Deep Throat Review

Love it or hate it – and there are grounds for both reactions - Deep Throat has a place in film history. It’s the most profitable film ever made, with $600 million dollars made against a budget of $25,000. Its sociological impact has been enormous, something which I go into in more detail in my review of the 2005 documentary Inside Deep Throat. That was in the USA of course: in the UK we were certainly aware of its existence, but it was a film we couldn’t see legally. This R18 DVD release from Hot Rod Gold marked the first time the film had been available uncut in the UK.

The story of Deep Throat is a simple one. Linda (played by Linda Lovelace “as herself”, as the opening credits put it) cannot have an orgasm. However much she tries, stars don’t burst and bells don’t ring. Twenty minutes in to a film which lasts only an hour, a visit to the doctor (Harry Reems) uncovers the problem: Linda’s clitoris is not in its usual place but is located at the base of her throat. So the only way that Linda can climax is via “deep throat”, namely by taking penises of increasing size into her mouth.

Deep Throat wasn’t the first hardcore film: short “stag” films date back to the beginning of the century, with a fair sampling being found in the French documentary The Good Old Naughty Days. While not in themselves porn, films such as the Swedish I Am Curious Yellow had included moments of unsimulated sexual activity in the late 1960s. Bill Osco’s 1970 film Mona was the first pornographic feature. But none of these had the impact that Deep Throat did.

That’s not to say that Deep Throat is a good film in any conventional sense. Even its director, Gerard Damiano (credited here as “Jerry Gerard”) doesn’t think so. Direction is rudimentary to say the least – though Damiano goes into an editing frenzy as fireworks explode, rockets take off and bells ring as Linda finds her sexual forte. The acting is poor, the jokes are inane. “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” plays over a cunnilingus scene, and the title song is played so many times over the hour that it will drive you to distraction. I’ve gone into the controversy over Linda Lovelace’s participation in this film in my review of Inside Deep Throat and won’t repeat it here, except to say that she looks disturbingly dead-eyed throughout.

Deep Throat is very much a product of another age. In the three decades since, porn has become a harder and nastier place, and the activities on show here may seem mild and quaint. Bodies are hairy and flabby here, not buffed to an inhuman perfection as they were now. It may have its place in film history, but I suspect for most people a single viewing will be enough to satisfy their curiosity.



The DVD
A heavily cut version of Deep Throat was previously released on the Cultporn label and was reviewed by Michael Brooke here. This release from Hot Rod Gold is uncut and carries a R18 certficate which makes it legally available within the UK only from licenced sex shops. The DVD is encoded for all regions. It’s transferred in the original Academy Ratio. Original negatives of this film presumably are in the hands of the Mob – Momentum gave the one and only cinema print a limited release in 2005 - and this DVD looks like it’s been mastered from a video source, with a lot of grain, bleeding colours and plenty of artefacts.

The soundtrack is mono, as per the original. It’s tinny-sounding with a limited dynamic range, but that simply reflects the film’s age and budget level. Dialogue is certainly clear enough though there are no subtitles. There are fourteen chapter stops, and three scene selection menus: “The Sex”, “The Story” and “The Songs”. No prizes for guessing which one will get most use…

There are cut 18-certificate versions of Deep Throat available, but with a film like this there isn’t much point in anything other than the complete version. The hardcore sex is the film’s entire raison d’etre and without it, it has little going for it. It has a place in history which makes it worth a look for the curious or anyone studying the history of sexuality in Western culture, or censorship. The dirty mac brigade has meanwhile moved on to other things.

Film
3 out of 10
Video
2 out of 10
Audio
3 out of 10
Extras
0 out of 10
Overall

4

out of 10

Last updated: 04/05/2018 10:37:51

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