Watch streaming video clips of the “Inside Deep Throat” panel discussion on Variety Vision.
HOLLYWOOD — Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato‘s Thursday premiere of “Inside Deep Throat” proved that the 33-year-old porn movie hasn’t lost its ability to infuriate people.
The docu unspooled on the Cinerama Dome’s 2,700-square-foot screen at the ArcLight, providing what was possibly the largest-ever projection of the film’s titular act. However, what inspired the audience’s greatest response was not the pic’s NC-17 imagery but the fully clothed panel that followed.
Variety editor-in-chief Peter Bart did his best to moderate columnist-activist Arianna Huffington, writer-producer Lawrence O’Donnell, conservative radio talkshow host Dennis Prager and film critic Richard Schickel; but none of the panelists seemed interested in moderation.
“I think ‘Deep Throat’ would have been a masterpiece if there had been cunnilingus as well as fellatio,” Schickel said.
Prager called fellatio “a wonderful invention, and I thank God for it,” but added that he thought a film like “Deep Throat” contributed to creating a world with “more fellatio and less love.” Soon, the discussion denigrated into a heated, if off-topic, debate on whether sex or violence were more dangerous for children.
“They were ready to swing at each other,” marveled producer Brian Grazer at the Arclight Cafe reception. “Richard Schickel changed form. He was like Peter Finch in ‘Network.’ ”
As for the original director of “Deep Throat,” Gerard Damiano, he was just happy to be there with his son and daughter. “I was thrilled with what Fenton and Randy did,” he said. However, he’s less delighted with today’s porn industry.
“Video was such a wonderful tool, but it became too easy,” he said. “It’s faster and cheaper, but no one said anything about making it better.”
Also on hand were Brett Ratner, Lawrence Bender, Akiva Goldsman and porn-actress-turned-gubernatorial-candidate Mary Carey.