Deep Throat (movie)

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Deep Throat is an American pornographic movie released in the summer of 1972, written and directed by Gerard Damiano and starring Linda Lovelace (the pseudonym of Linda Susan Boreman).

Contents

Description and plot

A sexually frustrated woman (Linda Lovelace, credited as playing "Herself") asks her friend Helen (played by Dolly Sharp) for advice; after a sex party did not provide any help, Helen recommends that Linda visit a doctor (played by Harry Reems). The doctor notices that Linda's clitoris is located in her throat; she then goes on to work as a therapist for the doctor and performs a particular technique of oral sex—thereafter known as "deep throat"—on various men, until she finds the one to marry. Meanwhile, the doctor has sex with his blonde nurse (played by Carol Connors). The movie ends with the line "The End. And Deep Throat to you all."

The movie, 61 minutes long, is intended to be funny with highly corny dialogues and songs, fireworks going off and bells ringing during orgasm.

The various explicit scenes of oral, anal and vaginal sex acts led to an X rating by the MPAA film rating system.

Porno chic and pop culture influence

On June 5, 1972, the movie received a glowing review by Al Goldstein in his Screw magazine. Only two full-length (and lesser known) heterosexual hardcore porn movies had been released previously in the U.S.: Mona in 1970 and School Girl in 1971.

Together with the gay-themed Boys in the Sand, released in December, 1971, and Behind the Green Door which was also released in 1972 and widely shown in mainstream theatres, Deep Throat started a brief period of 'porno chic' when it was considered cool in some circles to go see porn movies, even in mixed company. Several mainstream celebrities were seen watching Deep Throat, including Truman Capote, Jack Nicholson and Johnny Carson. The phenomenon was described and the movie reviewed in an influential 5 page article in The New York Times.

Unlike Behind the Green Door, Deep Throat's fame does not primarily root from its explicitness but from the fact that it set some of the main conventions of modern pornography: a synopsis made up of different segments of graphic sex, attached with a minimal plot

The movie's title became a pop culture reference, most notably when then-Washington Post managing editor Howard Simons chose "Deep Throat" as the pseudonym for a Watergate informant, many years later revealed to be W. Mark Felt.

Several writers have conjectured that Douglas Adams chose the name of the Deep Thought supercomputer (from the science fiction comedy The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1978) as a parody on the movie's title. Adams himself said only, "The name is a fairly obvious joke..."

Production and revenue

The scenes involving Linda Lovelace were shot in Miami over 6 days in January 1972; the scenes involving Carol Connors were shot in New York City.

The movie was produced by Louis "Butchie" Peraino (listed as "Lou Perry"), with most of the production cost of $22,500 coming from his father Anthony Peraino and his uncle Joe "The Whale" Peraino, both members of the Mafia, specifically the Colombo crime family. Damiano, who had rights to one-third of the profits, received a pay-off of $25,000 and was forced out by the Perainos shortly after the movie's success had become apparent. The Mafia would put pressure on theatre owners, generally demanding 50% of all proceeds and sending out spies or "checkers" to verify ticket sale numbers by counting members in the audience.

Estimates of total revenue have varied widely. One FBI source suggests $100 million, but numbers as high as $600 million have also been cited, which would make the movie the most profitable of all time. Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times argues for a lower number, pointing out that the movie was banned in half the U.S., and may only have been shown in one theatre in each of a few large cities. With a ticket price of $2.05, box-office takings of $600 million would require every man, woman and child in the U.S. to have seen it one-and-a-half times. (Ticket prices in New York City were $5 however. Since there was no mass VCR market until around 1977, video-tape sales cannot have contributed to revenue, although Super 8 mm film cine sales may have brought some revenue during the mid-1970s.

Roger Ebert, the popular movie critic, did have some comments about the movie's total gross when he reviewed Inside Deep Throat, a documentary film about the movie (see below). Ebert explains that in the 1970s when Deep Throat was made and released, most of the porn theaters were owned by the mob and they probably "inflated box office receipts as a way of laundering income from drugs and prostitution," so in fact Deep Throat did not really gross $600 million, even though that was the box office tally.

Linda Boreman's allegations

In her first two biographies, Linda Lovelace characterises making the film as a liberating experience; in her third and fourth biographies (written after making the acquaintance of Andrea Dworkin), she charges that she did not consent to many of the depicted sexual acts and that she was coerced to perform by her abusive husband Chuck Traynor who received $1250 for her acting. She also claimed she was hypnotised by Traynor, who brandished handguns and rifles to control her every move.

