A film’s journey from ordinary to classic

Currently, two Hollywood movie projects are striving to retell the eminently marketable story of Linda Lovelace. A-list names like Demi Moore in the part of the celebrated feminist Gloria Steinem and the romcom actor Adam Brody are part of one of the films being rapidly rushed to completion.

Linda Lovelace, the name has an alliterative ring about it. Born Linda Susan Boreman, she was the controversial porn star who kickstarted the trend of triple-x films coming out of the closet. In fact, her claim to infamy, Deep Throat, is a cult classic on the DVD circuit.
Video had blitzed the world in the mid-1970s. Amidst anyone I knew within charitable radar, Trilok Singh (name changed for the sake of propriety) owned a video player, a gloriously large TV set and above all, vid-tapes, somewhat fuzzy, bootlegged and all that. At long last, a cassette of Deep Throat was accessible under the counters of the video stores.
We’d heard about the er... steamflick made circa 1972 in six days at the cost of $25,000. It went on to gross $600 million. In terms of sheer expenditure-and-receipts, to this date it is the highest money-making movie in the world ever, exhibiting the talents of a free-spirited Linda Lovelace. Incidentally, her abusive husband compelled her to act in skin flicks. She died nine years ago, at the age of 53, in a car crash.
The fiercely independent, underground movie was banned in some 23 states of the US for being sexually explicit. Trilok, Ali Abbas (name retained) and I resolved to see what the fuss was all about. That evening of guilty pleasure returns today, well because of the entirely altered scenario today.
Adult content is a keyboard touch away. Once it had to be tracked down like some hidden treasure. Without making a case for or against pornographic material, I’m just pointing out that porn exists, it cannot be wished away. It’s even believed that the highest number of hits from Egypt, Turkey and India are related to sex.
To see Deep Throat, back in the 1970s Trilok had to ensure that parents, sisters and domestic aids were sleeping, and Lovelace was on. To put it mildly I was shocked out of my goody two shoes. Here was porn masala of the detailed variety.We giggled, “How funnee! How sillee!” but we acned boyz-waiting-to-be-men learnt all about the birds and the bees that night. Education in sex was denied by our elders at a time when its four-letter synonym was nothing more than a stork reality.
Ironically, the film is now accorded the status of a classic. No kidding. The title became a code word in the Watergate scandal. And there’s this high-minded, documentary out on DVD that places the effort way beyond the pornographic. The 90-minute docu Inside Deep Throat, on the one-hour film, has actor-narrator Dennis Hopper proclaiming, “It was less about the joys of oral sex than it was about the freedom to speak out against shame and hypocrisy.”
Director Gerard Damiano and the players Lovelace and Harry Reems are made out to be “artistic revolutionaries”. As outrage broke out, Lovelace made statements before an inquiry commission to the effect that she was a victim of a voyeuristic charade. This DVD also serves nearly an hour-long footage of Lovelace’s failed attempts to make it as a screen goddess in Hollywood. And to cap it all, Ray Pistol, a Vietnam war veteran, who bought the rights to the Deep Throat franchise, actually states that he believed he was doing more for the country than he ever did during his combat days in “a rice paddy in Vietnam”.
Whoa! Trilok, Abbas and I weren’t aware that we were doing “right” by watching a porn peep show. We thought we were doing something wrong. In retropsect, though, I’m not encumbered by psycho guilt pangs, far from it.
Trilok has two sons whom I’m sure he wouldn’t loan the fungused video cassette to (if it still survives that is). All I can do is to laugh all by myself — you can never tell when a guilty pleasure can become a masterpiece.

The writer is a journalist, film critic and film director


ordinary is always a great

ordinary is always a great word to know. For more information see this site www.skilch.com


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