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THE BOYS IN THE BAND (1970)


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Right. And he's definitely the cautious conservative type. If he did try to come out, even partially to Michael, it would be kind of twisted because of the guilt and self-loathing it would cause him. 

 

But my understanding of this story and Alan is that he's the "token straight" character here.

I would have loved to hear Peter White's "take" on his character in both the play and the film.

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On 1/22/2016 at 7:19 PM, rayban said:

I would have loved to hear Peter White's "take" on his character in both the play and the film.

Me too. 

By the way, when I was looking up the actor bios-- he is one where it seems difficult to determine if in real life he's gay or straight, because I could find no record of his ever being married (unless I missed something) or in a long-term relationship with a female. Yet, there is no record of him having a male partner (again, unless I am missing something). And he never played gay characters in anything. So he seems to be just as mysterious as Alan.

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Me too. 

 

By the way, when I was looking up the actor bios-- he is one where it seems difficult to determine if in real life he's gay or straight, because I could find no record of his ever being married (unless I missed something) or in a long-term relationship with a female. Yet, there is no record of him having a male partner (again, unless I am missing something). And he never played gay characters in anything. So he seems to be just as mysterious as Alan.

From what I could gather in reading about the play and film over the years, there were only two straight actors in the cast - Cliff Gorman and Laurence Luckinbill and possibly a third, Reuben Greene.

 

How many actually died from Aids: Kenneth Nelson, Leonard Frey, Frederick Combs, Robert LaTourneaux and Keith Prentice, right?

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From what I could gather in reading about the play and film over the years, there were only two straight actors in the cast - Cliff Gorman and Laurence Luckinbill and possibly a third, Reuben Greene.

Interesting. Thanks for sharing. 

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It's horrifying, isn't it. that in such a famous film, "Boys In The Band", five of the male cast members died of the same disease.

Right. It gives us a sense of increased poignancy watching the film years later. 

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  • 4 months later...

I'd love for TCM to air this film.

I second.

 

Yes, having just watched it last night on youtube, I knew that I needed to see it again and again. There were so many zingers that by the time I caught on to one, four more flew by!

 

Further, this film obviously did not receive the recognition due to it in the 70's (by Awards such as Oscars) and surprisingly to me, there is a contingency who think the film to be irrelevant!

 

Many lessons to be learnt from The Boys in the Band, least of which, one ought to know where you came from in order to know where you are going. Homosexuals were treated like pathogens and vilified which seems to be lost on this recent generation.

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  • 3 weeks later...

At the very least, Kenneth Nelson should've gotten an Oscar nomination for Best Actor.

 

His portrayal of Michael is an unforgettable portrait.

All of the lead performances in the film are unforgettable.

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  • 3 years later...

I finally got around to watching this movie. I found a used Blu-ray of it, and bought it because I've heard about it for years, and because I was interested in seeing all of William Friedkin's films. I've heard mixed things about the movie, so was uncertain how I would like it. I ended up being impressed with it on the whole.

It's an invaluable snapshot of a time, with the prevalent attitudes, as well as the fashions and decor.

The acting is superb all around, even the more outrageous camp turns by Gorman and Frey. I can see why Gorman in particular puts off a lot of people, but I've met many guys who acted just like him, and to ignore them would have been disingenuous. Kenneth Nelson was very good, and I agree with whomever said that he deserved an Oscar nod, at least. 

I can understand why some people are put off by the film's negativity, with all of the fighting and cattiness and self-loathing. But it all feels genuine, too, and life does have rough patches, regardless of orientation. This film was one very bad night in the lives of these men. It exposed deep wounds in their inner selves, but don't we all have hang-ups and things in our pasts that we have to deal with, either on occasion or on a daily basis? To depict these characters as all sunshine and laughs and happiness would be a disservice, and obviously not what the writer was going for.

Friedkin's direction was simple, largely unobtrusive, and excellent at enlivening what could have been stagy and claustrophobic. 

Finally, it was frankly devastating to read how many in the cast died of AIDS. I knew that's how Leonard Frey passed, but as I was unaware of the other actors before watching this, I didn't learn of their fates until reading up on the film after watching. I see that Kenneth Nelson appeared in a couple of Clive Barker's films before dying. I've seen those (Hellraiser and Nightbreed) many times, and never realized that such an accomplished actor  was the guy playing such minor roles in those films.

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  • 11 months later...

Finally. I'm really looking forward to this. Based on the cars, it doesn't look like they went for an update. I was wondering if they'd try to fudge the time period a little, but it belongs right where it was originally set, a perfect little time capsule. I'm sure some will judge it by today's evolving standards of acceptable "gayness" but, like it or not, this is gay history. I was just entering gay life as a young adult in 1968 and I recognize these people. Admittedly, my friends weren't all as clever or as smart or as well-to-do as some of these characters (though a notable few eclipsed them), but the relationship dynamics and the modes of expression are familiar, even though my experience had a more "countercultural" cast to it. That would be my one reservation about the play, that other than a few loud shirts and the weed it didn't reflect the new cultural groundswell which was lifting all boats, including the gay ones. But that may be unfair because any play which premiered then must have been years in the making. Anyway, the production appears to be in very good hands and I have the feeling that Mart Crowley's vision will be well represented.

