The Sundance Film Festival is known as the place to premiere serious cinematic art.
Last weekend, a documentary called “Inside Deep Throat” debuted to much critical acclaim.
It is supposedly the story of the sociological impact of the 1972 hard-core porn movie, “Deep Throat.”
No surprise the Hollywood filmmakers waited until the star, known as Linda Lovelace, was dead and buried before once again greedily exploiting her and a new generation of Americans already hooked on casual, anything-goes, no-consequences sex.
“Inside Deep Throat” was produced by Brian Grazer, whose films include “Apollo 13” and “A Beautiful Mind.” It is set to open theatrically in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and five other cities next month.
Grazer said he had been contemplating a film about Linda Lovelace, who died in a 2002 car crash, but found the focus too narrow.
“I was less interested in the story of Linda Lovelace and more on the movie’s effect on popular culture,” Grazer told the Associated Press.
Without question the original movie had a profound impact on the culture. Shot for $25,000 and backed by mob muscle, the film desensitized millions of Americans toward pornography – today an industry raking in many billions.
Yet, the new documentary conveniently overlooks the harsh victimization of Lovelace, or Linda Susan Boreman, who in 1986 testified before the Meese Commission on Pornography that she was forced to perform in the movie.
“When you see the movie ‘Deep Throat,’ you are watching me being raped,” she said. “It is a crime that movie is still showing; there was a gun to my head the entire time.”
In other words, this was a kind of “snuff film,” but instead of the actor being murdered for the camera and the voyeurs who would pay to see it, Lovelace was just repeatedly raped.
Of course, that story is not addressed in “Inside Deep Throat.” Instead, it is portrayed as “good, clean fun.”
“It was the first porn film to drop any pretense that it had educational value,” explains Harry Reems, the male star, now a real-estate broker in Park City. “There was no socially redeeming value, and so the word of mouth went out from people who saw it saying ‘This is just a comedy. It’s great. You’ve got to see this.'”
Camille Paglia, Norman Mailer, Ruth Westheimer, Gore Vidal, Hugh Hefner and other apologists for pornography – and apparently rape – appear in the documentary.
And, yes, it incorporates explicit oral-sex footage from the 1972 original movie, earning an NC-17 rating as a result.
“There was no way we were going to make a film called ‘Inside Deep Throat’ without including the act,” said one of those responsible for the documentary. “Our film is not salacious or gratuitous. That scene needed to be in there.”
No, not salacious. No, not gratuitous. This is a movie that needed to be made. Unlike “Deep Throat,” this is truly a movie with real redeeming social value. The producers are only interested in truth – truth, that is, except about the real victims and real cost of pornography.
The original “Deep Throat” grossed an estimated $600 million. Crass commercialism could never be a motive for the making of the documentary, could it?
There is a powerful story to be told about the making of “Deep Throat.” It begins when Linda Susan Boreman of Yonkers, N.Y., a Catholic school student, daughter of a New York City cop, is spotted sunbathing in Fort Lauderdale at the age of 21 by a slug who became her husband.
He gets her hooked on drugs, and pimps her out to a bunch of stag filmmakers working for the Mafia.
When the film was rejected by some theater owners, the mob burned them down to set an example for others.
It had a societal impact, all right. It “legitimized” pornography overnight.
In 1980, Linda Lovelace released an autobiography recounting her ordeal. Her husband had forced her to perform sex on strangers. Then he forced her to do it on camera. Then he forced her to do it with a dog. But the ultimate victimization was “Deep Throat.”
Three years ago, she died in a Denver hospital after crashing her car into a concrete post.
But the nightmare didn’t end for Linda Susan Boreman. She’s being victimized all over again – this time by so-called “mainstream” Hollywood filmmakers still determined to cash in and persuade Americans it was all a big laugh.