The Politics of Censorship
Deep Throat was made for $25,000 and went on to gross six million dollars, becoming the most profitable film in history. It also generated a controversy regarding obscenity, which resulted to a Supreme Court ruling that still stands today, and allows each community to set its own obscenity standards. So, basically, we have Deep Throat to thank for Janet Jackson’s Nipplegate brouhaha.
The documentary Inside Deep Throat attempts to chronicle the rise and fall and rise again of the famed film that introduced the term “deep throat” to the American vernacular, and broke taboos about oral sex. Filmmakers Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato employ a sleek style, fast-paced editing and numerous interviews to tell the story of the film. We are fed delicious nuggets of information about how the film was made and how it went on to become an overnight success. However, the talking head segments are hurried and frivolous, showcasing more of the personalities’ quirks rather than substance.
The documentary would be a lot more interesting to watch if it engaged in more of a discourse about the politics of censorship, and the ramifications of the notorious court ruling for today’s culture. The most chilling moment comes as a final comment from Larry Parrish, still a prosecutor, saying that "If we could get the terrorists to go away, we could free up the Justice Department..." his follow-up, "...to prosecute porn," is inferred. This could’ve been a starting point for a whole other segment of the film. If only the filmmakers probed deeper…
Inside Deep Throat is currently playing at various New York theaters (Showtimes)