The Boys in the Band (1970) torrent download

The Boys in the Band

1970

Action / Comedy / Drama

7.6

Synopsis

It's Harold's birthday, and his closest friends throw him a party at Michael's apartment. Among Harold's presents is "Cowboy", since Harold may have trouble finding a cute young man on his own now that he's getting older. As the party progresses the self-deprecating humor of the group takes a nasty turn as the men become drunker. Climaxed by a cruel telephone "game" where each man must call someone and tell him (or her?) of his love for them.

Director

William Friedkin

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by rrb 7 /10

"King of the Pig People!"

I suppose all gay men must have a reaction to BITB one way or another. It must be respected for being incredibly daring when it came out: the first play to focus exclusively on gay characters and show us as average men with basically normal lives. (As late as the 60s few plays, & far fewer films, even acknowledged gays existed; those that did used gays as symbols of abasement or decadence. 'Different from the Others'-1919 and 'Victim'-1961 were isolated exceptions.) The sexually frank dialog was also a groundbreaker. A gay friend who saw the original stage production remembers being astonished by Harold's line, 'Your lips are turning blue. You look like you've been rimming a snowman!' Crowley wins laurels for being the first playwright to present our community without apology.

That said, I admit I found the film dated when I first saw it in the 80s, when I was in my 20s. Watching it now, I have a different reaction. For one thing, I adore the brilliant dialog. What an inspiration to write a comedy of manners set in the archly mannered world of New York gays! There hasn't been a screenplay with this many epigrams per inch since 'All About Eve.'

The first act is funny and marvelous. The second act teeters into melodrama, stealing the device of all-night boozing and humiliating party games to 'strip characters bare' from 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' Michael, the host and game emcee, is such a bitch that we can't feel sympathy when Harold confronts and effectively destroys him. Kenneth Nelson's performance as Michael doesn't help: it's like an acting class exercise, all shrieking and hysterics.

While the ensemble as a whole is strong, Leonard Frey's brilliant, definitive Harold enables him to walk off with the film. The straight Cliff Gorman does fine work as the flaming, ultimately touching Emory; Keith Prentice is very good as the one well-adjusted party goer, the happy sensualist Larry; and Reuben Greene and Frederick Combs make the best of underwritten characters (Combs get lots of chances to show his rear end to great advantage, including a gratuitous nude shot).

Besides good acting, the film has other points to recommend it. The film's 'opening up' of the play is never intrusive or contrived. Friedkin's camera never seems trapped, though almost the entire picture is shot in one apartment, and he keeps the story moving swiftly along. And Crowley shows courage in leaving the question of Alan's sexuality somewhat ambiguous, despite his affirming his wife as the person he truly loves, thereby rejecting Michael as a gay man and precipitating his collapse.

The themes of love, truth, self-loathing, friendship and relationships speak to audiences gay & straight. They are dealt with in a well made film and a script crafted with wit and humor. While the 'if we could just not hate ourselves so much' viewpoint does date the movie, it has more skill and substance than 75% of the films on the market-and (I agree with other posters) 99% of the 'gay' films out there now.

Reviewed by joconnell N/A

Not as dated as it is supposed to be...

I know I'm walking into a minefield by writing this, but here goes:

To begin with, I should say that I was born one month before the Stonewall riots and, of course, entirely missed the era this movie portrays. I have read countless reviews insisting that this is a dated film, and a time capsule of a long gone age of self-loathing. But, speaking as a single gay man living in Manhattan now, all I could think was that this movie hits closer to home than a lot of folks would like to admit. For every character in the movie, I could think of at least one acquaintance of mine of my age who could easily step into those shoes. I have met numerous "Michaels" who shrug responsibility, live off credit cards and (try to) drown their insecurity in endless parties; Walk into any bar in Chelsea and you'll see at least a dozen snide, contemptuous "Harolds" skulking around radiating disdain for everyone around them; and let's not get started on the legions of airhead pretty boy "Cowboys" out there!

This is not to say that all the gay men I know are like this. I certainly don't share the P.O.V. of Michael, Harold, etc. In fact, I know just as many well-adjusted, happy and likeable gay guys, and I'd bet money there were similar folks like that in 1968, when the original play came out (no pun intended). But it seems very p.c. to write this movie off as a history lesson and I can't. The whole tone of the movie, the suppressed anxiety the characters feel about themselves, and the bitterness they feel towards each other, the resentment the gay men feel for the (possibly) straight guy, and above all the need for the characters to bury their self-esteem problems by getting drunk and partying with abandon happens too often among people I know to dismiss as long ago and far away.

Reviewed by laffinsal N/A

Solid

Upon first viewing this film, about a year ago (having wanted to see it for some time), I thought it was not only very depressing, but also painfully dated. A group of gay men get together for a birthday, and an unexpected (presumably straight) guest shows up, igniting hostility amongst the others. The fashions, viewpoints and technical delivery all seemed a wee bit stagnant.

Having recently rewatched this film, I can say that my opinion of it has changed considerably. Though the look of the film, is indeed characteristic of the time period, and the fashions are also passe, the characters are anything but obsolete. These people and their bitter mentalities continue to exist today, both in and out of the "gay community". In some ways this movie does play like a gay version of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?", with it's host turning the unassuming party into a game of "get the guests" (to use a phrase from VW). The script by Mart Crowley is sharp with stinging one-liners and thoughtful observations. There are some high comic moments in this film, but the latter half of it mellows down and keeps the level low, for the most part. The clausterphobic sets also add to the proceedings.

Kenneth Nelson, as the ringleader, Michael, is vibrant and really over-the-top almost. He is met in his venomousness by Leonard Frey as Harold. While it's amusing to watch them going at each other's throats, I feel that Larry Luckinbill and Keith Prentice are the more interesting of the actors, playing a couple, each of whom is very different from the other. Cliff Gorman is wild as the flamboyant Emory...his is probably the most stereotyped character of the lot, but he plays it with a good degree of dimension and sincerity, different then some of the lispy one-dimensional gay stereotypes seen in films up to that time. The other actors are also in good form, but I felt that Peter White's Alan, is a bit of a nuisance. I guess his dead-pan expressions, and generally confused look was needed for the part.

If you're a fan of "gay film", I would seek this one out as required viewing. It ranks high in my Top Five for that genre. A very solid piece of film making, and acting especially. Hardly as dated as it may seem.

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