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Watch: Paul Thomas Anderson Talks Porn Doc & 'Boogie Nights' Inspiration 'Exhausted: John C. Holmes, The Real Story'

The Playlist By Charlie Schmidlin | The Playlist March 27, 2013 at 9:20AM

Direct influences have always factored heavily in Paul Thomas Anderson's work: the Robert Altman tag has dogged him until recently, while Upton Sinclair's “Oil!” and “Treasure of the Sierra Madre” provided the main groundwork for “There Will Be Blood.” Before that 2007 film though, the director's 1997 “Boogie Nights” drew on a documentary about porn star John Holmes, which -- thanks to some extensive legwork -- has found its way back online for a second viewing.
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Paul Thomas Anderson Boogie Nights

Direct influences have always factored heavily in Paul Thomas Anderson's work: the Robert Altman tag has dogged him until recently, while Upton Sinclair's “Oil!” and “Treasure of the Sierra Madre” provided the main groundwork for “There Will Be Blood.” Before that 2007 film though, the director's 1997 “Boogie Nights” drew on a documentary about porn star John Holmes, which -- thanks to some extensive legwork -- has found its way back online for a second viewing.

First appearing in excerpts on the Criterion “Boogie Nights” Laserdisc almost 15 years ago, the documentary “Exhausted: John C. Holmes, The Real Story” provided PTA's first and lasting impression to the strange combination of sadness, sex, and wealth in the '70s porn scene. On the Laserdisc, Anderson recorded a commentary for the documentary, calling it “a major influence for 'Boogie Nights,' “ and then proceeded to point out the various period and character details that he would later port over for his first film effort made in high school, “The Dirk Diggler Story,” later to become his Mark Walhberg-starring stunner.

The 'Exhausted' feature was left off subsequent DVD releases, but now a godsend of a YouTube user has uploaded the entire doc in four parts, while also cutting the naughty bits out with a title card to ensure the clips be SFW. Check them out below, and enjoy PTA's wellspring of knowledge mixed with his attempts to convey why he finds the subject of porn so humorous and miserable at the same time. [Cigarettes and Red Vines]

This article is related to: Paul Thomas Anderson, Boogie Nights


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