Porn Pulse: HBO's 'The Deuce'

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"The Deuce." Photo courtesy of HBO.

James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal are sensational in HBO's "The Deuce," a new, serialized docudrama about the birth and rise of New York's porn industry, circa 1971-72.

Back then the city's Times Square district was a cesspool of cheap motels, dive bars and adult theaters with jizz stuck to the floors. "The Deuce" recreates this environment so effectively, viewers might be able to smell the stench of steam rising from the sidewalks while the "ladies" peddle their wares.

Franco plays twins Vincent and Frankie who find themselves in debt to the mob for fifty grand--they end up in the porn biz in order to get out of debt. Gyllenhaall co-stars as Candy, a tough-as-nails prostitute with a feminist streak--she has no qualms about telling a young john that this is nothing but a job to her. The poor kid just wants his birthday blowjob.

"The Deuce" is as graphic and as rough as the lives of its characters. Early in the first episode one call girl is seen giving a guy a hand-job in a phone booth--there's a brief shot of his fully erect manhood, one of two such shots seen in the freshman outing.

But "The Deuce" is more than just dick and tit shots. The makers get into the hearts of these lost souls. Viewers will see the terror of "the girls" when they're beaten, or even cut, by abusive pimps. Some of the customers are sad sacks, more interested in company than in sex.

"The Deuce" is disturbing yet fascinating. It might serve as the starting point for a conversation on legalizing sex work so as to protect the workers from the kinds of abuses depicted in the series.

Look for "The Deuce" at 9 p.m. on September 10, HBO. Episodes will also be streamed online and on-demand. Visit www.hbo.com for details.

 

 


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