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Not So Deep 'Throat'

By Desson Thomson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 11, 2005; Page WE46

It was the most profitable film in movie history, a $25,000 porn flick called "Deep Throat," which went on to gross $600 million. But the 1972 movie's staggering windfall and dubious respectability (suddenly everyone had to see it) became its downfall. Federal prosecutor Larry Parrish, a sort of southern-styled Eliot Ness of smut, brought Harry Reems to trial. The star of "Deep Throat" was the only one targeted and successfully convicted, but the decision was overturned. However, Reems's acting and personal life deteriorated rapidly.

The documentary, produced by Brian Grazer (of Ron Howard's Imagine Entertainment) and narrated by official bad boy veteran Dennis Hopper, gives an instructive account about the movie's history, as well as the players involved, including Reems (now a born-again Christian real estate agent in Utah), his "Deep Throat" co-star Linda Lovelace (who died in 2002 from injuries suffered in a car crash) and director Gerard Damiano. There are also interviews, past and recent, with Reems, Lovelace and Damiano, as well as such diverse figures as Norman Mailer, Larry Flynt, Ruth Westheimer, Parrish, John Waters, Gloria Steinem and Susan Brownmiller.

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Damiano, now frail and gaunt, relates some fascinating anecdotes. But the commentary from most of the others ranges from quippy soundbites to predictable tut-tutting. Although the movie gives us an interesting overview and tries to place "Deep Throat" in sociological, historical and feminist contexts, there isn't a governing power to the film itself. It's a fascinating story but not so fascinatingly told.

INSIDE DEEP THROAT (NC-17, 92 minutes) --Contains graphic excerpts from "Deep Throat," other graphic footage and obscenity. At Loews Cineplex Dupont Circle.

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