‘Lovelace,’ starring Amanda Seyfried, examines ‘Deep Throat’ actress

August 9, 2013

Lovelace,” a biopic of the late porn star who rose to fame following the 1972 release of “Deep Throat,” is now in theaters. The movie does not portray Linda Lovelace as “the libidinous free spirit, anti-censorship spokesmodel and champion of the female orgasm that some of us believed — or, more accurately, wanted — her to be,” according to Post critic Michael O’Sullivan.

Instead, according to “Lovelace,” the actress was a naive victim of psychological ma­nipu­la­tion and outright physical abuse by her husband, Chuck Traynor, who coerced her into doing the movie, which went on to make $600 million — not to mention cinematic history — for the paltry sum of $1,250.

Okay, so none of this is exactly news.

Lovelace, who’s nicely played by Amanda Seyfried here, published a memoir in 1980 detailing all of these charges. It’s telling, though, that even then the publishers of her book, “Ordeal,” found it so hard to believe her so-called change of heart that they made her undergo a polygraph test to prove she wasn’t lying about performing under duress. (She passed, as shown in the film.) It’s also telling that “Inside Deep Throat,” a well-received 2005 documentary looking at the cultural impact of the 1972 film, spent most of its energy examining the role of “Deep Throat” — and, by extension, Lovelace — in the sexual revolution, giving only scant attention to her allegations.

So maybe we need to be reminded: Porn kills.

Michael O’Sullivan


Amanda Seyfried as Linda Lovelace and James Franco as Hugh Hefner in “Lovelace,” now in theaters. (RADIUS-TWC)

The 2005 documentary “Inside Deep Throat” includes interviews with Gerard Damiano, a hairdresser-turned-director, and other principals from the original movie: “We meet a cast of characters that, were they not real people, could only be featured extras in ‘Boogie Nights,’ ” The Post’s Ann Hornaday wrote in a 2005 review.

The filmmakers have done their due diligence in tracking down people who were around during the 1970s and who witnessed “Deep Throat’s” ascension to the pop-culture pantheon.

No less than John Waters, Erica Jong, Dr. Ruth, Dick Cavett and Camille Paglia weigh in on why the movie’s graphic depiction of oral sex was such a watershed. (It’s Norman Mailer, though, who delivers the film’s most trenchant observations, among them that “Deep Throat” “was a giggle. And the worst you can say about Americans is that we’ll sell our souls for a giggle.”)

There aren’t many surprises in what often seems an interminable series of commentaries. Where “Inside Deep Throat” gets interesting is when the filmmakers chronicle how the political fortunes of Richard Nixon — whose administration set out to make an example of “Deep Throat” in the most ambitious anti-pornography trial in history — were tied to the film, and vice versa. As Harry Reems, who was the only person convicted in the trial, recalls, his lawyer told him at the time that if the GOP won in 1976 he’d go to prison; if the Democrats won, he’d be set free.

Ann Hornaday

For more on what to do and see this weekend, visit the Going Out Guide.

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