'I don't understand any of it... I never did' ... Michael
Christopher Sullivan | New York, NY USA | 12/21/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mart Crowley's 'The Boys in the Band' is a minor masterpiece of American cinema that was also instrumental in thrusting gay life and issues into the American mainstream.Based upon the 1968 Off-Broadway play, this 1970 film adaption by William Friedkin retains all of the stage cast and most of the dialogue. The story is simple enough, Michael Connelly is throwing a party for his friend Harold when an old college roommate, who is presumably straight, arrives and throws the party into turmoil. Michael, who clearly has had a drinking problem, hits the bottle again as a result of the conflict. Kenneth Nelson gives a brilliant performance as Michael who is quickly unravelling with every drink and who begins to tear down his friends one by one. The party climaxes in a 'truth' game which proves oddly cathartic to everyone but Michael.Many issues have arisen over the years with 'The Boys in the Band'. Were these men mostly stereotypes? Is this work still relevant to gay life? What does it say about where we are in light of where we've been?Your answers to these questions may well depend on your age. For myself, when first viewing this as a 22 year old in 1987, I found it amusing but ultimately sad and upsetting. A dozen years later of being out in gay life, I have come to learn how masterful this work is and that while times have changed in many ways for the better, many of the issues that the 'boys' were dealing with back then are still being dealt with today. Issues of religious and societal intolerance and the attempt to forge a positive gay identity in an often hostile world are still very much with us today. I believe the reason 'The Boys in the Band' is so humorous is that the camp humor of that time was largely a coping mechanism of sorts. This is black humor at its best, showing us the brutal honesty of a situation while exposing the many absurdities in it at the same time. In the end Michael states 'I don't understand any of it, I never did.'... food for thought... Also: Pick up a copy of '3 Plays by Mart Crowley'. The story of Michael Connelly pre and post "Boys in the Band" is powerfully explored in these two additional plays. (Read the forward 1st!)"
R. Varner | Staunton, Va. United States | 03/02/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"WHERE IS THE DVD VERSION? This is such a wonderful classic gay movie that it upsets me "Wonderwoman" is out on DVD but this isn't! This is for those that like movies that have that "play" feeling. You get to know the characters and sympathize or relate to several of them. There is no need to go into the plot as the other reviewers have so eloquently done. No matter how old this is, the sentiments still ring true. The slutty guy, the "husband" material, the nelly one, the Catholic one..we all in the community know of guys like this. The sad part that still is pervasive however, that may explain why attitudes are the way they are for some in the community is the line, "if we just didn't hate ourselves so much". Which I think says it all for Michael and the rage he has inside. This movie is fun, deep, memorable, touching. A must! And if you want a lighter fun movie along the same time period in gay history, get "OUTRAGEOUS"!"
The Men From the Boys
Christopher Sullivan | Columbus, OH | 03/11/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As an aside... Mart Crowley's sequel to "The Boys in the Band" entitled "The Men from the Boys" opened a few months ago in San Francisco and was extended a a couple of times. It is set in Michael's apartment once again and Harold again arives halfway through. This time however, they are coming together after the funeral of Larry, who has died from Cancer. In addition, there are three young men as well. The only original "boys" missing are Alan and Cowboy. Michael, Harold, Donald, Emory, Hank and Bernard all appear and there's even a "from the grave" appearance by Larry. From what I understand it is a study in how the different generations of gay men relate to each other. Sadly, Michael is still not a happy camper but the script, once tightened up a bit, will make a worthy sequel once it likely hits the NYC off-broadway scene and perhaps even into a movie sequel.Also, Cliff Gorman died on Sept. 5th of 2002 from Leukemia leaving only 3 "Boys" left... Hank (Laurence Luckinbill), Alan (Peter White) and Bernard (Reuben Greene). All the boys except Emory died from AIDS. I sincerely hope that if the sequel does make it to film that Mart Crowley would use the three remainging original "Boys" actors in the film. I've met Laurence Luckinbill and briefly discussed the work with him and he is rightly very proud of it. I'm sure he would jump at the chance to reprise his role. Using these three actors would lend the sequel a profound connection to the original... I mean, who could play Hank, Alan & Bernard.... better than... well "Hank, Larry & Bernard?"Also, do pick up a copy of "3 Plays by Mart Crowley"... the two additional plays deal with Michael pre and post "Boys" (though the pre "Boys" story doesn't have his as Michael, the forward reveals that this play was vey much about the young Michael)... the post "Boys" play will feel VERY timely in light of current events!I hope we will see a release of "The Boys in the Band" on DVD with deleted scenes and other bonus features. I know that there was a deleted scene between Larry and Hank after their turns at the "telephone game" as well as obviously cut scenes between Michael and Donald when Michael is wrapping Harold's gift.I find the original film had some eerie foreshadowing of AIDS in that Michael is tying a red ribbon to Harold's gift and in the beginning Donald tells Michael that his doctor just cancelled because he has a "virus or something"... coincidental to be sure... but still...Anyway, I am glad that "The Boys in the Band" finally has a sequel and that this work has finally earned the respect it so well deserves after decades in politically-incorrect limbo.Chris"
James Schuiteman | San Diego, CA | 01/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Why hasn't this been released on DVD? I know at least three of my friends who want this in their collection."