Deep Throat (1972) - News Poster

(1972)

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'70s Porn Star Who Became Free Speech Cause Celebre Has Died

Adult Film Star Reems has died at the age of 65 Harry Reems, the male lead in the epoch-making early '70s X-rated entry Deep Throat, died yesterday, March 19, at a Salt Lake City veterans hospital. The actor had been suffering from various serious ailments, among them pancreatic cancer. He was 65 years old. (Pictured above: Harry Reems in the '70s.) Born Herbert Streicher in New York City in 1947, he began working in the entertainment industry after serving in the U.S. Marines. His is a classical show business tale, sort of similar to the Ruby Keeler / Bebe Daniels switch found in the classic musical 42nd Street: when Deep Throat's original male lead didn't show up on the set, filmmaker Gerard Damiano had lighting director Reems to step in as an unknown (and later come back a star). The film's plot revolved around a doctor (played by Reems) who discovers that
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Porn Film Director Dies Of A Stroke

  • WENN
Porn Film Director Dies Of A Stroke
Porn moviemaker Gerard Damiano has died. He was 80.

The director of 1972 adult movie Deep Throat passed away in Miami, Florida after suffering from a stroke last month.

The movie was the first pornographic picture to be shown in cinemas and made an estimated $600 million (GBP382 million).

His son, Gerard Damiano Jr, says, "He was a filmmaker and an artist and we thought of him as such.

"Even though we weren't allowed to see his movies, we knew he was a moviemaker and we were proud of that."

Inside Deep Throat

Inside Deep Throat
PARK CITY -- Deep Throat is still the most successful indie film ever made, a $25,000 porn flick released in 1972 that may have grossed -- no one was really counting -- $600 million. So what better place to premiere Inside Deep Throat, a film by Sundance veterans Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato (The Eyes of Tammy Faye), than here at the king of indie fests?

The docu turns out to be an often provocative and perceptive look at the history of the porn business in America, the cultural wars the movie fed into and the lives of some who worked on the film.

Since forces on the right are currently galvanized for a renewed attack on civil liberties and freedom of expression, Inside Deep Throat is making a timely appearance. The film, which Universal will release nationally Feb. 11, looks like another documentary boxoffice winner.

When asked about the landmark film he made more than 30 years ago, director Gerard Damiano (a.k.a. Jerry Gerard) admits, "No, I don't think it's a very good movie." Which has to be the most irrelevant fact one can state about Deep Throat.

A poorly shot, absurd sex comedy constructed around its star's remarkable ability at fellatio, the movie opened in Times Square at the height of the war being waged by the counterculture and sexual liberation movements against a belligerent establishment. While Erica Jong's comment that suddenly sex was out of the closet may be overstating things, the movie certainly marked the first time grandmothers stood in line to watch porn and talk show hosts and The New York Times could make references to a sex act, then considered illicit in some states, which few had any trouble understanding.

The movie traces several themes emanating from this cultural phenomenon. First there are the damaged lives of the film's stars, Linda Lovelace and Harry Reems, an assistant camera drafted into the male starring role while on location in Florida. Then there is the growth of porn, which many filmmakers and artists saw as having artistic as well as commercial potential if it could cross over into the mainstream. That never happened.

The film also navigates through the legal and political battles this film and others faced including a presidential commission's investigation into pornography and society, which was roundly ignored by the government when the commission reached the "wrong" conclusions.

For the most part, Bailey and Barbato succeed in weaving together these various themes, thanks to smart editing by William Grayburn and Jeremy Simmons. Linda Lovelace, who disowned the film in a memoir that claimed she shot it under duress, later seemed to embrace her former image in a sexy magazine layout. She died in an auto accident in 2002 dead broke, according to her sister.

Reems suffered federal prosecution. While he prevailed, this sent his life into a downward spiral of alcoholism. Thankfully, he has recovered and lives here in Park City, where he has a real estate license.

For interviews, the filmmakers astutely cast a wide net, bringing before their cameras people not always connected to the film yet with insight into the issues it raised. These talking heads include Norman Mailer, Helen Gurley Brown, Susan Brownmiller, Alan Dershowitz, Camille Paglia, Gore Vidal and Reems' zealous prosecutor, Larry Parrish. A narration delivered by Dennis Hopper is unobtrusive, appearing only when necessary.

The salient point here is that Deep Throat can be seen as one of the first battles of the culture wars that still divide this nation. The choice of interviewees tilt the viewpoint heavily in favor of freedom of expression, yet both sides conclude that damage has been done and the wars are far from over.

There seems to be no middle ground on this issue, just as there never was any intersection between mainstream and porn. Movies such as Last Tango in Paris and, more recently, 9 Songs hint at the possibilities. But when an actor such as Reems can be hauled into court for accepting a movie role, little wonder those possibilities remain unexplored.

INSIDE DEEP THROAT

Universal Pictures

An Imagine Entertainment in association with HBO Documentary Films presentation of a Brian Grazer Production in association with World of Wonder

Credits:

Writers/directors: Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato

Producer: Brian Grazer, Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato

Co-producer: Mona Card

Executive producer: Kim Roth

Directors of photography: David Kempner, Teodoro Maniaci

Editors: William Grayburn, Jeremy Simmons

Music: David Steinberg

MPAA rating: NC-17

Running time -- 88 minutes

Inside Deep Throat

Inside Deep Throat
PARK CITY -- Deep Throat is still the most successful indie film ever made, a $25,000 porn flick released in 1972 that may have grossed -- no one was really counting -- $600 million. So what better place to premiere Inside Deep Throat, a film by Sundance veterans Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato (The Eyes of Tammy Faye), than here at the king of indie fests?

