*Original Deep Throat (1972)

Description:

Original Deep Throat (1972)

Linda, frustrated that her hugely energetic sex life leaves her unsatisfied, seeks medical help. The doctor informs her that the reason for her problem is that her clitoris is mistakenly located at the back of her throat – but there is a very simple remedy, which the doctor, and various other men, proceed to demonstrate…

Starring: Harry Reems,Dolly Sharp,Bill Harrison,William Love,Carol Connors,Bob Phillips,Linda Lovelace,Ted Street,John Byron,Jack Birch,Gerard Damiano


Review:
How on earth does one go about reviewing DEEP THROAT nowadays ? Though it’s clearly still the best known adult movie of all time, it cannot be called a good film in any objective or traditional sense. Many have speculated over the three intervening decades as to the reasons why THROAT, which even in 1972 was hardly the best of its kind, became such a huge box office bonanza, furthered rather than hindered by its much publicized prosecution. Absolutely everything you need to know about the movie’s legal problems and its sociological significance is elaborated upon in the excellent 2005 documentary INSIDE DEEP THROAT. Rather than waste precious space on a futile attempt to put my 2 cents in regarding THROAT’s apparent discrepancy between quality and longevity, I’ll try to give my honest opinion on the film proper, unbothered by all that has been said and written about it since it was first screened.

Linda Lovelace (“as Herself”, according to the credits) is a happy hippie chick living of dad’s allowance and sharing a house with fun-loving divorcĂ©e Helen (Dolly Sharp, star of the Amero Brothers’ DYNAMITE and tons of loops). Their carefree existence is marred only by Linda’s inability to achieve orgasm, this evidently NOT through lack of trying ! While sex makes her feel all nice ‘n’ tingly, she wants to hear “bells ringing, dams bursting, guns going off”, prompting Helen’s laughing request if she wants to get off or wreck the city. Help is at hand in the shape of wacky Doctor Young (the role that forever saddled Herbert Streicher with the ludicrous nom de porn of “Harry Reems”), a psychiatrist who’s way nuttier than any of his patients but actually seems to hold the cure to Linda’s ills. It turns out that her clitoris isn’t quite located where it should be, hence her incapacity for total sexual fulfillment, but is situated at the back of her throat ! The only way for Linda to climax is to perform fellatio all the way down, an act that has been referred to by the film’s title ever since. Linda’s devouring of Harry’s member (cross-cut with images of, yep, bells ringing, dams bursting and guns going off to indicate the girl’s pleasure) really is something to see, as startling a display of sexual acrobatics now as it must’ve been 35 years ago.

With a demanding nurse – played by Carol Connors, later star of Gail Palmer’s CANDY movies and mother of mainstream actress Thora Birch (whose dad, Jack Birch a/k/a “Michael Powers” also appears as #12 in the Dolly Sharp threesome with one shot John Byron) – to consider, the good doctor tries to set up Linda with one of his other patients by engaging her as an out-call physical therapist. Some of the sex that ensues consists of loop footage shot prior to principal filming. You can generally tell by the absence of live sound during these scenes, compensated by voice-over and the use of silly sound f/x. Linda finally finds happiness, and gets to perform her party trick once more with feeling, with dopey Wilbur Wang (the aptly moniker-ed William Love) who meets the necessary requirements to hit the lady’s sensitive spot.

Apart from Linda’s oral abilities, the sex is pretty much run of the mill raunch, generally well- covered by utilitarian camera work and editing but not much different from loops of the period. You also never get to see Linda entirely naked, due to a large scar running from her chest down to her abdomen as a result of a car crash she almost miraculously survived some years earlier. She was not that fortunate in 2002 when another traffic accident tragically ended her life. Her conflicting accounts of abuse at the hands of then husband Chuck Traynor around the time of filming are but some of the many specters that continue to haunt this movie. While bruises are apparent (check out her early poolside dialog bit with Dolly Sharp), she does seem to enjoy herself sexually. If she’s pretending, she might’ve been a far better actress than she was ever given credit for.

Another asset is the film’s endearingly awful soundtrack with a number of relentlessly hummable original tunes like its title song (yes, it does exist), the rambunctious “Bubbles” track that plays over the orgy scene with Linda and Helen lining up the guys for their personal pleasure (an almost feminist concept, just kidding !) and the raunchy reworking of the New Seekers’ “I’d Like to Teach the World” appropriately supporting what I’d call the Coca Cola scene involving the beverage, a clear plastic tube and Linda’s private parts.

Those who enjoy putting the film down tend to overlook that sophisticated wit was never director Gerard Damiano’s goal. This is toilet humor, a dirty joke well told, akin to the sauciness displayed by burlesque comedians in between strip acts. On that level it works like a charm. So while there were other adult movies at the time that had more sophisticated story lines and more erotic sex (like MONA, THE VIRGIN NYMPH and SCHOOL GIRL), this brash, in your face farce offered belly laughs along with the unfettered fornicating to anyone in need of an excuse to enjoy a pornographic film. As it was the first to hit upon that surefire recipe for success, it totally deserves to be remembered (and occasionally revisited) as the adult film that started it all.

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