of it so far is interesting. The second track is a feature-length commentary with directors Randy Barbato & Fenton Bailey. The final supplement is a 2:32 trailer. Extras: 5 / 5      In Conclusion: Inside Deep Throat is a sociological study of a cultural phenomenon. Just like the movie it portrays, it will undoubtedly not be for every taste, but the documentary is well made, and the DVD is very-well produced. I suspect that it will have the inside track against those marching penguins at the Academy Awards. Overall Rating: 4 / 5     Release Date: September 20, 2005
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  17. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Great review, Steve!

    It's strange, but the parts of the film that stick in my mind most vividly are the scenes with the retired theater owner whose wife keeps interrupting to tell him to shut up. It was obviously unexpected and unplanned -- she's not sitting with him, and the cameraman has to pull back just to get her into the frame. Out of many amusing moments in the film, those were the scenes that had me laughing out loud.

    M.
     
  18. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    Thanks, Michael. Yes, the concerns of the wife were funny and probably justified. After all, at that point in their lives, they certainly would not want someone to break their legs (or worse).

    I have some current-day interview clips with Harry Reems. The sound is a little uneven, so please turn down your speakers lest you want to be blasted.

    In the clips, we find out why Reems participated in Inside Deep Throat, what he is doing now, and what he is planning for the future.

    The clips contain no explicit content, and are available in streaming QuickTime and Windows Media formats.

    QuickTime
    Intrepidations When Approached (128K) (300K) (700K)
    Ups and Downs (128K) (300K) (700K)
    Comparison (porn then and now) (128K) (300K) (700K)
    People from the Past (128K) (300K) (700K)
    The Turnaround (128K) (300K) (700K)
    Life as Reems (128K) (300K) (700K)
    Acceptance (128K) (300K) (700K)
    Challenges Since (128K) (300K) (700K)

    Windows Media
    Intrepidations When Approached (128K) (300K) (700K)
    Ups and Downs (128K) (300K) (700K)
    Comparison (porn then and now) (128K) (300K) (700K)
    People from the Past (128K) (300K) (700K)
    The Turnaround (128K) (300K) (700K)
    Life as Reems (128K) (300K) (700K)
    Acceptance (128K) (300K) (700K)
    Challenges Since (128K) (300K) (700K)

    - Steve
     
  19. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Steve, thank you for reviewing this disc!

    However, the Los Angeles Times took exception, back when the film was running in commercial theaters a few months ago, about the documentary's claim that Deep Throat has earned $600 million. And the writer very convincingly made the case that there's no way the original film ever made that much money.

    It did, however, make major money for a 1970s porn film and, as such, is historical.

    I am so looking forward to this disc. Again, very nice review.
     
  20. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp

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    I missed this when it played lopcally to rave reviews, good to know that the DVD is so well represented! Great review!
     
  21. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    Thanks guys!

    According to the movie, there was so much money coming in to the distribution headquarters in Florida that they actually gave up counting it. They weighed it!

    Still, creative accounting would not surprise me, based on the majority backers of Deep Throat and on those who controlled its distribution (i.e., organized crime). But even if it only made $1 million, that's an amazing return on such a small investment.

    - Steve
     
  22. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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    Thanks for the review. I saw "Deep Throat" as a younger man & indeed found that it was not the regular XXX film. I'm looking forward to revisiting the atmosphere of the film via this DVD.
     
  23. Ted Todorov

    Ted Todorov Producer

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    I certainly don't believe it made that much as a theatrical 35mm film -- but if you count all other revenue streams, it very possibly did make that much money.

    I doubt anyone could prove it one way or the other though.
     
  24. Adam Portrais

    Adam Portrais Stunt Coordinator

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    Mike you are dead on man. That couple was my favorite part of the movie (which is saying a bit because the movie is quite good). I think that old couple should get their own sitcom or reality show, they were the best.
     
  25. EnricoE

    EnricoE Supporting Actor

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    i wouldn't call this jaw dropping since i've seen a LOT bigger wieners go down the hatch [​IMG]

    anyway, very nice documentary and the nc-17 cut is the one to get[​IMG]
     
  26. Leon Liew

    Leon Liew Stunt Coordinator

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    To say the film grossed $600mil I think is an over statement.The late Linda Lovelace was just paid a paltry
    sum of $1200.00 for her effort and suffered years of
    prejudice and shunned even to the point of not getting jobs
    to earn a decent living. She died penniless in a car accident in 2002 that's sad.
     
  27. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    And Harry Reems was paid less...at least he eventually rebounded from his drug and alcohol problems.

    It was sad seeing LL embrace her past to the point of appearing in that magazine.

    No one will ever know how much the movie actually made.

    - Steve
     
  28. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Lead Actor

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    At what point in your life DO you want someone to break your legs (or worse)? [​IMG]
     
  29. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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    The elderly couple in FL were hilarious (her quite serious concerns aside) but the guy that had me laughing the loudest was the "location manager" Lenny Camp: "I thought it was a piece of shit film - if it wasn't for us he would look like a piece of shit...which he was - he was a horse shit count - the actors were all shit" [​IMG]


    I have never experienced the total feeling of sinking dread & horror from any hollywood thriller as I did when hearing Helen Gurley Brown describe the cosmetic benefits of "ejaculate"...brrrrrrr. [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  30. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Lead Actor

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    Have you listened to the commentary that consists of interview snippets? There's more of him there - he badly insults the director of Deep Throat. Camp must be the most bitter man on the planet - yeah, he's funny in a way, but he clearly has an awful lot of anger. [​IMG]
     
  31. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    Is this an actual filmed documentary, or are some parts on video? I know it was shown in theaters, but recent documentaries are often shown on DVD direct from the video sources instead of the film prints.
     
  32. Mike Heenan

    Mike Heenan Second Unit

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    Linda Lovelace had a reputation as a hustler... when her career in porn wasn't going so great she claimed she was forced to do it, etc.

    A friend of mine told me a hilarious story one time about finding Harry Reems lying drunk in a gutter with a gash on his forehead in Los Angeles somewhere in the late 80s and how he asked my friend "hey man can I crash at your place" and such. Funny stuff.
     
  33. Jay Pennington

    Jay Pennington Screenwriter

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    I thought I saw a 20/20 (or similar news mag) segment years ago that featured him, and he'd become a born-again preacher or something in Texas. ??
     
  34. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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    [​IMG] That's funny?



    Watch the film, it answers a few of the questions you guys are bringing up, such as Reems picking himself up and becoming successful real estate agent in Utah & Lovelace coming across as a bit of an easily "influenced" person who would jump track several times on the porn issue....even at the very end it seems.


    BTW Colin, yes I listened to the compilation commentary and the fact that he put down virtually everyone he spoke about simply led me to believe that he was just a bitter old man in general...plus the fact the Reems states "Lenny's insane isn't he?" leading me to assume that he was like this back then as well, just a basic negative person who's probably been that way his whole life.
     

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