The docu turns out to be an often provocative and perceptive look at the history of the porn business in America, the cultural wars the movie fed into and the lives of some who worked on the film.

Since forces on the right are currently galvanized for a renewed attack on civil liberties and freedom of expression, Inside Deep Throat is making a timely appearance. The film, which Universal will release nationally Feb. 11, looks like another documentary boxoffice winner.

When asked about the landmark film he made more than 30 years ago, director Gerard Damiano (a.k.a. Jerry Gerard) admits, "No, I don't think it's a very good movie." Which has to be the most irrelevant fact one can state about Deep Throat.

A poorly shot, absurd sex comedy constructed around its star's remarkable ability at fellatio, the movie opened in Times Square at the height of the war being waged by the counterculture and sexual liberation movements against a belligerent establishment. While Erica Jong's comment that suddenly sex was out of the closet may be overstating things, the movie certainly marked the first time grandmothers stood in line to watch porn and talk show hosts and The New York Times could make references to a sex act, then considered illicit in some states, which few had any trouble understanding.

The movie traces several themes emanating from this cultural phenomenon. First there are the damaged lives of the film's stars, Linda Lovelace and Harry Reems, an assistant camera drafted into the male starring role while on location in Florida. Then there is the growth of porn, which many filmmakers and artists saw as having artistic as well as commercial potential if it could cross over into the mainstream. That never happened.

The film also navigates through the legal and political battles this film and others faced including a presidential commission's investigation into pornography and society, which was roundly ignored by the government when the commission reached the "wrong" conclusions.

For the most part, Bailey and Barbato succeed in weaving together these various themes, thanks to smart editing by William Grayburn and Jeremy Simmons. Linda Lovelace, who disowned the film in a memoir that claimed she shot it under duress, later seemed to embrace her former image in a sexy magazine layout. She died in an auto accident in 2002 dead broke, according to her sister.

Reems suffered federal prosecution. While he prevailed, this sent his life into a downward spiral of alcoholism. Thankfully, he has recovered and lives here in Park City, where he has a real estate license.

For interviews, the filmmakers astutely cast a wide net, bringing before their cameras people not always connected to the film yet with insight into the issues it raised. These talking heads include Norman Mailer, Helen Gurley Brown, Susan Brownmiller, Alan Dershowitz, Camille Paglia, Gore Vidal and Reems' zealous prosecutor, Larry Parrish. A narration delivered by Dennis Hopper is unobtrusive, appearing only when necessary.

The salient point here is that Deep Throat can be seen as one of the first battles of the culture wars that still divide this nation. The choice of interviewees tilt the viewpoint heavily in favor of freedom of expression, yet both sides conclude that damage has been done and the wars are far from over.

There seems to be no middle ground on this issue, just as there never was any intersection between mainstream and porn. Movies such as Last Tango in Paris and, more recently, 9 Songs hint at the possibilities. But when an actor such as Reems can be hauled into court for accepting a movie role, little wonder those possibilities remain unexplored.

INSIDE DEEP THROAT

Universal Pictures

An Imagine Entertainment in association with HBO Documentary Films presentation of a Brian Grazer Production in association with World of Wonder

Credits:

Writers/directors: Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato

Producer: Brian Grazer, Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato

Co-producer: Mona Card

Executive producer: Kim Roth

Directors of photography: David Kempner, Teodoro Maniaci

Editors: William Grayburn, Jeremy Simmons

Music: David Steinberg

MPAA rating: NC-17

Running time -- 88 minutes

Jolie to Play Lovelace?

  • WENN
Jolie to Play Lovelace?
Hollywood star Angelina Jolie is in talks to play legendary seventies porn star Linda Lovelace in a new biopic. The stunning Lara Croft: Tomb Raider actress reportedly has a personal interest in the risque project about the Deep Throat actress, who died in April in a car accident this year at age 53. A source says, "Angelina is keen to prove that she can act and this is a really great story. It's the kind of serious material she is interested in. It's early days and there's no director yet, but she's been approached and she's definitely interested."

Linda Lovelace Dies In Denver

  • WENN
Linda Lovelace Dies In Denver
Officials at Denver Health Medical Center told the press Tuesday that Linda Boreman (a.k.a. Linda Lovelace) died Monday from injuries sustained during an auto accident earlier this month. Boreman/Lovelace, 53, rose to fame in the '70s with the now-legendary adult film Deep Throat, but eventually abandoned the industry, later claiming in a bestselling autobiography that she had been abused and even forced to perform at gunpoint. She quickly became a symbol for anti-pornography activists and began speaking out against the industry in lectures and testifying before a presidential commission investigating pornography. Boreman/Lovelace had moved to Denver in 1990 with her second husband, Larry Marchiano (whom she divorced in 1996), and her two children. There she worked in clerical jobs and continued her anti-porn campaign on the lecture circuit, also coming out against silicone breast implants which she claimed had caused her health problems. Boreman/Lovelace was profiled in an "E!: True Hollywood Story" in 2000. (This story was compiled by IMDb staff)

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