On April 3, 2002 there was a very serious car accident on a stretch of road just a few miles from my home. Seriously injured in the crash was a woman named Linda Boreman. Sadly, she died of her injuries after being taken off of life support a few weeks later. This story made news across the country because several decades earlier Linda Boreman had been known by a different name…Linda Lovelace. In 1972, Lovelace became notorious for appearing in Deep Throat, but at the time of her death she had left the world of pornography far behind. Her film career was actually not that long. Her final film appearance, which though a bit raunchy is not a porno film, fits in well with our election theme this week. For those looking for another option for this election we give you 1975’s Linda Lovelace for President.
Our story begins at a gathering out in the wilderness of every possible group which does not feel represented by the two major parties in the upcoming presidential election. It’s an odd mix of people, to be sure. We’ve got Black Panther types, some Nazis, homosexuals, a guy who carries around a bag full of candy bars to lure young girls…an eclectic bunch. Anyhow, they can’t decide who should be the candidate to represent all these unrepresented groups. That is until someone has a brilliant suggestion…Linda Lovelace!
Linda accepts their nomination and after getting some advice from her Uncle Sam (who lives in a rest home) she hops aboard a couple of campaign busses (one of which is driven by Monkee Mickey Dolenz) to take her message across the US…on a tour that when mapped out is, of course, phallic shaped. Along the way they make a stop at a rally in a small town, where she gets busy under the stage with a former olympic champ. Later they end up in a town full of hillbillies, where Linda gets busy with a Tarzan type guy living out in the woods. She even gets busy with a preacher at a tent meeting (played by Vaughn Meader, famous from the First Family comedy album). There’s a lot of gettin’ busy in this film. Eventually, though Linda’s campaign is proving so successful that the mainstream candidates are becoming a bit nervous. So, they bring in a guy called the Assasinator (Chuck McCann) to eliminate the threat.
This is a strange movie. Maybe it’s because Mickey Dolenz plays the bus driver, but there were many moments where this film felt a bit like an episode of The Monkees where the music has been replaced with lots of nudity and inappropriate humor. It just has that same type of goofiness. As I did more research I learned that the director, Claudio Guzman, spent a lot of time on classic television series’, as did produced David Winters, who got his first directing gig on The Monkees and was also dating the lovely Miss Lovelace at the time this film was made. So I think it’s fair to say that the film has that weird late 60’s / early 70’s TV vibe to it…but with boobs.
The film does have many moments that go beyond bad taste. Heck, the opening frame of the film proclaims “This picture is intended to offend everybody…regardless of race – creed – or color” over the image of the naked Miss Lovelace standing Patton-style in front of an American flag. That statement is almost too much of an easy out for the film, though. I mean, the stereotypes surrounding race and sexual orientation in this film are nothing new. We’ve seen them in many other films from this era. But gags about middle aged men offering candy to girl scout troops should’ve never made it from the napkin they were probably scribbled on to the final script.
I will say that Lovelace herself, though not exactly a nuanced actress, is an appealing screen presence…and we’re not just talking about looks here. There’s no denying her charisma. Had the filmmakers put a bit more faith in that we might have gotten a goofy yet fairly serviceable comedy. The over reliance, though, on double entendre and questionable humor makes Linda Lovelace for President not a very viable third party option.