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Op-Ed: Nominate 'Deep Throat' for 2014 National Film Registry

Op-Ed: Nominate 'Deep Throat' for 2014 National Film Registry

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Yesterday, the Library of Congress announced the latest batch of 25 motion pictures to be included in its National Film Registry, to "be preserved as cinematic treasures for generations to come."

"The National Film Registry stands among the finest summations of more than a century of extraordinary American cinema," said James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress. "This key component of American cultural history, however, is endangered, so we must protect the nation’s matchless film heritage and cinematic creativity."

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In order to be selected for preservation, the film must be "at least 10 years old and be 'culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant'," according to the National Film Preservation Board's solicitation for input on films to be selected for the Film Registry in 2014.

And to be sure, all of the films chosen for 2013 that we're familiar with fit that description, including Forbidden Planet, which featured the first extensive use of a Theremin and other "electronic tonalities" for its soundtrack, not to mention the seduction of virgin castaway Anne Francis; Gilda, where "director Charles Vidor capitalizes on the voyeuristic and sadomasochistic angles of film noir—and who better to fetishize than Rita Hayworth, poured into a strapless black satin evening gown and elbow-length gloves, sashaying to Put the Blame on Mame"; Pulp Fiction, because Tarantino; Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, because of still-married Taylor & Burton, who "stunned audiences with [their] frank, code-busting language and depictions of middle-class malaise-cum-rage"—and Ella Cinders, starring Colleen Moore, whose "flapper image" and "trendsetting [for 1926] Dutch bob haircut and short skirts" inspired comic artists to create several hardcore "Tijuana bibles" devoted to the character. (Read all of the 2013 choices here.)

The list inspired us to check out the full list of inductees, some of which are 1896's The Kiss, which scandalized audiences by showing a (hetero!) couple kissing; 1909's Princess Nicotine; or, The Smoke Fairy ("lord" knows what that's about!); 1913's Traffic in Souls, about a prostitution ring supported by human trafficking; 1922's Nanook of the North, featuring naked female Eskimos; 1928's The Sex Life of the Polyp (some things we don't want to know); 1933's Baby Face, about Barbara Stanwyck's fucking her way to the top of the corporate ladder in Depression Era NYC; and (moving past anything made under the ultra-censorious Hays Production Code) 1982's Fast Times at Ridgemont High, featuring naked underage characters, one non-hardcore masturbation scene and one non-hardcore sex scene.

For our purposes, there are two main points to be drawn from the Registry's list: 1) At least some of the movies selected deal, in whole or in part, with sexual subjects and/or contain nudity, and 2) despite the tens of thousands of possibilities available to them, there's not a single hardcore movie in the entire list... so we'd like to suggest that the National Film Registry induct the hardcore classic Deep Throat.

First of all, using the Registry's own criteria, 1973's Deep Throat clearly fulfills the "at least 10 years old" requirement; it was released to mainstream theaters nationally, played in Times Square for at least a decade, earned tens of millions in revenue between theatrical releases and home video, and was seen by such cultural luminaries as Roger Ebert, Martin Scorsese, Brian De Palma, Truman Capote, Jack Nicholson, Johnny Carson, Barbara Walters, Doris Day, Warren Beatty, Richard Dreyfuss—and famous defense attorney Alan Dershowitz handled star Harry Reems' appeal of his conviction for obscenity for starring in the movie. How's that for being "culturally significant"?

Not good enough? Okay; how about the fact that FBI agent Mark Felt, when surreptitiously providing valuable information about the Watergate scandal to Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, went by the name of "Deep Throat"? (Guess what? He didn't just pull that name out of the air!) How about the fact that Deep Throat is one of the few movies ever to have a well-received documentary, Inside Deep Throat, made about it, and more recently, a Hollywood biopic of its star, Linda Lovelace? And let's not forget David Bertolino's play, The Deep Throat Sex Scandal, which ran for several months in both New York City and Los Angeles, is on track to become a feature film, and may possibly get a cable TV series based on it. And then there's the recently updated biography by Eric Danville, The Complete Linda Lovelace.

"Deep Throat is probably the only adult feature truly deserving of a spot in the National Film Registry," Danville stated. "Not necessarily for its technical merits, but for the international debates it inspired about sexuality, censorship and obscenity, and like Night of the Living Dead before it, for establishing and legitimizing a film genre—hardcore pornography—as something artistically and commercially viable as well."

Certainly all of that should make the film "culturally and historically significant"! (We won't tackle the movie's aesthetic significance, since it's not necessary and everybody has his/her own tastes in porn.)

Anyway, to nominate Deep Throat to be inducted into the National Film Registry in 2014, click here—and by all means, tell your friends, Facebook it, Tweet it and in general, get the word out: Put Deep Throat into the National Film Registry in 2014!






Related Content:

Arrow Productions
Deep Throat
Inside Deep Throat
Linda Lovelace
Mark Kernes

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