(PORN VALLEY, CA) — If you’re older than 50, you probably remember when you saw “Deep Throat.” The 1972 film is not only the most famous porn flick to date, but the most profitable movie in history. (It cost about $25,000 and grossed $600 million.) More than that, it forever changed not only Hollywood but American culture. Which is why A-list producer Brian Grazer-the man behind the Oscar-winning “A Beautiful Mind” and this winter’s upcoming “The Cat in the Hat”-has plunked down $1 million of his own money (plus $1 million from HBO) to make “Inside Deep Throat,” a documentary about the film’s life and times that should be in theaters before the end of the year.
“It was an atomic explosion in pop culture,” says Grazer, who first saw the movie at a party in 1979. “My grandmother and grandfather saw it! Stood in line to see it.” The film launched hundreds of obscenity lawsuits, was impounded in Memphis, ultimately changed the ratings system and launched the modern porn industry. And aside from spicing up the bedroom practices of millions of Americans, it forced mainstream filmmakers to push the boundaries of sexual content in their work.
“You couldn’t just have a coy kiss or an open blouse anymore,” Grazer says. “If a movie was designed to have any sexual impact, you suddenly had to go farther.” Grazer’s initial plan was to make a feature film about “Deep Throat” star Linda Lovelace, who died last year, but eventually decided the story was bigger than the woman herself. He hired documentary filmmakers Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey, who made the 2002 “Monica in Black and White,” about the infamous White House intern. Do we see a pattern here? “I never thought of that,” Grazer says, laughing. “I just liked their movie.”