In 1986, she testified before the Meese Commission that, "Virtually every time someone watches that movie, they're watching me being raped." And in the Toronto Sun on March 20, 1981 she said that, "It is a crime that movie is still showing; there was a gun to my head the entire time." While the other people present on the set did not support the gun charge, both Traynor and Damiano confirmed in interviews that Traynor was extremely controlling towards Boreman and also hit her on occasion. In the documentary Inside Deep Throat (see below) it is claimed that bruises are visible on Boreman's body in the movie.

Obscenity litigation

In various communities in the U.S., the movie was shown to juries to determine whether it was obscene; the outcomes varied widely and the movie was banned in numerous locations. After a jury in New York in 1972 had found the movie to be not obscene, prosecutors decided to charge a corporation with obscenity in order to avoid a jury trial<ref name=pornochic/>. The movie was eventually found obscene in New York.

In 1976, there was a series of federal cases in Memphis, Tennessee, where over 60 individuals and companies, including the Perainos and actor Harry Reems, were indicted for conspiracy to distribute obscenity across state lines. Damiano and Lovelace were granted immunity in exchange for testimony. The Hon. Harry W. Wellford was the Federal District Court judge that heard the case. The trials ended in convictions.

This was the first time that an actor had been prosecuted by the federal government on obscenity charges. (Lenny Bruce had been prosecuted in the 1960s by local authorities.) Reems became a cause célèbre and received considerable support from Hollywood circles. On appeal, he was represented by Alan Dershowitz, and his conviction was overturned: the Miller test had been applied in his case even though the alleged conspiracy happened in 1972 and the Miller decision occurred in 1973, thus being an ex post facto prosecution. The Perainos and some other major players connected to organized crime received short prison sentences.

In 1995, while in Las Vegas for an obscenity trial, Louis Peraino met and befriended Raymond Pistol, a local adult club owner, and sold Pistol rights to his entire library including Deep Throat.

In the United Kingdom, the movie was banned upon release, and the ban was upheld by the courts 10 years later. The DVD of the movie was finally given an R18 rating in 2000 which allowed it to be sold in licensed sex shops in the UK.

Soundtrack

Supposedly the film was cut with the music in mind, making the 'thrust' in the scenes 'flow' with the music [1].

The original soundtrack was released by Trunk Records in 1972. Few copies exist today and when on the market, they have been seen to sell for as much as US$300. The tracks are groovy and contemporary, both instrumental and with vocals. Every second track or so is lyrics from the movie (indicated with "" in the list below). All artists are unknown. A remixed and remastered CD and LP version is now available from Light in the Attic Records (see links).

Original track list:

  1. Introducing Linda Lovelace
  2. "Mind if I smoke while you're eating?"
  3. Blowing' Bubbles
  4. "A Lot of little tingles"
  5. Love is Strange
  6. "A nice joint like you..."
  7. "You have no tinkler!"
  8. Deep Throat
  9. "I wanna be your slave"
  10. "My love is like a big blonde afro (Jah-ron-o-mo)"
  11. Nurse Lovelace
  12. I'd Like To Teach You All To Screw (It's The Real Thing)
  13. Nurse About the House
  14. "I got Blue Cross"
  15. Old Dr. Young
  16. Masked Marvel

Trivia

  • The director is listed as "Jerry Gerard", a pseudonym for Gerard Damiano. Damiano also makes a short non-sex appearance during the party scene; the score lists him as "Al Gork".
  • Co-star Harry Reems originally was hired to serve on the production crew for $200, but then agreed to appear in the film although that meant he would receive only $100 for his performance.
  • Linda's husband Chuck Traynor was also billed as production manager of the movie. At one point, he was considered as an actor, but he could not maintain an erection. After Linda left him in 1974, he would get involved with porn star Marilyn Chambers.
  • An uncut version was not released in the UK until the year 2000, on Videotape.

Sequels

  • The 1974 movie Deep Throat Part II was written and directed by Joseph W. Sarno and again featured Linda Lovelace and Harry Reems. The plot has the Russians attempt to kidnap Linda in order to learn about her secrets. Two versions, one hardcore and one R-rated, were shot, apparently because the production company, Arrow, was being hassled by the FBI and wanted to have a tame version to show to them, but the hardcore scenes were stolen from the editing laboratory and the subsequent release of the R-rated version was a box office failure.
  • Deep Throat II (1987) as well as the subsequent movies have different actors and director and, despite the title, are hardly sequels to Deep Throat.
  • Deep Throat 3 (1989) starred Peter North
  • Deep Throat 4 (1990), 5 (1991), and 6 (1992) were directed by Ron Jeremy.


External links

Further reading

  • Legs McNeil, Jennifer Osborne and Peter Pavia: The Other Hollywood: The Uncensored Oral History of the Porn Film Industry. Regan Books 2005. ISBN 0-06-009659-4


This page uses content from SM-201; the original article can be viewed here.
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