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38 minutes ago, DougieB said:

Finally. I'm really looking forward to this. Based on the cars, it doesn't look like they went for an update. I was wondering if they'd try to fudge the time period a little, but it belongs right where it was originally set, a perfect little time capsule. I'm sure some will judge it by today's evolving standards of acceptable "gayness" but, like it or not, this is gay history. I was just entering gay life as a young adult in 1968 and I recognize these people. Admittedly, my friends weren't all as clever or as smart or as well-to-do as some of these characters (though a notable few eclipsed them), but the relationship dynamics and the modes of expression are familiar, even though my experience had a more "countercultural" cast to it. That would be my one reservation about the play, that other than a few loud shirts and the weed it didn't reflect the new cultural groundswell which was lifting all boats, including the gay ones. But that may be unfair because any play which premiered then must have been years in the making. Anyway, the production appears to be in very good hands and I have the feeling that Mart Crowley's vision will be well represented.

The play has to be a period piece like the great Broadway production which I was lucky to see ( yes I keep saying that but it was a thrilling night in the theater and Matt Bomer is really gorgeous in person)  Yes it's a time capsule of pre Stonewall gay live but some of the themes are timeless- body image, looking for love in all the wrong place, commitment. In another site they said the movie just looks like the original movie not too my eyes. Friedkin is a straight man so his vision was different - I imagine this one will be more open about their sex life.

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I saw the original movie several years ago.  I thought it was well-balanced (funny and sad at the same time).  Reading through the comments, which I found very interesting, I realize my own stereotypes growing up regarding homosexuality, etc.  Stonewall was mentioned (which I only heard of a few years ago, though I knew about Cruising, the bathhouses, and all the early confusion/blame re: AIDS).  Considering the climate re: the LGBTQ community today, I wonder how far some of us have come.

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19 hours ago, jaragon said:

I hope it's as good as the Broadway production...

 

I saw the trailer yesterday.  I had a misunderstanding about this production.  I thought it was going to be a filmed version of the Broadway stage production (like the recent Hamilton on Disney+), but the trailer shows that it's not.

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1 hour ago, DougieB said:

...

.Admittedly, my friends weren't all as clever or as smart or as well-to-do as some of these characters (though a notable few eclipsed them), but the relationship dynamics and the modes of expression are familiar, even though my experience had a more "countercultural" cast to it. That would be my one reservation about the play, that other than a few loud shirts and the weed it didn't reflect the new cultural groundswell which was lifting all boats, including the gay ones. But that may be unfair because any play which premiered then must have been years in the making. 

Some of the characters were in their 30s (the character list in the play has the age ranges from 28 (Bernard, Donald) to 33 (Emory), with Cowboy at 22).  I think it's fairly realistic that the 30-somethings would've missed most of the counter-cultural revolution.   They were mostly well-established upper middle class New Yorkers, ensconced in the establishment, even though they were gay.    

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3 hours ago, txfilmfan said:

I saw the trailer yesterday.  I had a misunderstanding about this production.  I thought it was going to be a filmed version of the Broadway stage production (like the recent Hamilton on Disney+), but the trailer shows that it's not.

Yes it's the Broadway cast but it's a movie not just a video of the play

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3 hours ago, txfilmfan said:

Some of the characters were in their 30s (the character list in the play has the age ranges from 28 (Bernard, Donald) to 33 (Emory), with Cowboy at 22).  I think it's fairly realistic that the 30-somethings would've missed most of the counter-cultural revolution.   They were mostly well-established upper middle class New Yorkers, ensconced in the establishment, even though they were gay.    

Crowley based in on his personal experience  so I imagine these are the upper middle class gays that he knew- well the black guy works in a book store,Emory is now a Latino  Robin de Jesus who gives one of the best performances and the hustler in the youngest.  The characters might be more radicalized later

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7 hours ago, txfilmfan said:

Some of the characters were in their 30s (the character list in the play has the age ranges from 28 (Bernard, Donald) to 33 (Emory), with Cowboy at 22).  I think it's fairly realistic that the 30-somethings would've missed most of the counter-cultural revolution.   They were mostly well-established upper middle class New Yorkers, ensconced in the establishment, even though they were gay.    

You're probably right that 30-somethings may have missed  (or passed on) the "counterculture", especially in a metropolitan setting, and most especially in New York, where daily life pretty much existed in enclaves. I was living at the time in what was (still is) a substantially gay outpost where the offbeat was celebrated, so I may not be one to speak for gay life as a whole. But I do know that the gay men I knew had remarkable antennae for the new and the awesome and that much of what touched our daily lives (music and fashion in particular, but also literature and print media) was heavily influenced by the recent social trend away from "traditional" culture. Granted, I was still a young 'un, but one of the hallmarks of the era was that generations and sexes were freely associating at clubs, bars, and other social spaces, so the 30-ish guys of my acquaintance weren't in any sense isolated from those influences. I'm old and generally out of it now but it's the thing I miss most about gay life: the mixing of the generations. 

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13 minutes ago, DougieB said:

You're probably right that 30-somethings may have missed  (or passed on) the "counterculture", especially in a metropolitan setting, and most especially in New York, where daily life pretty much existed in enclaves. I was living at the time in what was (still is) a substantially gay outpost where the offbeat was celebrated, so I may not be one to speak for gay life as a whole. But I do know that the gay men I knew had remarkable antennae for the new and the awesome and that much of what touched our daily lives (music and fashion in particular, but also literature and print media) was heavily influenced by the recent social trend away from "traditional" culture. Granted, I was still a young 'un, but one of the hallmarks of the era was that generations and sexes were freely associating at clubs, bars, and other social spaces, so the 30-ish guys of my acquaintance weren't in any sense isolated from those influences. I'm old and generally out of it now but it's the thing I miss most about gay life: the mixing of the generations. 

I also think that  Crowley's play is in the Broadway tradition of sophisticated comedy which were often about the upper class. The first act is essentially funny- it only gets mean and nasty in the second act. 

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