Friday, October 31, 2008

'Band' Fags



I must admit, I've never seen "The Boys in the Band." Even though I've been out for more than half of my life, part of me remains almost afraid to, worried about what my parents and people of that generation were (possibly) exposed to as a representation of "gay life" nearly 40 years ago. (Observing my stepfather watch that horrendous show "Brothers" on Showtime back in the '80s was trying enough -- and Jodie Dallas before that.) If the film's original trailer is any indication -- "I'll be your topless cocktail waitress!" -- it seems like I had ample reason to worry, although you gotta love HER and HER. But with word of an upcoming restored DVD release, it's probably time I face my fears. I must say the plot does sound rather fun -- and the fact that the producers had the guy who did the voiceover on the original trailer go out of his way to announce that IT'S NOT A MUSICAL is almost reason enough to cough up $19.99!


Based on his own landmark play, Mart Crowley’s humorous and heartbreaking 1970 cult-classic "THE BOYS IN THE BAND" follows a group of gay male friends as they come together in a New York City apartment for a birthday party. When an unexpected guest arrives and the truth begins to flow as freely as the cocktails, it leads to a sometimes vulgar but ultimately open and honest dissection of their lives and relationships. " THE BOYS IN THE BAND," directed by Academy Award winner William Friedkin ("The French Connection," "The Exorcist"), stars Kenneth Nelson, Peter White, Laurence Luckinbill, Leonard Frey and Cliff Gorman, all of whom originated their roles in the 1968 off-Broadway stage production 40 years ago. The movie was painstakingly restored for DVD under Friedkin’s direction, using a unique color correction process that he created, and was remixed in Stereo sound.

All-new bonus features include documentaries about the creation of the groundbreaking play, the making and release of the controversial film and the enduring power of both the stage and screen versions, as well as interviews with director Friedkin, playwright/screenwriter Crowley, Executive Producer Dominick Dunne (best-selling author and contributor to “Vanity Fair”), Pulitzer Prize winning writer Tony Kushner (Angels in America, Munich) and cast members Peter White and Laurence Luckinbill.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

it's actually quite painful to watch in certain parts and i think the self-loathing imposed upon us is still quite evident in our collective make up. (MAKE up!) but the lines are TIMEless and you must memorize this film. "If we could only learn to hate ourselves not quite so much."

mrpeenee said...

Nononononono, stop while you still can. Not because it is a bucket of self-loathing slime, but because it's terrible. The script has the subtlety of Fox News, the acting is a notch below As the World Turns. Regardless of the queer content, it's painful to watch.

Mikey said...

It's a fascinating look at a time and culture that, for the most part, is gone. Tho parts of it still remain strong. If you watch it strictly as a period piece, you can overlook the self-loathing. I'd recommend a marathon of that, then Torch Song trilogy and then Love Valour Compassion to see how we've written about ourselves for the Broadway stage over the last few decades. Very enlightening and empowering.

Danny in WeHo said...

Be afraid. Be very afraid.
This movie is hard to take. The character "Emory" becomes very grating, very quickly. This is a gathering of self-hating homos doing and saying awful things to each other. That said, it's easier to take if you look at it with eyes of the time... it's pretty bold and it's interesting that the movie goes in the opposite direction of making the gay characters sypathetic... it's got a ballsy way of letting the queens be bitches.

Richard Wall said...

Girlfriend, you must turn in your card. This movie is GOSPEL. Please get it. Richard

Anonymous said...

All of the above (er..below) are true:
It is horrible.
It is dated.
It is, sometimes, painful.
And yes, in its own special way, it is gospel.

You should get it. As someone with a wonderful blog, and sense of gay style, you should see this piece if only so that you may more fully understand the references that are made to it, even now to this day. You might love it. You probably won't. But you'll most certainly have a deeper understanding of the gay experience in the media, from having seen it.

Many of us have a Will and a Grace in our lives, and a Jack and a Karen. Each of those characters represents some piece of gay life, certainly some more than others. In that same respect, Harold and Emory, and Michael (etc.) represented *a part* of who we are/were in the sixties.

And for grrrrlfriend's sakes, Mary, it's only 20 bucks. Puh-leeeeese! Get it!

You said...

As dated as the boys I've already gone out with in this city... ;-)

Anonymous said...

A few years back I read an article about this film. The author had watched it with a 20-something friend. The younger man said it was painful to watch, not because it was dated or full of self-loathing, but because, to him, it showed how LITTLE much of gay life had changed!

Yes, it's a period piece and it's not the most subtle piece of filmmaking, but it has its moments. Harold's last speech is priceless...it alone is worth price. Every gay man should see it once.

Richard Wall said...

When this movie came out, you'll pardon the expression, straight people knew very, very little about the gay life. And they swarmed to the play and to the movie just to find out about us. I think the movie/play did a lot to soften people's hatred.

It's a great piece of theatre with a colossal ending. One of the fascinating pieces of trivia, Gorman who plays the biggest queen in the film (Emory)is a great straight actor.

Every gay man should watch this film to learn how far we've come since 1969 and Stonewall.

Anonymous said...

The words painful to watch that many here have used is true. As someone who came out in 1981 (at 18), I'm just old enough to have seen the tail end of that period in gay culture. I wish it wasn't as accurate a reflection of its times as it is, but I'd recommend watching it. I think it's important to remember what the gay guys at the time had to break out of. But they did it.

Chris Strobel (sorry -- no time to create an account. I'm off to Virginia to do GOTV work for Obama.)

NY Bob said...

I saw the play when it opened, later the movie. Yes it made me uncomfortable. It was amazing in its day. Yes some things have gotten better, but we have also lost a lot. I can't imagine a Gay person today growing up in the age of Aids. You should see it for what it was and is, the same with "Cruising" and "The Children's Hour". For laughs rent "The Five Thousand Fingers of Dr. T".

David said...

I saw the film years ago on video, and it is horrible, self-loathing and terribly acted. BUT it does have a place in our gay life.

It's an interesting culture piece locked in time. I think all gay men should see it, but not all gay men should own (or agree with) it.

Cam said...

This film made me feel SAD for the men represented in it. Just as I felt for the men in, "PARIS IS BURNING." My eyes always water and my heart always drops when I hear people deliberately saying unkind words to each other. This film is FILLED with such instances. After watching it, I hope its viewer feels what I felt: that I will try my damnedest to NEVER say unkind words to people again. NEVER!

J. Clarence said...

I'm looking forward to getting the DVD when it comes out. While I have heard that the acting is not Oscar worthy, it cannot be much better than the bulk of gay films out now, i.e. Another Gay Movie. The movie seems to be an important part of gay media history, so with that alone I can give up the time to watch it.

Anonymous said...

Painful to watch indeed. Makes you want to slit your wrists.

Chuck

Steve said...

It's not a particularly good movie, but whether we like it or not, it's a cultural landmark. I haven't seen it in decades, but I think it's definitely worth watching, if only to see how far we've come. (In fact, it's time for me to rent it again.)

Brent said...

I saw this when I was a kid and it depressed the fuck out of me. I wonder if I'd have come out sooner if I hadn't been exposed to this self-loathing tripe growing up.

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