Inside Deep Throat [2005]

Director: Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato
Genre: Documentary, Biography, History
Rating: R (Restricted)
Runtime: 90 minutes

While Boogie Nights showed pornography's transition from sleazy cinemas to home-video dominance, Inside Deep Throat looks back to the film that introduced porn to a curious mainstream public. Released in 1972 and starring 23-year-old Linda Lovelace as sexpot whose oral sex skills (performed on well-endowed costar Harry Reems) gave the film its title (and, subsequently, the nickname of Watergate's secret informant), Deep Throat set a cultural milestone as a source of controversy, outrageous profit (mostly for its Colombo mob family financiers), and irrevocable social change. With equal parts nostalgia and historical hindsight, this briskly-paced documentary places Deep Throat in pivotal context, when Vietnam was an acknowledged disaster and American innocence was peeling away one layer at a time. Produced by Hollywood honcho Brian Grazer and catering to viewers who were too young to witness Deep Throat's impact firsthand, the film includes the legendary fellatio scene that made Lovelace an overnight sensation (hence the NC-17 rating), but it's the interviews with pop-culture VIP's like Norman Mailer, Dick Cavett, Hugh Hefner and (most amusingly) Helen Gurley Brown that add necessary perspective to what is, for better and worse, an engaging but somewhat shallow examination of a culture war that never really ended. --Jeff Shannon

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