The People vs Larry Flynt – Cinema Junkies
In the mid sixties, there was a man who dared challenge every law about freedom of speech, which caused him a lot of problems through his life. But his eagerness, success, fame, and money made him one of the 50 most powerful men in porn. I am talking about Larry Claxton Flynt Jr., better known as Larry Flynt, founder of Hustler, the first porn magazine.
In 1996, Milos Forman (‘Amadeus’, ‘One flew over the cuckoo’s nest’) directed ‘The people vs. Larry Flynt’, a wonderful film produced by Oliver Stone and with Woody Harrelson in its main role, along with Courtney Love, Edward Norton and Crispin Glover. The film tells the story of the tycoon and won many best actor, director and film awards. Flynt himself made a cameo as a judge in one of the many trials depicted in the film.
Being such a a peculiar character and so important in the history of porn, we shall give some background of his life and film, which we strongly recommend.
Larry lived in poverty for years due to his divorced parents, stumbling from one place to the other not knowing what to do with his life. Eventually, he decided to get a fake ID and entered the navy when he was 16 and made a lot of money. He was caught and kicked out but he was wise enough to stay on his feet and bought the Dayton, his mother’s bar, and turned it into a showgirls bar.
He was lucky and along with his brother they ran the club for years. Suddenly Larry wanted more and wanted his club to be more widely known, so he made some brochures to advertise it. Since he couldn’t just publish naked pictures of his girls, he came up with the idea of making a magazine similar to Playboy but with his girls and sell it in newsstands. Without his brother’s consent, he started doing it and he tripled the profits, he threw parties and started fucking around with many women, until Althea (Kurt Cobain’s widow Courtney Love in the film) showed up.
Althea was a 17-year-old girl with a terrible past, who had seen her father murdering her mother and who had to escape from the orphanage where the nuns where sexually harassing her. Althea was lloking for a job and wound up being Larry’s wife. Together, they ran Hustler.
In a photo shoot, Larry thought about push it further and added sex scenes to the magazine. At the beginning, newsstand owners refused to sell his magazine to avoid problems with their regular customers, but when they realised how successful the mag was, they got on the wagon.
Once Larry realised the success of the magazine he came up with kinky photo shoots and illustrations, such as Santa Claus fucking a black girl or two women having sex on an American flag. The provocation was such, that conservative associations and the authorities went after him. The Church, as expected, stuck its nose in and tried to close the publishing house and its fanatic celebrities and spokesmen started with meetings and televised debates to warn people about pornography and the evil that was threatening the god-fearing american people, using a tucky speech that didn’t even fit the teachings of the church itself.
An incensed Larry answered to the attacks parodying Campari in a sketch about minister Jerry Falwell losing his virginity to his own mother in one of the magazines. The minister sued him and Larry went to jail.
Due to this lawsuit, Larry appealed to the Supreme Court, because he didn’t find fair that law favoured some institutions or ways of thinking, challenging the value of the right of freedom of speech of which US was so proud. In his own words: “I’m only guilty of having bad taste”. Therefore, and by surprise, he won the appeal and that meant a huge change in freedom of press. If pornography is more accessible nowadays is probably thanks to Larry Flynt.
During his life he had to medicate himself heavily to get rid of the pain caused for being handicapped and that’s why Althea acquired a drug problem.
Larry was a tough guy, loaded, who won’t be stopped, so he started to make a more pornographic magazine with gift videos and posters for the subscribers. But a new tragedy hit him when Althea was diagnosed with AIDS and ended up drowning in the bathtub ot the couple’s house in Bel-Air.
After the tragedy, Larry kept publishing the magazine. Years passed and Porn became more and more common and people more open-minded. Larry is still active but not as successful because of the Internet, which has damaged printed publications.
After having himself so many problems with the authorities, Larry works to prove that nobody is a saint. From time to time he leaks some corruption cases and doesn’t hesitate about publishing any of them in his magazine. He even offers huge rewards to people who might be willing to tell a sex encounter with any politician.
Nowadays he keeps telling some old stories about his problems with justice… A man that deserves admiration. Long live Larry Flynt!