At the start of the '70s, US porn was permitted only in the guise of sex education. Then Deep Throat was released and everything changed, with the resulting power struggle reshaping how we all look at sex, politics and the movie trade.
Two decades after Kinsey published his report into female sexual behaviour, Deep Throat started screening at US flea-pits. If the good doctorÆs findings had acted as a floodlight, shedding light on the realities of American lovemaking, this 1972 jazz-flick was a strobing, seductive disco ball. æDistinguishedÆ by its high-concept twist ù girl (Linda Lovelace) has clitoris in throat, must give head to achieve orgasm ù it quickly proved a filmic phenomenon. The ensuing tale of mobsters, moustaches and moral crusaders couldnÆt be stranger. Equally, the cast of characters that documentary-makers Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato have to work with is as colourful as a tie-dye bandana. On one side, ThroatÆs director Gerard Damiano and star Harry Reems, presented as victims who were robbed by the Mob and demonised by Nixon. On the other, rabid prosecutors like Larry Parrish, who would rather wipe out porn than terrorism. Considering they actually splice shag shots into one Parrish diatribe, itÆs pretty clear which side the filmmakers are on. But thereÆs nothing preachy about this slick and funny doc (narrated by Dennis Hopper), which as a brief history of how porn spurted into the mainstream has all the money shots you could ask for.
A sharp documentary that has comedy, tragedy and, yes, a glimpse of Linda LovelaceÆs party trick.
Reviewed by Nick De Semlyen