Saturday, January 26, 2019

Phil's Porno Chic Theatre: DEEP THROAT (1972) from Sunset Entertainment - January 19, 2019

DEEP THROAT Blu-Ray
DEEP THROAT (1972)

Starring Linda Lovelace, Harry Reems, Dolly Sharp, Carol Connors, Ronnie Shark, William Love, Bob Phillips
Written by Gerard Damiano (as Jerry Gerard)
Cinematography by João Fernandes (as Harry Flecks)
Edited by Gerard Damiano (as Jerry Gerard)
Produced by Phil Parisi (as Phil Perry), Louis Peraino (as Lou Perry)
Directed by Gerard Damiano (as Jerry Gerard)
Originally released by Bryanston Distributing Company
Released by Sunset Entertainment

Greetings and salutations all you sexy people and welcome to the first installment of Phil's Porno Chic Theatre for 2019! For today's review, I'll be talking about one of the most important adult films ever made in cinema history. Now, for those of you may not know what "Pono Chic" means, it refers to a time when it seemed okay to go out and see a "dirty movie" at your local cinema. Couples were going, along with groups of women and celebrities, who were curious as to what the clamour was all about. Today's film has been called, "the one that started it all." On June 12, 1972, the adult film DEEP THROAT had its world premiere at the World Theatre in Times Square in New York. On that warm, summer day, history was made and the world we live in would never be the same again.

The film's official synopsis: The film tells the story of Linda Lovelace, your typical girl-next-door, who unfortunately is having problems achieving an orgasm. Even though she has a very high and adventurous sex life, she still feels unsatisfied. After a wild sex party leads to disappointment, Linda asks her friend Helen (Dolly Sharp) for help. She recommends that she visit a doctor, so Linda meets the wacky Dr. Young (Harry Reems). During Linda's examination, the doctor discovers that her clitoris is mistakenly located at the back of her throat. What's a girl do to? According to the good doctor, she can achieve orgasms by performing the oral sex skill he calls "deep throat." After seeing fireworks going off, bells ringing, and rockets exploding, Linda is finally sexually satisfied. She works for Dr. Young as a nurse and performs her "deep throat" talent on various patients until she finds the one she wants to marry.

The film was a first of its kind. It was a pornographic movie with a plot. Up until then, what was being shown were the old stag films as well as loops in converted store front theaters. But in early 1973, a news article about the film appeared on the New York Times. Written by reporter Ralph Blumenthal and using the phrase "Porno Chic" for its title, it helped usher in what has been coined "The Golden Age of Pornography," which lasted between 1972-1984. Because of the New Your Times article, it made couples want to go porno theatres and see what the hype was all about. Celebrities also came to see the film: Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty, Martin Scorsese, Brian De Palm, and Johnny Carson. Seeing the film became the hip thing to do.

Original Theatrical Poster (1972)
The film was an amalgam of slapstick comedy, bad puns, and hot sex with hilarious one-liners, such as, "Mind if I smoke while you eat?" While amateurish in certain parts, the film as a whole is quite entertaining and captures the 70's sexual revolution: its ideas, its frankness about sex, and stating that women have the right to have orgasms. It was in some ways a form of enlightenment for women, who saw the film as a form of sexual freedom and exploration. However, with this new freedom, there came a hefty price.

The film was tried and banned in New York, and soon, it would become banned in 23 states. Actor Reems was tried and was almost sent to prison. The film was then distributed by a network of Mafia-connected associates of the Peraino family. The film has been rumored to have grossed as high as $600 million, which would make the film one of the highest grossing films of all time. It's been reported that the film actually earned somewhere between $30–50 million. However, because of the Perainos, it is unsure as to how much the film actually earned.

The popularity of the film became part of the mainstream in a major way. Assistant FBI director W. Mark Felt, the Watergate informer that blew the whistle on then President Richard Nixon was nicknamed "Deep Throat." It was talked about in the news, on late talk shows as well as variety shows. It's been referenced in books, newspapers, mainstream movies, as well as becoming part of the sexual dictionary. In 2005, the film would also become the subject matter in the documentary entitled INSIDE DEEP THROAT. In it, directors Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato chronicled (and in some parts exaggerated) the history of the film and the ramifications of its impact. The movie was also the first film to be inducted into the XRCO Hall of Fame. On August 9, 2013, the dramatic biopic LOVELACE, starring Hollywood A-listers Amanda Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard, Sharon Stone, Adam Brody, James Franco, Chloë Sevigny, and Juno Temple, was released to theaters by The Weinstein Company. Based on Lovelace's life, it was written by Andy Bellin and directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman.

On April 22, 2002, Linda Lovelace died from injuries sustained from a car accident at the young age of 53. Then Gerard Damino passed away at age 80 on October 25, 2008 following complications from a stroke he suffered. And then finally, on March 19, 2013, Harry Reems died from pancreatic cancer at the age of 65. In December 2014, the website The Rialto Report (which documents the golden years of adult cinema) released a podcast which revealed the identify of Dolly Sharp, who had disappeared from the public's eye after the release of the film. Through their investigations, they reported that Sharp was actually in fact Helen Wood, a former Broadway performer and Hollywood actress, who appeared in the 1953 musical GIVE A GIRL A BREAK and in director William Friedkin's 1968 film THE NIGHT THEY RAIDED MINSKY'S. Sharp passed away from colon cancer on November 1, 1998 in Los Angeles. She was just 63 years old.

The new Blu-Ray release looks absolutely gorgeous!! There are still some small scratches and dirt, but overall, the movie has never, and I mean never, looked this pristine before!! It looks like a brand new movie all together!! The visuals look so crisp and sharp, the soundtrack and dialogue sounds clear, and it looks amazing in HD!! Congratulations to Sunset Entertainment for making this the best version of the film ever!!

Sunset Entertainment also offers up some cool special features for this Blu-Ray release. There's an interview with the late Linda Lovelace, several random adult trailers from the 1970's, and a second feature DEEP THROAT II, which was written and directed by the legendary Joseph Sarno and released in 1972. The sequel is an exploitation comedy, rather than a true adult sequel. The picture and sound quality is decent, but that's about it. The film was produced once again by Phil Parisi and Louis Peraino and though the production company that made the film was called Damiano Films, Gerard Damiano had no involvement with the sequel.

DEEP THROAT and its impact on our society and culture have been immeasurable. It was the first of its kind, and while there have been a plethora of its kind since then, it still remains as one of the most important films in American cinema history. Forty-seven years later, the film still resonates within our society, and its influence is still part of our pop culture as well as our sexual lexicon. But one must remember, when watching the film, we are watching a time capsule that captured a society on the eve of change. The film documented a cultural shift; an open mindedness about sex. For a brief moment in history, it looked like America was going to adult about its sexuality. However the opposite occurred, and now we live in society that glamorizes and praises violence while sex is still a taboo subject. As a result of this, we repress our sexuality instead of talking about, exploring it, and celebrating it. So ask yourself this question: Would you rather see gratuitous acts of violence or gratuitous acts of love? 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!


DEEP THROAT is available on Blu-Ray from Sunset Entertainment. To purchase a copy for yourself, visit the Diabolik DVD website at www.diabolikdvd.com.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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