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March 21, 2005

{     Inside Deep Throat     }    

Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, directors of the quite amazing documentary 'The Eyes of Tammy Faye' and the less-than-amazing feature film 'Party Monster', return to their forte with 'Inside Deep Throat', a documentary piece covering the controversy that surrounded the highly successful and seminal (pun firmly intended) 70's porno film. A taut political climate along with very real (although sometimes misguided) artistic intentions allowed this somewhat mediocre porno film, made for a mere $25,000, to gross 600 million dollars nationally, unleashing a holy shitstorm by the religious right along the way. The film was banned in banned in 23 states and actor Harry Reems was convicted of obscenity charges for acting in the film. It's absolutely terrifying to see how zealous some of the government prosecutors who went after Deep Throat were, and astounding how clueless about sex America seemed to be as recently as the 1970's. To illustrate this point- the argument for obscenity in one of the first New York cases claimed that the film falsely lead people to believe that there was such thing as a clitoral orgasm! All the more frightening, when the documentary catches up with some of the people originally involved in the censorship of the film, they each talk about how much they might be able to accomplish in the next four years of the Bush administration, drooling over the opportunity to enforce their particular brand of morality on the American public. Having grown up in the 80's it was initially hard to imagine people being this fired up about the 'I'm sure you can pay for the pizza somehow" type-porno, but it's important to keep in mind that Deep Throat was one of the first. You get the impression throughout the documentary that most of the people making the film felt that they were doing something truly revolutionary, and it's impressive to see how when the shit really hit the fan they were able to fairly eloquently defend the content of their "art". Kudos to Bailey and Barbato for taking the time show how much and how little things have changed in American cultural history as we stand poised at the edge of a new era of censorship, enforced values and archaic beliefs concerning our right to watch a guy totally getting his wienermobile sizzled down to the exhaust shaft on film.

     » The Inside Deep Throat Website and Directors Journal.

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