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1 review

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Movie Details

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Directed By
William Friedkin

Cliff Gorman, Laurence Luckinbill, Leonard Frey, Frederick Combs, Kenneth Nelson

Buy on DVD
The Boys in the Band (1970)
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Movie Review by Jessica Film Junkie
July 4th, 2007

Way Ahead Of Its Time

What an amazing and groundbreaking film.

Based on the play of the same name, it takes place during a birthday party for one of many homosexual New York men. Though they constantly refer to themselves as 'fairies', 'f*gs' and 'queens' most of them could easily "pass" for straight. These are middle-upper class gentlemen who happen to be gay. They are at times b*tchy, extravagent and bitter, but you can see the love hidden underneath their scathing words.

Michael (Kenneth Nelson) is the host of the party. He is a bundle or neurosis, paranoia and resentment for who he is. Though he is out to many, that does not include his college roommate, Alan (Peter White), who pops up for a visit on the night of this fiesta and discovers the truth about his old friend.

The party really gets a-buzzing, however, when Harold (Leonard Frey) turns up. He is an elegant mess of a queen past her prime. Every sarcastic comment would make Bette Davis jealous and it is all spoken from behind a daze of booze and pills. Harold is the epitome of a beautiful disaster and because it is his birthday, the action all centres around him while also having very little to do with him.

This one night reveals the tenderness in certain the relationships and the lies others have been constructed on. I don't know how to take the ending, in that we never really understand Alan's motives and why Michael leaves to attend church. We are left wondering if the events of that evening really had lasting affect on anyone other than us, the audience.

However the one thing I know for certain is that this film is still ahead of its time. It doesn't flaunt homosexuality brazenly, or treat it like a freak show, these men are people, complex, f*cked up and proud, even if they don't know it.

And no, it is not a musical.

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