Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Curious History of Deep Throat

Interesting timing that the documentary Inside Deep Throat came out the same year Mark Felt identified himself as "Deep Throat" in the Watergate investigation.  That had been the case with the movie and his moniker in 1972.  I suppose the guys at the Washington Post meant it as a joke, but the name became ingrained in American culture.


Funny enough, it was Nixon's "War on Smut" that made the movie Deep Throat a huge hit in 1972, grossing over $1 million in its initial seven weeks, before the porn film started getting yanked from theaters across the country.  The movie has pulled in an estimated $600 million in the four decades since  Not bad for a $50,000 budget.

Mark Felt revealed his identity in a 2005 article for Vanity Fair.  Woodward had kept in touch with his source over the years, but it was John D. O'Connor who finally got him to reveal his identity.  Felt was 91 at the time, so I guess he felt there was no reason to hide it any longer.

Woodward and Bernstein were the ones to bring Nixon down, unraveling the Watergate break-in that ultimately led to his resignation two years later.  You look back on it and you wonder how it took so long to reveal the caper.  You also wonder why Nixon felt so threatened by McGovern's candidacy given the mess the Democratic National Convention turned into.  By this point, it seemed Nixon was so paranoid that he wasn't taking any chances.

John Dean reveals in his segment on The Colbert Report that Nixon wasn't aware of the break-in until afterward, although he didn't feel it excused his former boss.  He went onto say Nixon wanted his "plumbers" (a.k.a CREEP) to break into the Brookings Institute to take back the Pentagon Papers on the origins of the Vietnam War.  Apparently, the plumbers took it upon themselves to  ransack the Watergate Hotel to find any "evidence" that McGovern was taking foreign money from Castro and other dubious sources that they could use against him in the election.  G. Gordon Liddy was the one who orchestrated this ill-fated caper.  The extent of the operation grew when Nixon decided to bug the DNC headquarters.


Felt found out about these operations, because Nixon initially pursued the FBI to do the dirty work for him.  Instead, he slowly leaked the information to Woodward, who used an interesting method of setting up meetings with Felt by moving a flower pot on the balcony of his DC apartment.  The meetings would then take place in an underground parking garage, which presumably would make it difficult to monitor.  All this became the fodder for the movie in 1976, which was based on Woodward's book, All the President's Men.  Woodward was recast as Robert Redford.

By this point, Linda Lovelace's movie career had pretty much ground to a halt.  She did a sequel to Deep Throat in 1974, but it isn't as well remembered as her fist film.  Micky Dolenz (of the Monkees) teamed up with her in Linda Lovelace for President in 1976, which played on every racial stereotype you can imagine, but it is a forgotten film as well.

By 1980, she had joined "Women Against Pornography," led by Gloria Steinem and other leading feminists, and in 1986 published her memoirs, Out of Bondage, which told of her lurid life in the porn industry.  She would also testify before the Attorney General's Commission on Organized Crime that same year, in regard to porn and snuff films being bankrolled by the mafia.  Edwin Meese was the AG at the time.

In 2013, Lovelace hit the screens with a nubile Amanda Seyfried in the title role, generating mild controversy. It's production values far outstripped the movie that launched Linda Boreman, but it failed to generate anywhere near the same enthusiasm at the box office.

As for Mark Felt, he got into some trouble in 1980, when he was convicted of ordering the illegal search of the homes of members of the Weather Underground Association (a.k.a. the Weathermen) but was subsequently pardoned by Reagan.  John O'Connor helped Felt put together his final epitaph, A G-Man's Life, which was published in 2012.


No comments:

Post a Comment