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larkin

”Boys in the Band”

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That's a surprise....”Boys in the Band” on Youtube in full resolution, no breaks. This movie never rose to the level of a cult film but instead became..a sleeper. The reason for this was it was perceived as an appalling collection of stereo-types that at one time or another could make the viewer uncomfortable through prejudice or unwanted identification.. and it did. I know it is difficult but imagine living in the closet and going to see this film in mixed company that didn't know about you?

First a stage play in1968 and then a film in 1970, it foreshadowed gay liberation arising out of the Stonewall riots. Set in Manhattan 67 and 68 it characterizes inner city gay life just as it was beginning to emerge.

Police with time on their hands would occasionally raid gay bars and arrest the queers. This was a paradox because police were accepting protection money from the mob that ran every queer bar in the country. Sodomy (sukindic) was illegal and you could draw jail time. Sometimes you'd see a story in the newspapers stating that investigators had broken up a ring of homosexuals. A ring is where an easily intimidated homosexual confesses and he would turn in his friends and they in turn would turn in their friends.

This history is important. The play and the film documents the time and circumstance, leading up to liberation. I am not sure Stonewall could have occurred at that time without Mart Crowley's brilliant script.

Try to overlook the strong role alcohol plays in the story because that is a separate issue that does not discriminate. However, in this film it serves as dialogue lubrication. If you were born on or about 1980, you should view this film before they pull it off Youtube..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMoICoHClaU

Also for those who are interested, “The Making of BitB”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzCIsWv0aP4

Finally this is a review and analysis of the “Boys in the Band”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5_I_9TcBpo

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​Thanks for the tip, larkin. I recall seeing the film when I was in college, and remember thinking "that's not me." Well of course few of us in the small gay crowd I knew at the time acted like these men. I thought perhaps it was just a New York thing.

​But someone had to break ground and this was my first gay film. By growing older and accepting the camp style presented in many gay films I grew to find them immensely humorous since they represented the outlandish nature of many parts of the gay scene. Now we have boys kissing on television programs which was something I could not have guessed would ever happen.

​I enjoyed the shock of John Water's films, La Cage of Follies, and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. All the fun stuff leading up to Brokeback Mountain which I saw in a small art house theater in DC. Been a while since I saw a decent gay film. maybe I would still get a laugh out of Boys in the Band.

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I also saw this film as a young collegian at an art house cinema in St. Louis... and it sent me scurrying for the closet!

Brilliant movie. Just downloaded it from YouTube along with the other two.

Time for another look. Thanks, Lark!

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My boyfriend and I saw Boys in the Band as a play when it was first performed here around 40 years ago. The attorney general acting as our state censor requested the line, "Who do you have to fuck to get a cup of coffee around here?" He demanded that the actor drop the F making the word "uck" instead of fuck. The actor winked at the audience as he delivered the word.

We also saw the movie when it was released. It was showing in a cinema that I had worked in some years before. The projectionist told me he was ashamed for the first time in his life to show a film like that.

I found the subject of the film somewhat dour, but it certainly opened the subject up for public consideration.

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I think the reason Boys in the Band may not appeal to many younger gay men or others is that it is a snapshot of gay men from 1968 in New York. It has to be looked at in context. Many gay people were forced to live closeted lives and some lucky few escaped to cities such as New York and San Francisco, where they congregated in insular communities within the greater anonymity of the metropolis. In doing so, they created, intentionally or not, their own "ethnicity," their own culture. Perhaps many feel uncomfortable with their behavior--and it can be argued in some cases that this could be internalized homophobia. However, it may also be that those who are uncomfortable or feel as if this is an alien environment didn't live through this period, were not from this place and time. As a young gay in the seventies and eighties, I knew a number of older gay men who would have fit into the cast quite easily, even though I didn't live in New York. I knew countless Emorys, a number of Harolds, dozens of Larrys, and not a few Donalds and Michaels.

I love The Boys in the Band, as much for the sociological study of gays in New York in the late sixties as for the clever and witty badinage and repartee. The script is a delight and I admit to have based the character of Uncle Teddy in the Dance of the Wicked Boy stories on an amalgam of characters from Boys in the Band.

A sad side note, all of the cast with the exception of Laurence Luckinbill, are now gone, lost to HIV. I believe Luckinbill may have been the only straight member of the cast, though I may be wrong.

Boys in the Band may be considered by many commentators today whom I've heard and read to be the gay equivalent of Amos and Andy, but it was groundbreaking and we owe Mart Crowley and the cast a debt of gratitude. Now, if you want a gay minstrel show, look at Modern Family, which revolts me.

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...I love The Boys in the Band, as much for the sociological study of gays in New York in the late sixties as for the clever and witty badinage and repartee. The script is a delight... Boys in the Band may be considered by many commentators today whom I've heard and read to be the gay equivalent of Amos and Andy, but it was groundbreaking and we owe Mart Crowley and the cast a debt of gratitude...

Right on, Free Thinker.

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I watched "Boys in the Band" on cable when I was a junior in high school. I found it very disturbing, and couldn't relate to any of the characters. I guess it was my age, 15 or 16, and the times -- it was around 2005 -- which was long after the time when the movie was set. I wonder if others my age had the same reaction to the story and the movie. BTW, I haven't seen it since then.

Colin :icon_geek:

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Colin, you are fortunate that you grew up in a time when self-loathing wasn't drilled into you, as it was for us and the characters in the movie. Michael's line near the end sums it up for gay men who came of age in the 50's-70's: "If we could only learn not to hate ourselves quite so much..."

I had a roommate whose father was gay in the fifties and did what he thought he had to do. He got married, had kids, bought the house in the suburbs, and became a grandfather. He told his gay son later that he didn't regret what he did, just that he wish he could have had a choice. He didn't know he could back then. Those who made the choice often sank into self-loathing, alcohol, etc...

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Colin, you are fortunate that you grew up in a time when self-loathing wasn't drilled into you, as it was for us and the characters in the movie. Michael's line near the end sums it up for gay men who came of age in the 50's-70's: "If we could only learn not to hate ourselves quite so much..."

I had a roommate whose father was gay in the fifties and did what he thought he had to do. He got married, had kids, bought the house in the suburbs, and became a grandfather. He told his gay son later that he didn't regret what he did, just that he wish he could have had a choice. He didn't know he could back then. Those who made the choice often sank into self-loathing, alcohol, etc...

The last part is too true. Of my circle of friends who were gay (though we thought ourselves as queer back then) teenagers in the early 1960s I do not know one who has not either attempted suicide, got a drink and/or drug problem or a sequence of disastrous relationships. Most have had all four.

The legacy of self-loathing still hangs over our community. One of the most important things that writers of gay fiction can do is show the reader that we are who we are and we are proud to be who we are. We must give our younger generation the pride and self-worth that many of us still do not have.

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My guess that this is a history that most gay teens and young adults today don't know much (or anything) about. It's like trying to hide the black-sheep relative during the backyard barbeque so he won't scare the kiddies: it's a part of a history that's being swept under the rug, even today. Those who don't know, don't know that they don't know.

Colin :icon_geek:

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My guess that this is a history that most gay teens and young adults today don't know much (or anything) about.

Colin :icon_geek:

Unfortunately if we do not know our history we cannot learn from it. I recently heard a couple of gay twenty somethings say during a discussion on the possible withdrawal of the UK from the European Convention of Human Rights, that it was not that important, there were laws that protected us anyway. The only reason those laws exist is that back in the 60s and 70s some of us were using the Convention to fight for them.

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