Gerard Damiano, the director of Deep Throat the 1972 phenomenon, died on the 25th of October 2008 of a stroke. He will be forever infamous as the writer and director of the most well known porn film ever. Not that I'm qualified to be a critic of pornographic cinema but I can still say with confidence that though it is in all likelihood not the best work of adult entertainment, it is without doubt the most significant. It was the first hardcore porn movie to break out to the mainstream audience (certain European art movies not withstanding) and into the mainstream consciousness.
I won't go into details as the documentary Inside Deep Throat will tell you everything you'd need to know, and Linda Lovelace's own account, Ordeal: The Truth Behind Deep Throat, elaborates even further on the darker side. And if you have never seen Deep Throat, even the readily available cut version, by all means see it as a historical curiosity and to be in awe of the moustaches. However, if you want entertainment I'd suggest watching Boogie Nights.
So I'm not really wanting to celebrate the works of Gerard Damiano, which include his other classic The Devil in Miss Jones (and a favourite title of mine, Splendor in the Ass), I cannot ignore his notorious place in history and how it intimately relates to that strange creature we refer to as popular culture.
The film is honoured as a time capsule of cheesy erotica that launched an armada of cheesy erotica and it stayed around long enough for its porno kitsch to become sub-culture trendy. The title itself went on to have a life of its own by becoming well understood as a term for a sexual act and an equally recognised reference to anonymous whistleblowers in high places, the latter thanks to All the President's Men, a major work of investigative journalism that also became a hit movie while Deep Throat was still playing in theatres.
So though I'm not exactly raising a glass of fine scotch whiskey and saluting the memory of Gerard Damiano as a contributor to the arts, although I'm sure there are some who will, I think his permanent place in the sub-culture of the late Twentieth Century should not go unrecognised.
"Splendor in the Ass", you got to love it.