I just watched a documentary about the most successful film of all time. It’s a movie I have never seen, but know a lot about. Movie buffs often know scenes and dialogue from films they have not yet seen, but this one, made in 1972, never got the American Film Institute Best of acknowledgement. How could it? The movie is Deep Throat.
Released when I was in high school, Deep Throat was a punch line to hundreds of jokes and as the documentary Inside Deep Throat makes clear, it was also a groundbreaking X-rated film. People who never went to an adult film went to Deep Throat. The star, Linda Lovelace, was a household name. Made for $25,000 the film supposedly grossed $600 million. Of course, the shady money men, who had ties to the Mafia, never kept strict accounting of the film’s profits.
Whether or not the most successful movie of all time, the documentary does show what an impact the film had on our culture. Prosecutors and judges went after the movie and its actors on obscenity laws. People defended or protested the film. It was banned in 23 states. Yet, that didn’t stop the role the movie had on sexual mores. Blow jobs became a normal part of sex (trust me, it wasn’t an expected sexual act during my early sexual encounters sex in the mid-70s – now, it’s obligatory). The act even gets the presidential treatment when Clinton is in office (though you can’t tell me he’s been the only one in the Oval Office to find a special way to release all that presidential tension).
The documentary takes a look at what happened to many of the people involved in Deep Throat and also what happened to the porn industry. It isn’t a happy ending for many. Of those still alive (Lovelace died in 2002) they are very willing to talk about the film. It is fun to see these older folks and realize that many were porn stars back in the 1970s. The bonus features also have some great details. Watching Marilyn Chambers get embarrassed as she tries to explain the best way to do a deep throat kind of blow job is funny.
Anyway, enough about blow jobs and porn. My mother does read this blog every now and then. Of course, I have a sneaking suspicion that she isn’t “uneducated” about these topics. Still…
Do check out Inside Deep Throat and discover the culture-changing phenomenon that was Deep Throat.