The Boys in the Band


Action / Comedy / Drama

Plot summary

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Leonard Frey Photo
Leonard Frey as Harold
Maud Adams Photo
Maud Adams as Photo Model
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864.69 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 58 min
P/S 0 / 2
1.84 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 58 min
P/S 0 / 4

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by hokeybutt8 / 10

Great 70s Stage Play Stands The Test of Time

THE BOYS IN THE BAND (4 outta 5 stars) Great movie adaptation of the acclaimed stage play. A bunch of guys get together to throw a birthday party for a friend. A few underlying tensions come to the forefront and complications ensue... alcohol is consumed and tempers flare and things get said which shouldn't be said and may be unforgivable. I love these kids of movies! Even though the movie is very "stagy" (it mainly takes place on one set),the acting is so natural that you'll begin to believe you are actually eavesdropping on a rowdy party next door. Oh, did I mention that the characters are all gay? As the ads for this movie proclaim: "This is NOT a musical!" I first saw this on the late show when I was in my early teens and now, some thirty years later, I still find the movie extremely powerful and compelling. Cliff Gorman is especially good as the effeminate Emory. I think this is the only time he ever played "camp" and can't believe that he wasn't totally typecast after his performance here. Leonard Frey is also great as the enigmatic and intense Harold (the birthday boy). But Kenneth Nelson in the lead role of Michael really holds this movie together. He starts out as such a nice guy, the person the audience is supposed to identify with... but as the evening commences his personality becomes uglier and uglier, until he is no longer playing the movie's "hero".

Reviewed by bkoganbing10 / 10

"If We Only Didn't Hate Each Other So Much"

Back when Mart Crowley was going to college he must have been seriously influenced by Eugene O'Neill because it's only O'Neill who could consistently take plot less situations and create such interesting and fascinating characters to entertain an audience. The fact that Mart Crowley never came close to doing anything else as good as The Boys In The Band is no reflection on him, even O'Neill didn't always create a literary masterpiece.

If Eugene O'Neill were a gay man, The Iceman Cometh might have been written from a gay point of view. Because that's what I think The Boys In The Band is, a gay Iceman Cometh written from the BSY (Before Stonewall Years). The play ran 1001 performances off-Broadway during 1968-1970. Of course by that time the Stonewall Rebellion had taken place and the lot in life assigned to the Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgendered Community was no longer the only and lonely way to go. In a sense a year after Stonewall, the film version of The Boys In The Band was already outdated.

But what Mart Crowley has done is forever given us an indelible impression of what gay life was like from the male perspective before Stonewall. And the film was nicely transferred to the cinema with the entire off Broadway cast in the eight roles.

A quick look at Mart Crowley's biography and you'll readily see that he's written himself in as the host, Michael played by Kenneth Nelson, is throwing a a birthday party for Leonard Frey who is the last of the characters to make an entrance. At the same time an old college friend played by Peter White calls Nelson and is sounding very troubled and wants to come over. Nelson has never come out to him, in fact coming out to anyone was a radical concept in 1968.

When White does show up at the birthday party and sees a cross section of gay male Americana in 1968, it's quite the shock for him. He didn't know that Nelson was and hung out with such folks as Cliff Gorman, Keith Prentice, Laurence Luckinbill, Reuben Greene, Frederick Combs, and Robert LaTourneaux. It blows his mind and such things still blow the mind of many sheltered straights even in this day and age.

What Crowley was trying to convey was the anger he felt as a gay man being forced to live as he did. All that was missing here was a reenactment of a bar raid and it was in fact mentioned during the course of the film. The anger and the powerful self hate that is still a factor in our lives, reinforced by society that exploded in the Stonewall Rebellion soon to come.

What I think a straight audience might find most amazing is that of all the characters, the gay cowboy hustler that Cliff Gorman buys for Leonard Frey seems the most well adjusted, despite the fact the others just dump all over him intellectually. Oh, they all admire his physical beauty, but poor Robert LaTourneaux is just not the sharpest knife in the drawer. But of all of them LaTourneaux is almost blissful in his ignorance, not even aware that he's the butt of their one liners. He'll give Frey a little pleasure that night and be off the next night with another trick or two. Of course reality will crash in on him when he gets older and younger and cuter boys emerge. They always will and do.

Keith Prentice and Laurence Luckinbill if they ever get the ground rules of their relationship down will also find some happiness. Remember in 1968 same sex marriage was not even something contemplated so society itself is not setting any legal parameters. But they do have each other at least for now.

Kenneth Nelson and Leonard Frey seem like the heads and tails of a bitter coin. Cliff Gorman as Emory got the best critical reviews for his very effeminate Emory. It's possible that Emory was transgendered, you'd certainly have to ask Mart Crowley what he had in mind when creating the character. In his own way though and even given that he might be transgendered, Emory next to LaTourneaux seems the most comfortable with himself.

The Boys In The Band is a great portrait cross section of gay male Americana right before Stonewall. As such it's not to be missed, especially by a gay audience, but I think even an audience that is made up of discerning straight folks will get quite an education from The Boys In The Band.

Reviewed by mark.waltz8 / 10

A ghost story from the gay dawning of the age of Aquarius...

While "Hair" was shocking Broadway audiences with its view of hippies in Central Park, a play opened that explored the lives of a group of gay male friends miles away. The story focuses on the host of a birthday party who seems charming and kindly on the outside but lives through inner turmoil thanks to self-hatred which he desires to instill on everybody around him when the alcohol takes over his brain. A visit from a supposedly straight friend from college during this gayest of all gay parties sets off the firecrackers of his hate-filled game where each guest must call up the one person in their entire life that they loved and reveal the truth to that person. In the late 60's/early 70's, this was a dangerous game, and some of them are left battered and bruised by their agreement to play.

Mart Crowley has often been accused of writing a scathing portrayal of the gay community and indeed, some of his characters are not pleasant. But even today, more than 40 years later, gay men can spot such like characters among their own associates, so the mock phrase, "A fugitive from Boys in the Band", can sometimes be real, ableit a bit shockingly cruel, but filled with truths when evidence points to the similarities. Practically every stereotype is there, from the "pock-marked Jew fairy" (as birthday boy Leonard Frey's Harold calls himself) to the effeminate "queen" (Cliff Gorman, who when wearing a rose in his teeth, mutters, "Kiss me, I'm Carmen!"),and the dumb hustler (Robert La Tourneaux) whom Gorman's Emory "purchased" for the night for Harold),yet there are qualities inside each of them that expose their humanity through their hurt.

Kenneth Nelson, as Michael, the host, builds in his scathing self-hatred through the night, finally collapsing at the tongue-lashing he gets from the equally vicious Frey who is the only one who has the power to bring him down. Why do these friends stay together? That is, of course, never revealed. However, there are always groups of friends who remain tight even when tearing each other down, sometimes they work harder to pull them back up as well, and that is indicated with Frey's exit line, so all does not seem lost here. Peter White, best known as Linc Tyler from "All My Children", is the straight friend, briefly homophobic as he slugs Emory after a particularly vicious remark, yet apologetic when he realizes the impact of what he's done. That is what makes this translation of the play to screen so magnetic is that nobody is just one or the other side of what you see at first. Each of these characters are many sides. Some offensive racial remarks are flung at the black roommate (Reuben Greene, extremely graceful as Bernard),but considering the era, that isn't out of step with the times. To make this an even more camp-fest, an updated version of "Anything Goes" is heard over the credits as visuals of each of the characters reveals their outer personality, soon to be further explored once the party begins.

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