An interesting little documentary which explores the mythology surrounding one of the most famous porn films of all time. Even as a very small child, the title Debbie Does Dallas was common knowledge and in fact I would go so far as to say that it is not simply a film title anymore. Now it has taken on a larger form and could be considered a famous phrase that maybe one day we will see on The Wheel of Fortune board.
What also made Debbie Does Dallas such an eminent hardcore film is the fact that it was one of the first films to ever be distributed on VHS which made it an essential item for bachelor parties and pretty much every guy get together. This documentary explores much more than just the obvious facts regarding the film. Instead, the filmmakers attempt to track down as many people involved with the film and the scandal as they can locate and explore life after “Debbie did Dallas.”
Firstly, Debbie Does Dallas was funded with mob money. Mickey Zaffarano was the financier who owned a chain of porn theatres and was the money man for the film. Secondly, following the release of the film, there was a lawsuit filed against the makers of Debbie Does Dallas by The Dallas Cheerleaders. These two elements combined put Debbie Does Dallas and all involved under the microscope of the FBI which launched an operation called “MiPorn.” The mob realized how much money could be made in the porn business so they infiltrated the industry which was at that time illegal. This started a scandal which saw FBI Agent Pat Livingstone go undercover to penetrate the mob in the porn business, more specifically to get closer to Mickey Saffarano.
Following the arrests and indictments, Bambi Woods (who played Debbie) had mysteriously disappeared without a trace sometime in the mid eighties. There are rumors that she died of an overdose and other rumors suggest she may be still alive and living in reclusion. Interestingly, the filmmakers set out to find her by hiring a private detective by the name of Dan Hanks which is a pursuit that is hampered by the fact that she never used her real name.
Debbie Does Dallas Uncovered features many great interviews, particularly with the three male stars of the film, Herschel Savage, Eric Edwards and R. Bolla. After talking with them about their involvement in the film, the documentary then focuses on the lives of these three men after a very long career in porno. Savage is still partially involved, Edwards now only edits and left the performing side of things to raise his two sons on his own and probably the most broken of the three R. Bolla is living a life of regret. R. Bolla (real name Robert Kerman) began as a legitimate actor and while performing in porn films was performing in mainstream simultaneously with roles in such films as Oscar winning film The Goodbye Girl, Cannibal Holocaust and No Way Out. Bolla left the porn industry to concentrate on his mainstream pursuit but once agents got wind of his porno past he was cast out. Talk show host Robin Byrd was the only female cast member of Debbie Does Dallas who said yes to being interviewed, the others did not want to acknowledge their past involvement in porn.
The subject of this documentary is right up my alley. I mean look at all of the elements in this story – you have porn, the mob, an undercover agent, scandals and lawsuits, indictments, a disappearance and the aftermath. All of these thrown together are a recipe for a great documentary; however the short running time did not compliment such subjects and also it makes it hard to tell an accurate story if many involved refuse to be interviewed, are deceased or cannot be found. It puts holes in a documentary that should flow. When there is no more ground to be covered regarding Debbie Does Dallas due to lack of participation, the film shifts gears and moves into the lives of three of its male stars and to a larger extent the effects working as a porno performer has on the majority of the performers, psychologically.
Debbie Does Dallas had directly or indirectly affected many involved with either the film or the scandal surrounding it. It bares a lot of weight considering it is a low-budget hardcore spoof that never took itself seriously.
The main strength of this documentary is raw truth as it is one big reality check. The reality behind mythology and the path of destruction that derived from Debbie doing Dallas.