BluRay/DVD Reviews

MIDNIGHT BLUE VOL. 1: DEEP THROAT EDITION

By • Jun 28th, 2005 •

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(Blue Underground)
122 mins / Not Rated / 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio

Al Goldstein, the former editor of Screw Magazine, and host of his Midnight Blue late night public access channel sex-oriented show, is making the remaining 3/4 inch video tape copies of the TV airings available, and Blue Underground is packaging them according to theme. The opening installment, culled from 1974-87 episodes, represents the controversy surrounding the release of the first publicly sanctioned porno film in US history – DEEP THROAT. It caused a massive sensation, earned hundreds of millions, altered the laws and viewing options of the country, and spawned an industry which was at first mob controlled, and later home-video controlled (and less creative).

The most substantial interview on the DVD is with a trim, Burt Reynolds-like Harry Reems. He’s sharp, well-informed, volleys well with Goldstein, and demonstrates a charm which might have gotten him somewhere in the mainstream industry had his blue movie taint not sabotaged his attempts at a crossover career. His section is engaging to watch and enlightening about the industry and the times in which DEEP THROAT was made. I wasn’t aware, for instance, that the original cut of the film was shorter than an hour, and that they found pre-existing footage of Linda Lovelace as a nurse and cut it in to enable the film to reach feature length.

Blue Underground’s intrepid editorial staff has peppered the interviews with on-screen bottom-third asides about the interviewees pasts, futures, wives, jail sentences, real names, offspring (Carol Conners is the mother of Thora [GHOST WORLD] Birch), etc. There is a wry bent to many of these titled additions, and they enliven the proceedings just enough to carry us past the inarticulate or redundant moments. This is a far better, and more collectible, disc than might seem apparent on seeing the caricatures on the cover art. I now suspect that the series will, under Blue Underground’s supervision, yield several more worthy gems.

An aside from your editor that ends up applying: I worked on the first Academy Award campaign for a porno film – Damiano’s MEMORIES WITHIN MISS AGGIE, back in ‘74. Hired by Great Scott PR firm, I contacted all the East Coast Academy members and arranged a screening of the film. I remember begging 80+ year old cinematographer Boris Kaufman (AA for Best B&W Cinematography for ON THE WATERFRONT) and his wife not to come. And I fondly remember Tony Randall arriving for the screening with his coat pulled up over his head. The film was unappealing and pretentious, and the sex looked vile the way it was photographed. I wished they’d given me something I felt more passionate about, as I have about a number of porno films over the years.

The weakest aspect of the DVD is its two supplemental interview segments, taped in 1974 with Reems and Damiano. I feel remiss saying this, since I’m the culprit. It was during the Academy Award campaign that I arranged these taped interviews, which aired on my radio show on WVOX. I’m saddened at the faded audio quality, which is worse than the degraded quality of the 3/4 inch tape sources for the main program. I never listened to the transfers from the original tapes that I had made, and I should do that from now on, to see if they’ve been reproduced accurately. Nonetheless the material is good. Reems – real name Herbie Striker – was from my hometown of Harrison, New York, and I knew his younger brother fairly well.

DOUBLE BILL: There have been some noteworthy porno films over the years, and this might be the opportunity to spring one on a gathering, once they’ve been softened up.
Consider VCA’s THE OZPORNS, or VCA’s MISTY BEETHOVEN: THE MUSICAL. They’re both hardcore, but funny, and fun.


Cast: Al Goldstein, Harry Reems, Carol Conners, Gerard Damiano, Chuck Traynor.

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