Inside Deep Throat review

Supposedly the most profitable film ever made, Deep Throat went from $25,000 grot knockout to $600-million '70s landmark. It's some story, told with saucy/serious zip by co-directors Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato (Party Monster), who trace how a ""piece-of-shit film"" became "porn chic", was savaged by Nixonian moralists and shifted hardcore from seedy dirty-mac shacks to mainstream cinema.

Part cultural investigation, part kitsch nostalgia-beat, Inside Deep Throat's big pull is its spectacularly gaudy gallery of characters: from New York prosecutors (""The movie says it's perfectly normal to have a clitoral orgasm. And that is wrong"") to delightful little-old-lady punters (""I wanted to see a dirty picture and that's what I saw!""). All-star talking heads - - including Norman Mailer, Hugh Hefner, Camille Paglia, Larry Flynt and John Waters - - fill the gaps, but they can't beat the priceless chats with Deep Throat's leathery former crew, now a wizened freakshow of kinda-funny-lookin' '70s rejects.

Indeed, Inside feels fresher when zeroing in on personal tectonics rather than the cultural shifts: how actor Harry Reems (now a born-again Utah realtor) became a celebrity martyr and how the Mob trousered the profits and handed out muzzles. In the movie's most telling scene, an elderly ex-exhibitor talks coyly to camera, while his wife yells at him from the background to keep his mouth shut.

He does, Bailey and Barbato score the giggle, and we start to realise that Inside is hitting all the right spots without going, well, deep enough. There's plenty missing from this entertaining surface skitter - - not least Linda Lovelace. Coasting past her tragic life (from abused adult star to anti-porn feminist to older, more confused adult star), the movie only just finds time to mention her car-crash death at 52. In the end, we're left watching a lot of rich old men with big houses, bad toupees and good teeth. Hard not to wonder if Lovelace isn't still being screwed...

A punchy, breezy and entertaining look at the shudders caused by the one porno you tell people you've seen. Even if you haven't.

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